Amy Drittler of Tazewell talks on 'Jeopardy!' appearance

'Jeopardy!' host Alex Trebek poses with contestant Amy Drittler of Tazewell.

"Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek poses with contestant Amy Drittler of Tazewell.

For Amy Drittler of Tazewell, appearing on the TV quiz show "Jeopardy" was a bittersweet experience.

"My jeopardy experience is quite personal and moving to me. My husband passed away in September of last year, and 'Jeopardy' was something that he and I really enjoyed together and watched every night together, and he was the one who had encouraged me to try out, who really believed ... I could be on the show.

"When I actually got the call that I had been selected, (it was) the two-month anniversary of his death."

Her husband, Ben Pressnell, an assistant public defender for the 8th Judicial District, died Sept. 11, 2012, following a sudden illness. He was 38.

Nevertheless, Drittler, 36, said her time on "Jeopardy" was, "just about the most fun I've ever had."

She said stepping onto the stage for the first time was "surreal." She said the whirlwind of activity while taping kept her nerves at bay.

"You don't have a lot of time to be nervous. The taping process goes by so quickly that once you're called up on that stage, it just goes by so fast that it's sort of after the fact that you realize you've taped something that will be on national TV."

Drittler said one of her best memories from the show was in the green room.

"When you first get there, they take all the contestants to the green room to get you prepared, and there's lots of things you have to do: there's paperwork to fill out, everyone has to go to makeup, you've got to tape your promo they put online ... and there's several producers in the room all at once, and they're all talking about something different. It becomes very real that you're about to go on a national television show."

Drittler said one of the more surprising aspects of the show was how hands-on host Alex Trebek is.

"He actually arrives very early (on taping days) in the morning so that he can go through every question for every show that will be taped that day, sits in a long production meeting, he said if he was concerned about the wording of a question, he could talk to the producers. So, I was kind of surprised about how involved he was behind the scenes."

Drittler said instead of trying to cram or study for the competition, she read Ken Jennings' memoir "Braniac" to prep herself.

Drittler is originally from Arkansas. She attended undergraduate school at Vanderbilt. Presnell was from Tazewell, which brought Drittler to the East Tennessee area.

Drittler can be seen on Friday's episode of "Jeopardy." Locally, "Jeopardy" airs at 7:30 p.m. on WBIR, Channel 10.

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