It took two tries, but Knoxville native Greer Mackebee has made it onto "Jeopardy!"
The Duke University senior and Webb School of Knoxville grad will compete on the television quiz show's College Championship, airing Feb. 1-14.
Speaking by phone Monday, Mackebee said he took an online test in 2010, and was invited to an in-person audition in Raleigh. The in-person audition included a written test and mock gameplay, in which groups of three competed while familiarizing themselves with the buzzer and having their stage presence assessed.
But when Mackebee got the call that he made the cut, he was in Sydney, Australia, studying abroad. A second audition in 2011 secured him a spot for this year's College Championship.
Mackebee said he was most nervous just before he was about to compete. "The crowd goes quiet, they swoop the cameras in ... Alex Trebek walks out, they read the categories, and I think all of our hearts were racing and our legs were shaking."
The lifelong trivia junkie says his biggest "Jeopardy!" surprise was how down-to-earth his fellow contestants were.
"I was expecting at least a few to be pretty cut-throat, but the 15 of us got along really well. ... I hope we can all stay in touch."
"Jeopardy!" airs locally weeknights at 7:30 p.m. on WBIR, Channel 10.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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