Astoria woman to compete on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday

Photo courtesy of Jeopardy Productions, Inc.

UPDATE: Levinson won $16,800 on “Jeopardy!” appearance on Thursday, March 20.  


Jeopardy!” is in Diane Levinson’s genes.

The 44-year-old Astoria book publicist is one of several family members to compete on the popular TV quiz show.

Her cousin, Brian, represented the borough on the program in 2008. He became a three-day champion, winning about $73,000.

“That’s what made me say ‘if he can do it, I can do it,’” Levinson said.

A periodic watcher of the Alex Trebek-hosted show since its premiere 30 years ago, Levinson, like many fans, has always enjoyed shouting out the right answers.

But playing at home in front of the TV is a lot easier than competing live.

Online tryouts are held only once a year, in January. After three attempts, Levinson finally made it to an in-person audition.

“What you don’t realize is that all three of the contestants know most of the answers most of the time and it’s really about ringing in first,” she said.

After making it to the televised version, Levinson taped her appearance this past December. The episode will air on Thursday, March, 20 at 7 p.m. on WABC.

She had five weeks notice before facing the cameras.

“Working in book publishing is actually good preparation for being on the show because you learn a little bit about a lot of different topics,” said Levinson, who is a publicist with Princeton Architectural Press and Chronicle Books.

In that time she prepared by reviewing old show questions on the “Jeopardy!” fan site J! Archive, and read through reference books and atlases, memorizing facts, such as bodies of water, 19th-century vice presidents and Civil War battles.

She even recruited her friends to help by having them randomly quiz her on state capitals and asking her other questions.

Though Levinson is sworn to secrecy about her outcome until the show airs, she said most of the answers she knew on the show were facts she knew beforehand.

“It was a great experience,” she said. “Everybody who has ever thought about [going on ‘Jeopardy!’] should try out.”



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