PODCAST

Claire McNear Tours America’s Favorite Quiz Show

BY MEGAN LABRISE • December 8, 2020

Ringer columnist Claire McNear takes readers behind the scenes of Jeopardy!

On this week’s episode, Claire McNear discusses Answers in the Form of Questions: A Definitive History and Insider’s Guide to Jeopardy! (Twelve, Nov. 10), a behind-the-scenes look at “America’s Favorite Quiz Show” at a poignant time in the show’s near-60-year history.

McNear is an amiable guide through the rarified world of trial-by-buzzer, taking readers to the hotel where hopeful contestants prep for appearing on the show, the soundstage where half-hour shows tape at a rate of five per day, and on the road with Jeopardy! staff searching for the next big winner à la Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter, and James Holzhauer. She also sat down with the inimitable Alex Trebek, during his 36th and final season as the show’s beloved host, to find out what he saw in its future.

Lively, entertaining, and intriguing, Kirkus says that Answers in the Form of Questions is “good reading for those who can’t get enough of the TV ‘juggernaut.’”


McNear and host Megan Labrise talk about what it’s like to interview Trebek, how the game of Jeopardy! possesses many qualities of a sport (though players are routinely terrible at sports categories), how to describe Jeopardy! to people from different countries and cultures, the famous 1950s quiz show scandals, and more.

And in a sponsored interview, Labrise talks with Bridget Krone, author of Small Mercies (Catalyst Press), a “sensitive, funny, and tender” middle-grade novel set in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa (starred review).

Then editors Vicky Smith, Laura Simeon, Eric Liebetrau, and Laurie Muchnick join with another round of holiday gift book recommendations.

 

Editors’ picks:

The ABCs of Black History by Rio Cortez, illus. by Lauren Summer (Workman)

The Cousins by Karen M. McManus (Delacorte)

A Promised Land by Barack Obama (Crown)

Collected Stories by Lorrie Moore (Everyman’s Library)

 

Also mentioned in this episode:

A Black Women’s History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross (Beacon), part of The ReVisioning History series

Barack Before Obama by David Katz (Ecco/HarperCollins)

Becoming by Michelle Obama (Crown)

 

Fully Booked is produced by Cabel Adkins Audio and Megan Labrise.

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