‘What is Lititz,’ Alex? Local man to compete on Jeopardy!

By on December 4, 2018


Answer: Francesco Caporusso of Lititz, Pa. Question: Who will be competing on the game show Jeopardy! next week?

“I’ve always been interested in learning things since I was really young,” Caporusso recently said. He’s always enjoyed trivia, and he’s watched the popular nationally syndicated game show since he was in middle school.

One highlight of being a Jeopardy! contestant is matching wits with Alex Trebek, the host of Jeopardy! since its syndicated debut in 1984. He has become one of television’s most enduring and iconic figures, engaging millions of viewers worldwide with his impeccable delivery of “answers and questions.”

“You don’t interact with Alex outside what you see on the show, but it’s understandable as he has a lot going on,” Caporusso said. Trebek, who made headlines locally recently when he moderated the only debate in Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial race on Oct. 1 in Hershey, has won five Daytime Emmy awards for outstanding game show and holds a Guinness record for most game show episodes hosted by the same presenter, including nearly 8,000 episodes of Jeopardy! (and counting).

Francesco Caporusso of Lititz will be competing on the televised version of Jeopardy! next week.

Caporusso was not permitted to discuss the results of what happened on the show until it airs but noted the interactions with Trebek are memorable.

“That night, I was lying in bed thinking “Did that really happen today? Was I just on Jeopardy!?” he said. Caporusso admitted he has an affinity for trivia and learning “random facts.”

“I used to read those reference/trivia books of various categorized lists or books of facts,” he said. “I am very good at remembering random facts.” His love of knowledge-based competition dates back to his youth.

“I was on the quiz team in high school and was the captain of the team the last three of those years,” Caporusso said.

Born in Toronto, Caporusso is currently employed full-time at Listrak, but grew up in West Palm Beach, Fla. He graduated from Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree in theatre. Eventually, he would meet his wife Adrianne (a Lititz native), and they would get married in New York City. The couple would relocate back to her home town in 2012.

Next week’s appearance on Jeopardy! is not Caporusso’s first TV game show experience. Four years prior, he tried his skill on his first televised game show–he was a contestant on the daytime version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” starring Meredith Vieira in 2008. On that episode, he walked away with a $25,000 prize.

As much fun as that was, he says that being on Jeopardy! fulfilled a dream he’s had for quite some time.

“Being on Jeopardy! was something that I’ve wanted to do from when I was in high school, but I only started trying out about 10 years ago when I learned of their online tryout test,” he said. “I thought it would be a very cool experience and it would be a great story to have. I took the online test about five times before being called in for an in-person audition in 2016, but I never received the call to be on the show.”

But he kept his dream alive, and eventually luck was on his side.

Francesco Caporusso, a Listrak employee who grew up in West Palm Beach, Fla., takes a selfie behind the scenes at his recent Jeopardy! taping in California.

“I took the online timed test that consists of 50 fill-in-the-blank questions where you get eight seconds per question,” he said. It wasn’t long before Caporusso got the call he was looking for.

“I must have done well enough to get called in for the in-person audition where there was another timed 50-question quiz,” he recalls.

He then played a round against two other applicants. From there, the producers interviewed each candidate, asking them interesting facts about themselves. Since he had already been through the entire process once before, he was less nervous and did his best just to enjoy the moment. Then the word came recently that he would appear on the show.

“The actual taping day was so surreal, being at Sony Studios and getting to hang out on the stage playing practice rounds as they got us comfortable with playing the game and using the buzzers and the pens for Final Jeopardy,” he stated.

He says that the entire production team behind the scenes was great, and they made the entire experience fun and memorable. When asked, Caporusso encourages fellow game show fans to go for the gold, and try their hand at an audition.

“I would tell people to keep trying. Keep taking the online tests and keep going to in-person auditions. I think a key to it is just having fun.”

Readers can watch Caporusso compete Monday Dec. 10 on WHP-TV (CBS). Check local listing for additional information or visit Jeopardy.com.

Cory Van Brookhoven is a staff writer for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your comments at cvanbrookhoven@lnpnews.com or 717-721-4423. 

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