Shadyside woman competes on ‘Jeopardy!’

SHADYSIDE?- While Lorraine Donahue said getting to compete on “Jeopardy!” was a fantastic experience, the Shadyside resident still is second guessing some of her answers.

Donahue appeared on an episode of the trivia game that aired Wednesday on WTOV. She and her friends and family gathered at T.J.’s Sports Garden Restaurant in Wheeling to watch the show and celebrate the occasion.

Donahue said she won third place and $1,000 – about enough money to cover the cost of the trip to Los Angeles for the show’s taping.

“I’ve watched it my whole life. Since I was a teenager, I’ve loved trivia games,”‘ she said.

Donahue noted she changed her college major several times, which she said ended up allowing her to learn a little bit of everything. She believes doing so gave her an advantage in taking the initial online “Jeopardy!” test. The online test was more difficult than the test she took during the audition in New York City last June. The taping of the show took place in October in Los Angeles.

“Alex Trebek really is that smart, articulate and charming,” Donahue said of the show’s host. “During the breaks he would go into the audience and answer people’s questions. He told us how many books he reads. … He reads a lot of different things.”

Donahue said she was in the lead for most of the game until she missed a “Double Jeopardy!” question.

“It was a deer in headlights moment. It was an answer I did know at one time,” she said. “It was a very close game. … I had hope for ‘Final Jeopardy!’, but it was something we all knew.”

While the experience flew by with the taping lasting only 30 minutes, Donahue said it was interesting to see behind the scenes of a TV show. The set was much smaller than it looks on TV, she noted. And the platforms behind the podiums could be adjusted to make everyone’s height appear even.

“They raised mine all the way,” Donahue said, noting she is just 5 feet 3 inches tall.

Donahue said she would like to try competing on other trivia shows such as “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” or “Win Ben Stein’s Money,” if it was still being produced.

Donahue, 42, is a 1988 graduate of Shadyside High School. She works at Williams Lea in Wheeling.