So Yeah, I Really Like Game Shows – My Millionaire Experience, Part 2 (Electric Boogaloo)

I know a few of you are hanging on by the edges of your seats out there wondering more about Millionaire! My show hasn’t aired yet, so I still can’t talk about a lot of things, namely:

a) The outcome of the show (including the order/money values of the questions)
b) What lifelines I used and at what level I used them, and
c) I also can’t lead you in one direction or the other as to how I did. So as much as I want to reveal how it turned out, it basically comes down to “you’re just gonna have to watch.”

So as much as I want to just shake everyone and say “HEY I DID THIS!” I can’t.

A refresher course of the audition process, in case you missed that post – but this starts back in late September. In the time since the audition, I had fallen quite low and then climbed a bit back up – I’d finally, after over a year, gotten a job, and was finally starting to recover from the general Negative Nancy state I’d fallen into. Millionaire was always in the back of my mind, but since they said I was valid in the contestant pool for two years, I didn’t think anything of it. It was the biggest maybe in the world.

Two (maybe three?) weeks into my new job, my phone rang. From a number I didn’t recognize. This usually meant either a wrong number or someone calling me for an interview, so I let it go to voicemail…but when I checked it, I nearly died.

“Hey Elyse! This is (a person) from Millionaire, and I have some potentially very exciting news for you…”

I’m sure there was more to the message, but I had completely tuned out and ventured into heart eyes territory. You know, heart eyes territory? That’s when you temporarily turn into an anime character and your eyes do this:

So after calming down a teensy bit, I called her back. She said that they wanted me to come in for a taping, and was I free that Thursday? I said ABSOLUTELY YES and hoped that I would be allowed to take off from work (which I was, albeit unpaid, but I figured that the $1000 consolation prize would make up for that regardless of how I did on the show) and confirmed some personal details. It was pretty much riiiiight after I hung up the phone that the anxiety and what-if demons started settling in, and oh boy was that fun. I slept like shit for the three days in between. I worked myself into a panic. What if I bombed the first question? What if I hit the million? My stomach did somersaults for hours and hours.

The woman they had assigned to be my producer said that I was allowed to tell people I was going to be on the show, so I posted to all my online presences that I could think of – Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Livejournal…I was so over the moon that I had to let EVERYONE know. The outpouring of support was INCREDIBLE. 119 “likes” on my status, countless tweets and texts and good luck wishes from friends far and wide – I would have caved from stress without everyone’s encouragement. I signed so many releases (and even had my tattoo artist, the fabulous Chuck at Revolver sign a waiver so that one of my tattoos could be shown on the air) and waited and waited.

That Thursday, September 27, Carl and I got up at 3:30 AM to catch the early train into New York. We made all of our trains but I was still afraid we were going to be late – so I hailed a taxi for a $2.50 ride to the studio. (I gave the guy $5 tip for his trouble. That was awesome of him to do.) When I reached the studio, there was a huge line beginning to form – but not for Millionaire. It turns out that both Millionaire and The View are taped in the same building, so people were waiting for both. I introduced myself to a few of my fellow contestants and waited.

Shortly after 7:00 AM, some of the show runners came to get us – our little merry group of nine – and bring us inside. We couldn’t have any media with us – no phones, no books, no music players or tablets or anything – just our imaginations and each other. Contact with the outside world was strictly verboten. Serious fucking business.

When we were all prepped and introduced to each other, the show’s lawyer came in to talk to us about the official rules and what we could and couldn’t say on air, and then the executive producer came in to talk about MORE things (and how to effectively play the game), followed by the publicity person who told us what we could and couldn’t disclose to…well…anyone that wasn’t there, really. About two hours after that, we were brought down to the set.


In case, y’know, you thought I was making it up or something.

We were given our phones back to take pictures when we were on the set. That was when it got…real. It was then that I realized “holy shit Elyse, you’re actually going to be on TV and actually going to be on a GAME SHOW. Your life’s dream is PLAYING OUT. CUE PANIC. The set itself was very sparkly and a lot smaller in person than I thought. Carl was able to take some pictures of the set while he was waiting for me to go on:

Meanwhile, the group of nine became a group of twelve – three contestants had been held over from the previous day’s taping, so I was nervous that I wouldn’t be called and have to go in again the next week. They did five shows a day for four days a week – a month’s worth of shows in a week. They had said that our episodes could air anywhere from shortly after taping until next July, since they were taping an entire season at once. When they called us to get miked up, we knew we were going on. So we waited in the green room.

And waited.

And waited.

They started taping around 10am, and we heard that the last person to get called would get in around 4:30-5pmish. So I waited, and waited, and as more and more people were being called in around me, the numbers started to dwindle. Finally, around 4pm, I got the okay – it was time to go get miked up. I was going on!

I can’t reveal anything about my gameplay until after the episode airs, but I will say the following:

  • I had a good time
  • It was one of the most surreal experiences of my life
  • Meredith Viera is the nicest lady I have ever met and she was really genuine and sweet
  • I really just want this to air so I can tell everyone, but I CAN’T.

Part three is going to have to wait, most unfortunately…BUT! I’ve received word that my particular episode will be airing next Friday, 11/30/12 – so you’ll have to tune in and find out how I did! Check your local listings for air times 🙂 And stay tuned for the conclusion!!

4 responses to “So Yeah, I Really Like Game Shows – My Millionaire Experience, Part 2 (Electric Boogaloo)

  1. I already set the episode to DVR since I’m fairly certain I’ll be working that day… ELYSE, I CAN’T WAIT!! I’m so excited to see you on the tele!!!

  2. Pingback: So Yeah, I Really Like Game Shows – My Millionaire Experience, Part 3 (The Return Of The Jedi) | The Tattooed Trilobite·

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