How did you find out you'd be on Jeopardy!?
When I found out about Jeopardy! I was in Outback Steakhouse, and my mom that day had insisted that we go out to dinner, and it was unusual because she's a professionally trained chef and she usually makes homemade meals, so I was a little confused and I suspected that it might be good news about Jeopardy!, but I went along, and the entire time from when I entered the door until we ordered the meal, I was complaining about schoolwork, upcoming tests, all my, um, extracurricular activities, and finally my mom said, "Ben, you're not listening. You got on Teen Jeopardy!" And I complained again, "You--why are you messing with me? Stop manipulating me. I'm a little fragile right now." And then she said, "No, for real!" And I almost spit out my drink. I was so flabbergasted and really excited.
What do you like most about Jeopardy!?
I really watch it--my favorite thing about the show--I watch it every night, so I've been a big fan for a while, and I love that there's such a variety of information presented. And to me it's so thrilling that, even if you know some of the categories, there's so much more to learn.
What categories are you hoping to see?
Well, I like GEOGRAPHY, HISTORY, LITERATURE--some of the more straightforward categories. But on the other hand, I really appreciate the BEFORE & AFTER, CELEBRITY RHYME TIME, things li--of that nature. And my dream categories would be--this is a little embarassing, but probably THE MISS AMERICA PAGEANT [laughs] (because I've watched it every year with my mom), BRIDGE (because I play it with my grandmom), and probably something related to the NFL.
What advice did your friends and family give you?
They told me to relax, and I think that's the best tip. No matter how much or how little you know, it won't translate to success unless you manage to calm yourself down and play the game.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In ten years--ooh, I--hopefully out of school--no more college debt, if, especially if Jeopardy! goes well--but I hope to work in perha--perhaps politics or law, something that requires you to perhaps shape policy.