Hey Seattle, this is Tom Nissley. Survive those nine months of rain by watching me win on Jeopardy!
[2010-12-14 Winner's Circle interview]
How does it feel to be the new Jeopardy! champion?
Uh, it is a big relief to win Jeopardy! [Laughs] Uh... yeah, to answer questions, even in categories I should know about, and actually know the answers--that was what I was most scared about.
Was there a turning point for you?
Well, I know literature pretty well, and my--that was my biggest fear, was getting a question that I absolutely should know, and not answering it. Uh, but I was totally surprised to do well on the flu category. When I saw that, I had... I was not even going to answer any of those questions.
Any messages to the folks back home?
Well, uh, I just want to thank my kids and my wife for their patience while I study. They were happy to be able to watch the show every night, uh, but, uh, I know that my--my kids Peter and Henry are going to be--are going to be thrilled and now we're going to watch the show every night from now on!
[2010-12-15 Winner's Circle interview]
How does it feel to win your second game?
Uh, the second one was supposed to be the fun one, and it was fun! Uh, but no, I--I did not expect to be here. Uh, though I was going--I had plans for the rest if the day! [Laugh] I was going to go--I was going to go to the Museum of Jurassic Technology with my sister. Uh, but we're going to have to go another time.
Any secrets to your success?
Well, I mean, my kids are great readers, but that's--I mean, that's how you accumulate this useless--but sometimes useful--knowledge, uh, uh, just reading and reading and reading, for fun--and, uh, and... and for profit, apparently.
Tell us about the audition process.
Uh, do it! I--I had n--the--I tried out this year for the first time on the on--y'know, in my pajamas, in the online test in January, um, and had't really thought through that I might actually be on the show. I just figured I would try it out and see what happened, and things kept happening, and... here I am.
[2010-12-16 Winner's Circle interview]
How did you feel about your competition today?
Uh, it was a great--all--all game--um, every game I've played in has been tight up to the very end. Uh, I mean, every--every Final Jeopardy! could've gone any way. Uh, this game, I mean, I was watching that scoreboard, and it was--everybody was ahead at one point or another all the way through the game.
Does your job give you an advantage when playing Jeopardy!?
Uh, well, I do actually do a lot of interviews--author interviews--for a living, and that's the closest thing to this, I'm equally nervous, beforehand, but, uh, I think a sense of knowing, uh, knowing that you can keep--that things will come. Like, just, a sense that, y'know, you get something wrong, and you'll just keep talking, and something right will come--come next.
[2010-12-17 Winner's Circle interview]
How does it feel to win your fourth game?
Uh... last time I promised my kids I would, uh, get them any Legos they want. Now I think I have to take them to Legoland, where we just had a great time this spring, and I thought that was the only time we were going to make it there, but... maybe again... now--'cause now I'm a four-time champion on Jeopardy!
Do you have any goals as a Jeopardy! champion?
You know, not having a goal is pretty good, I think that I just--what--quest--take--y'know, that sports cliché, the one that the guy says after every game, is, like, "just take 'em as they come", so I... I have no goal. [Laughs] Except answer the next question... in the form of a question.
How will you prepare for your return appearance on Jeopardy!?
Uh, well, I was just telling you, I have to interj--interview Jimmy Carter on Monday, and I haven't gotten his book yet, and it's like 600 pages, so I hope you have a lot of questions about the 1970s--[laughs]--because that's my--that's my weekend.
[2010-12-20 Winner's Circle interview]
How does it feel to win your fifth game?
Much to my disbelief, I just became a five-time champion on Jeopardy!, which, used to be that's all you could do. And... part of me is just so happy, that's all I need to do. But I'm coming back tomorrow, uh, to play again and see if I can keep winning.
Does this win feel any different from the others?
The--the first--the first week I played was--was wonderful, uh, but this is pretty special because my kids, my wife, uh, and my sister are all here, and this is my son Peter's birthday. He turns 11. Uh, my son Henry's 7. Uh, and, so that makes it really special.
Did you guess during Final Jeopardy?
[Laughs] Well, I'm a books editor, and if I can't get 20th century literature... although, I've--I've never read a book by Somerset Maugham. I had... I had a thing about that. Uh, and then I was worried that I was showing off by writing his first name. Uh, but I felt pretty good, and I knew I had to go all-in, uh, if I w--on that category, if I ever would.
[2010-12-21 Winner's Circle interview]
How does it feel to win your sixth game?
Hey, I've just become a six-time Jeopardy! champion. Um, and I was just saying that, uh, the wagering becomes a little easier the more I go along, because I have less to lose, I feel like, uh, so I might as well put it all in, uh, and it makes the game even more fun.
How long do you think you will keep playing?
You know, to be honest, when I came out here, after the weekend, and I came out to that first spot, uh, I thought, "This is one of my most favorite places in the world, right now. I'd just like to stay there." [Laughs] Uh, I mean, it's--kind of getting rid of the show makes me nervous, thinking what has happened makes me crazy, but, uh, but being out there, playing the game, is a blast and I'd just love to keep doing it.
Any messages to the folks back home?
Uh, I would like to thank all the publishers I work with for sending me books every day that have helped me answer some of these questions. Uh...
[2010-12-22 Winner's Circle interview]
How does it feel to win your seventh game?
[Peter and Henry: "Our daddy is a seven-time champion!"] [Laughs] [Cut to black, then:] Uh, I love it 'cause my guys are here. This is Peter, this is Henry. Uh, Peter is 11 as of a couple days ago. Henry is 8. Uh, they're in fifth and second grade. We live in Seattle. They came down. Uh, we're stayin' at my sister's in L.A., and I thought we'd get a--more of a chance to see the city, but we're hanging'out in the studio. [Cut] [Peter and Henry: "We're really proud of you, Daddy!"] Thanks, guys! [Cut] [High-fives Peter, then Henry.]
[2010-12-23 Winner's Circle interview]
How does it feel to win your eighth game?
It feels bewildering to be an eight-time champion on Jeopardy! Um... [Laughs] I've run out of things to say!
Tell us about the milestone you just reached.
Uh, I just heard that I am the third-highest money-winner in regular play in Jeopardy! history, which is pretty cool. Uh, [laughs] those Daily Doubles are payin' off! Um, I've had a lot of close games, which means I have to bet a lot every time. Uh, and I've had some good categories that made me bet a lot, uh... but... yeah, all the people who've played this game, that's pretty amazing.
Did you guess during Final Jeopardy!?
Yeah, it's been--it's been fun, uh... I mean, every game, I feel like... uh, this one came down to Final Jeopardy!, and then I saw SPORTS, and I've kind of been waiting for a sports category, and then, I wasn't sure that the answer was "baseball", but I'm a big baseball fan, and I would have been embarrassed if the answer had not been "baseball" and I had gotten it--had been "baseball" and I'd gotten it wrong, so I had to cover my... uh... [laughs]