‘Jeopardy!’: Contestant and Marine Officer Tyler Talks Being a Volunteer Firefighter for California Wildfires

by Samantha Whidden

On Friday (July 16th) Jeopardy! returning champ and marine officer Tyler Vandenberg made his return to the game show’s stage to not only try for another night of winning, but also to share details about his firefighting experience. 

During the latest episode of Jeopardy!, Vandenberg reveals to guest host George Stephanopoulos that he was a volunteer firefighter for just two days to help fight against the devastating fires that broke out in California last year.

“Back in the summer of [2020], the fires were getting pretty bad. Fire season has been worse every year. I had all this training. I was down in the Marine Corps Reserves and I wasn’t doing too much with my time meaningful at that point, besides drilling.” 

The Jeopardy! contestant then says he decided to volunteer with the state of California to go up north and be a firefighter. He was accepted, got into the program, had an assigned barracks as well as a team.

“I started my training and 48 hours later I get a call from the military. They say, ‘We need you to go to training. Come down off the mountain.’”

Stephanopoulos then responds to the Jeopardy! contestant’s story with, “Duty calls!” 

George Stephanopoulos Discusses Guest Hosting Duties on ‘Jeopardy!’  

During an exclusive interview with the Jeopardy! crew, Good Morning America’s George Stephanopoulos discusses how much hosting the show means to him. 

“This is really such an honor. To have a chance to come and guest host for a week. You know, like everyone else, I grew up with Jeopardy! I love playing.”

George then reveals why he wanted to guest host Jeopardy!  “Come on! It’s Jeopardy! But I have to say, it’s, you know, I hadn’t thought about it a lot before I did it.”

Stephanopoulos also shares what his favorite memory is of long-time Jeopardy! host, Alex Trebek.  George recalls the time he and his family was at a restaurant in New York City and saw Alex sitting at a table near his party.

“He came over to the table and greeted my parents and said very nice things to me,” George says. “It was just such a beautiful thing to do. And we had a great talk.”

George describes the long-time Jeopardy! host as incredibly warm and a giving person. “And we had a nice encounter that night.”

In regards to if he was nervous guest hosting on Jeopardy! “Absolutely. I mean, it’s ‘cause it’s just a very different beast from what I do every single day,” George explains. He also reveals that while he’s on-air for two hours live every day, he said that on Jeopardy! There is no margin for error.

“You have to be perfect. That’s what the viewers expect. That’s what they deserve. 

George selected the Share Our Strength and its No Kids Hungry campaign for his charity. The morning talk show host says that the charity is run by his friends Billy and Debbie Shore with a goal to make sure every child in America doesn’t go to bed hungry and doesn’t wake up hungry.