Jeopardy! is shaping up to be a family affair, as a son follows in his father’s footsteps and competes on the show 20 years later.
Tonight, a father-son duo, twenty years in the making, will play out on the popular game show.
Matt Watson, a Billings, Montana resident, is gearing up for his chance to continue the family legacy and win an episode or two at Jeopardy! Watson says that he has always been a fan of the show and has been practicing for this moment his whole life.
“I remember playing Jeopardy! with my mom at the kitchen table for nickels and dimes, you know, essentially allowance money when I was really, really young,” said Watson. “And then, when I was in high school at Skyview, I would spend the first couple periods writing my own Jeopardy! board. Then at lunchtime, when the friend would gather around the lunch table, I would host a game of Jeopardy!“
Matt’s father, Russel, was a contestant twenty years prior and always knew his son would follow in his footsteps.
“We always kind of talked about Jeopardy! with Matt, and it was never, ‘If you get on Jeopardy! or are you going to try out?’ It was always, ‘when I try out for Jeopardy! and when I get on Jeopardy!.'”
After trying out numerous times for the College Championship version of the show and not getting it, Matt remained patient. It paid off.
“I told myself that when I was right around thirty, I read some study that said that that’s when people are at their intellectual peak,” revealed Watson. “So, I was like, I’m going to wait a little bit, try and maximize it. Then I took the test, and I passed, and things started to move really, really fast.”
While both the father and son said that being on TV didn’t scare them, one small detail worried Matt a bit.
“There are two boards. There is the big board with all the clues, but what I assumed from growing up watching Jeopardy! was that on that big board of clues, when you would push into the clue, it would fill up the board, and it does not do that. So you kind of have to have pretty sharp eyesight, or you’ve got to be a great listener because it’s not quite as simple as they make it look on TV.”
One major part of the show that will be different between the twos experience is who will be hosting the iconic show.
When Russel was a contestant on the show, he worked with the beloved Alex Trebek. Now that it’s Matt’s turn, he is thrilled to have Katie Couric as his host.
“Especially as a journalist, I adore Katie,” said Matt. “She was absolutely everything you hoped she would be. When you meet her, she was kind, thoughtful, and funny.”
Russel admits that although Katie Couric is doing a great job, he wishes his son could have met Alex Trebek on Jeopardy!
“I was a little bummed he didn’t get to spend some time with Alex Trebek because that would have just been awesome. Katie Couric is doing a great job. I think Ken Jennings did a great job as well.”
You can watch Matt compete for his family title tonight at 4:30 on NBC.