State College

State College man to appear Thursday on ‘Jeopardy!’

Vivek Srikrishnan, of State College, will appear Thursday on “Jeopardy!”
Vivek Srikrishnan, of State College, will appear Thursday on “Jeopardy!” Photo provided

You have a split second to buzz in and answer.

Take a tenth-of-a-second too long and you could get beat. Get a happy trigger finger and you could make the mistake of incorrectly answering a question you don’t know.

Then there’s Vivek Srikrishnan, who knows the answer to a question that he can’t tell anyone.

Did you win?

The State College man, a graduate student studying energy and mineral engineering at Penn State, said no one has pressured him too much into saying if he won on the game show “Jeopardy!”

“Everyone who knows I got on the show is very inquisitive about it,” Srikrishnan said. “For the most part, no one is trying to force me to say how I did, but people try to pick up hints when I talk to them.”

To be clear, he said, he’s not dropping any hints.

He barely talked to anyone about being picked for the show.

“You don’t want to slip up and jeopardize your spot,” he said.

Srikrishnan did, however, look for his own hints on the show.

He figured out that the questions are typically phrased in ways that give contestants clues. He also studied, a fan-created archive of almost every game in “Jeopardy!” history.

“I went through and identified common categories and judged what I am strong and weak on,” he said. “I focused on my weaknesses like Shakespeare, because I haven’t read any Shakespeare since high school. I made sure I acquainted myself with plays and characters. There’s only a month between finding out you’re on the show to taping, so you have to really find ways to optimize studying.”

The strategy helped, but he knew that what you look into and what ends up being on the show comes down to luck.

“I think it helped me to focus and to learn the types and depth of questions you need to know,” he said. “It’s important you don’t overthink too much.”

Srikrishnan, who watched the show growing up with his parents and now with his wife, didn’t anticipate the rapid pace and tension on the show.

“I didn’t expect the intensity level, but it’s still really a lot of fun,” he said. “You don’t realize how quick the show goes and how intense it is when you’re sitting on your couch.”

For everyone who’s been asking him if he won, they might feel differently Thursday. They will be on the edge of their seats.

Shawn Annarelli: 814-235-3928, @Shawn_Annarelli


What: “Jeopardy!”

When: 7 p.m. Thursday

Where: WATM (Comcast Channel 5)