Interview: Jeopardy! Clue Crew in Wichita

Jimmy McGuire
Jimmy McGuire, member of the Jeopardy! Clue Crew.

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WICHITA, Kansas — Jeopardy! has been a long running afternoon tradition for households across the country. In 2001, the show introduced the Clue Crew, which provides visual clues for the contestants.

One member of the Clue Crew is Jimmy McGuire. He is in his 12th season with the Clue Crew and joined us Wednesday on Kansas Today.

Mark Davidson: For people that don’t know, please explain what the Clue Crew is.

Jimmy McGuire: I’m actually one of a three-member traveling correspondent team. Alex, of course, reads our clues. But we’re out in the field. We add a whole new dimension to clue-giving. We travel all around the world, all around the United States doing clues that end up on our game board.

Mark: It is one of the most fascinating jobs that I can imagine. I’ve read through your bio. You’ve touched almost all corners of the world. Do you have a favorite spot or two? Can you narrow it down?

Jimmy: That’s a difficult question. I always like to make the analogy that it’s like picking your favorite color of the rainbow. It’s very difficult. But certainly, international travel is probably something that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do. Most recently, I had the chance to travel to Southeast Asia. That was terrific. And also, Alex came along with us to Israel. So if you put me on the spot, I’d say international travel.

Mark: It would be hard to argue with that. I have to ask, what has brought you to Wichita?

Jimmy: This is actually one of my favorite parts of being on the Clue Crew. A company, a few years back, developed a game that’s called “Classroom Jeopardy!”. And the three of us – Kelly (Miyahara), Sarah (Whitcomb Foss) and I — spend a lot of our time traveling to schools and playing Jeopardy! in the classroom. For years, teachers have been using the Jeopardy! format to motivate their students. Of course, it’s time consuming; it involves home-made materials. And now, with this game, what makes it special is teacher’s can write their own game. There’s the sights and sounds, all the buzzers, everything that you would imagine that’s on Jeopardy! is right there that you can fit right on your television.

Mark: So have you gotten better at the game itself over the years? Because I watch the show Jeopardy! and it doesn’t make me feel very good about my intelligence a lot of times.

Jimmy: I’d like to think that I have. Certainly being around the show and the writers for 12 years, I think, yeah. I think I do pretty well.

Mark: So what’s Alex like?

Jimmy: It’s amazing. For someone like myself who has grown up watching the show and always aspiring to be on TV, he has been very helpful, been a mentor and a joy to be around.

Mark: Your story is incredible. You just went to a casting call when they started this and lo and behold, a dozen years later, you’re still doing it.

Jimmy: We’re fortunate. I’ve always said, if they’ll keep us around forever, we’ll stay.

Mark: You make your own luck. You’re very talented at what you do. So for those who haven’t seen it, basically what it is. Alex will pitch to a certain answer and you will pop up and reveal the clue.

Jimmy: If you were a contestant on the show, Alex would say ‘Mark, pick a category’. You look at the game board and may say, ‘I’ll take ancient Egypt for $400’. And then he may say ‘Let’s go to Jimmy. He’s in Cairo’.

Mark: Unbelievable. What a dream job. Jimmy, thanks for stopping by today. It sounds really cool and it’s great to have you in Wichita.

Jimmy: I want to remind viewers to tune in. We’re in the middle of our college championships now. One lucky student will go home with $100,000.

Mark: That’s not bad at all. Of course, you can see Jeopardy! on KSN every afternoon.

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