‘Jeopardy!’ crew hoping for Yale-Harvard drama



“JEOPARDY!’s” Clue Crew duo filmed television spots Tuesday morning at the Yale Bowl to gear up for this weekend’s trivia tournament, which crew members said they hoped would culminate with a $50,000-plus Yale-Harvard faceoff.

With the top-secret construction of an elaborate set nearing completion in the Lanman Center, some producers are hoping for a strong rivalry between Robby Schrum ’05 and Harvard junior Mary Naam during the tournament, which will be taped Friday and Saturday. Naam and Schrum will compete against each other and 13 students from around the country in the annual “JEOPARDY!” College Championship, vying for a new Volvo, a specially designed trophy and a cash prize of at least $50,000 in the nationally broadcast trivia competition.

A 2001 Harvard graduate herself, “Clue Crew” correspondent Sofia Lindskog said she would like to see Schrum and Naam as the last two standing in the tournament.

“They try to stir something up,” she said. “It’s going to be fantastic — the rivalry itself.”

Contestant coordinator Maggie Speak said last week that the college tournament frequently pits rival schools against each other. Previous college rivalries on the show include Ohio State University against the University of Michigan, and the University of California at Los Angeles against the University of Southern California.

Clue Crew correspondent Jimmy McGuire said he was also looking forward to a contentious final pitting a Bulldog against a Cantab.

“Of course it will play off that drama,” McGuire said. “If in fact it turns out there’s a Harvard student against a Yale student it will be interesting to watch. There’s a part of me that’s looking to see that.”

This year will be the first time “JEOPARDY!” is filmed on an Ivy League campus. Hoping to induce a Yale-Harvard rivalry, the show’s producers decided only to conduct on-campus interviews at the New Haven and Cambridge schools. Producers held interviews in major cities across America to select the other 13 contestants, who hail from schools such as Rice, Purdue and Wake Forest universities.

“We have 15 great kids from around the country, but we specifically chose someone from Harvard and Yale just in order to create that rivalry,” Lindskog said. “It adds a little spice to the college tournament.”

She said the show’s host, Alex Trebek, who will arrive in New Haven later this week, is looking forward to this weekend’s college tournament because it is more intense than traditional “JEOPARDY!” episodes.

“If you ask Alex, he loves doing the college championship because it’s such an exciting atmosphere,” Lindskog said.

Lindskog and McGuire are two of four “roving correspondents” for “JEOPARDY!,” researching and performing video “clues” shot in diverse locations. This week they have filmed clues and promotions at the New Haven Green and the Yale Bowl. The spots will be used during the entire season of “JEOPARDY!,” television’s longest-running quiz show. They wore Crimson-like maroon sweaters during the filming, though they denied a connection with Yale’s rival to the North.

McGuire said the show’s producers selected the Yale Bowl to film promotional material because of its long history. Lindskog said she remembered storming it after a Yale-Harvard football game while she was an undergraduate.

“Of course the history — being here on the campus, we of course wanted to incorporate some Yale history,” McGuire said. “[The Yale Bowl] just screams tradition.”

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