WENTZVILLE, Mo. – One Wentzville man is reflecting on a 25-year-long journey to take the “Jeopardy!” stage, even with the unexpected twist to the episode’s airing.

Brad Miller grew up watching the trivia show with all of his family, as one of his cousins was even a contestant in a 1975 “Jeopardy!” tournament. Deep down, Miller knew that it would be a goal to follow in his cousin’s footsteps.

The rigorous process began in 1999, five years after Miller moved to St. Louis. At the time, the initial test was 50 questions long and applicants needed to pass 35 of them to move on to the simulation test. According to Miller, only around 7 to 10% made it past the first round of questions.

Miller repeated the process again in 2000 in Chicago and in 2003 in Rhode Island. When he didn’t pass the test, he took a break from it all.

Fast forward around 10 years later, the quiz turned into an “anytime test,” which allowed potential contestants to take the test once a year. Miller hopped back into the swing of it with additional tools to broaden his knowledge. Eventually, he made it into the real audition simulation.

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Contestants were told they would be in a pool to be selected from for the next 18 months. Out of thousands in the pool, only around 400 to 450 spots were available.

17 months later, while watching “Jeopardy!” and helping his daughter with her homework, Miller got a text.

All those years had paid off. He was going on the show.

“I had read a lot of things about what it’s like to be on the show, you know, just in case…I knew that if you get the call, you only get a short time before you tape, so you can’t really cram much,” Miller said. “It’s like, you either know it or you don’t. Somebody said, ‘How do you prepare for this?’ and I said, ‘Well, you watch it for a lot of years.'”

The taping of the episode came and went, and excitement was building for Miller’s watch party at his local church. May 30 arrived and 4:30 p.m. was approaching. However, another major event was underway at the same time: the Trump verdict.

The news of the verdict broke into broadcasts across the country, including the entirety of Miller’s episode. It was preempted.

To this day, it hasn’t aired, according to Miller, and he is not sure when it will. Right after the missed episode, he was added to a Facebook group of 3,500 former contestants. Miller posted his experience and asked if anyone had dealt with something similar. Soon, the comments were flooded with those who had been through the same thing.

The reasons for the preemption of episodes were across the board. It ranged from severe weather coverage to the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a Baltimore boat show, and Jan. 6, 2021.

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Despite the unfortunate circumstances, there may have been a silver lining to his experience on “Jeopardy!”

Two days before he got the call of his acceptance to be on the show, he was at his father’s funeral in Michigan. Miller grew up watching the show with his entire family, including his father.

Miller’s dad was also a banker. And when the last category was unveiled on “Jeopardy!” it became a personal moment. The category was American banking.

The final Jeopardy question came, which read, “Around 1930, a bank named for this NYC area, known as a slum, was the USA’s largest savings bank by total deposits.”

Miller was the only one to get it right, and he credits his correct answer to the song “You don’t mess around with Jim” by Jim Croce.

The catch? His dad’s name was Jim.

“I probably would’ve been more overcome with emotion had I not been kind of focused,” Miller said.

Though the journey to reach this point didn’t quite go as planned, Miller still is grateful for it all.