Who can be a Game show Contestant?

Get links to most game show's contestant submission website

Anyone looking to have a great time in New York or LA can be a game show contestant. There are game shows out there for all types of people, including you, if you qualify.

Every game show has its own specific set of requirements, depending on the type of show it is. We will discuss a few of these shows in more detail in the Audition Process section of this booklet. For all other game shows please see the resources page at the end of this booklet for their web site links.

There are four requirements most shows have in common to ensure fair play. They also ensure that producers can't fix the outcome of the games.

  1. You must be at least 18 years of age or older for most Game Shows. Some shows may require that you be at least 21. On occasion a show may have a special tournament for younger contestants. You can find these things out on the shows web site.
  2. You cannot have been on any game show (win or lose) within the past 12 months.
  3. You cannot have been on two game shows (win or lose) within the past five years.
  4. You cannot have any association with the game show, its network, or its sponsors.

It is interesting to note that you can be a member of SAG or AFTRA, the professional actors Unions and still apply. Just remember to say you are a teacher, gardener, or any other kind of job, other than actor.

The next two things are also required on every show. They are important because they help determine who is going to eventually become a contestant on a show.

  1. You must have the looks, skills, personality, and/or intelligence that match the format of the game show you want (wish) to be on. If you were not a highly educated person, you wouldn't want to try out for "Jeopardy". If you have a weak stomach, then you wouldn't want to try out for a "Fear Factor" type show. And ifyou are not a sexy or attractive person, then you don't want to try out for one of the dating shows. There are requirements each show looks for in their contestants. Just watch the show you're interested in, and see how you compare to the contestants that are currently on it.
  2. Everything is at your own expense. This is the most important thing to know. Game shows will not reimburse you for any cost that you incur while trying out or auditioning, even if you make it on the show and win. In fact many shows will try and persuade you not to spend any money in connection to their show. It can become a costly adventure to try out for a game show in LA, if you live in Ohio. Game shows don't want you to spend money on airfare, hotel, food and transportation just to audition for them. Remember, there is no guarantee that just because you apply and take the test, that you will be selected to participate on the show.

We recommend you make auditioning for a game show part of your vacation or a business trip. If you want to have a great LA adventure, auditioning for a game show is the thing to do.

What If I Take the Interview and Test and Don't Get Selected?

Keep in mind if you don't make it on to the show, or if you do and don't win anything, you will have had a great experience and Hollywood adventure. And remember, part of your vacation adventure is coming home and sharing it with family and friends. Again. And Again. And Again.

The Audition Process

Every game show's audition process is a little different from the rest.

The Exception to all the other Shows - THE PRICE IS RIGHT

One of the coolest Game Show auditions is for the Price is Right. The Producers choose contestants right from the line of people waiting to get into the show outside the studio. There are usually around 300 people lined up waiting to get into the show on any given day. During the summer months and holiday season contestant wannabes can start arriving at CBS on Fairfax and Beverly Boulevard in Hollywood as early as 4 or 5 AM. Yup, you heard rightÂ…5 AM in the morning, and still there is no guarantee that you will even get a seat at the show, nonetheless get picked to be a contestant on it.

The Producers actually go down the line to interview the audience members and choose their contestants. They will interview the 300 people in groups of ten and choose a total of 9 to be on the show right then and there. Of course they won't you who has been picked until the show is being filmed. They will probably ask you very simple questions like "Where are you from" or "What do you do for a living", though the actual questions and selection process is a well-guarded secret. What the Producers are looking for are fun people. People that are excited and very vocal probably have the best chance of being picked. This is the only show that does this, and the only show where you can audition, become a contestant and win a car, all in the same day.

The Game Show Audition

Other shows have a more formal process. The following is a sample of the process for shows like "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader", "Jeopardy", "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire", and "Wheel of Fortune." Remember that the test taken during the audition of these shows and the mock game played will differ according to the show's difficulty. In other words, "Jeopardy" auditions will be more difficult than Wheel of Fortune."

First, you must pick the show or shows you wish to audition for. Nothing wrong with setting up auditions for more than one show on your Vacation. Then you will have to submit an application to the show

The show's Contestant Coordinator will then call you if they are interested in having you audition for the show.


Once you are given an audition time, arrive on time or better yet 15-20 minutes early. You will be going somewhere new for the first time. There's traffic to contend with, new security measures at the studios and movie stars to sight on the way to the interview. Carry a pen and a great attitude. From the time that you walk into the room, the Contestant Coordinator is checking out your energy level and personality. They are listening to your voice and how you express yourself. Be sure that you are very vocal without being obnoxious and have a lot of energy, without bouncing off the walls. Interact with those seated around you while following directions. Let your personality shine. Dress comfortably and appropriately to match the general look of the show.


Once the formalities are out of the way, the Contestant Coordinator will explain to everyone the legal requirements for filling out the paperwork and taking the test. They will brief you on the rules and then tell you about the mock game to be played by those who pass the written test. These tests may be anywhere from 20 to 50 questions and are essential to eliminating applicants. They may be very hard or tricky and not everyone will pass them. Because of Standards and Practices, the Contestant Coordinator will not tell you what the answers are or how many questions it takes to pass. They will only tell you who passed.

When the test is over and graded, the Coordinator will ask those that passed to stay, and those that failed will be thanked and asked to leave. If you failed, you can usually re-audition in about 6 or 12 months. Typically, only about 35% of the applicants will pass the test. The good news is that you passed and now the fun begins. The Contestant Coordinator will now give everyone instructions on how the game is played and how contestants must act. This is very important, because the Coordinator will spend much of the rest of the audition watching who can follow directions and who cannot. You must be able to listen and follow directions if you expect to make it on to the show.


Next you will get the chance to play a mock version of the game. At this time, a Head Producer of the show will come in to evaluate you and help out the Coordinator. They are looking to see how you will respond to the pressure of being in the game like situation. They are looking at your personality and attitude. They want to see your smile because the camera is always watching. The Producer and Coordinator are also looking to see who can actually play the game well. They only want the best; so you must be good at the game, as well reveal you terrific personality.


When the day is done you will be thanked for your time and then you will hear the most famous words in Hollywood: "Don't call us, we'll call you." If you have made it into the files of potential contestants, you will likely be called within a week. If you make it into that special file, remember that you are not guaranteed to actually be on the show. It only means that you have qualified. If you don't get the call, you can re-audition in 6 to 12 months.


When you arrive at the audition for a game show, you will see many excited and nervous people. The following tips should help you to have a great time and a fun audition experience

  1. Go to the audition with the attitude that you will enjoy yourself no matter what the outcome is.
  2. Be yourself. Don't try to be someone you are not in order to impress the Producers. They will not be impressed, because they want to see real people, not actors.
  3. Be relaxed and just enjoy the experience. Have Fun.
  4. Get friendly with the people you are sitting near. This will help take your mind off things and may lead to some interesting conversations and a few new friendships.
  5. Don't make winning so important that you lose focus. Winning can be the result of having a great time.
  6. Know your stuff. Watch past shows and study up on strategies and questions. Learn how others have won in the past. Practice with friends before the audition. What you see on the show is what you will see in the mock game.
  7. Keep your sense of humor! Anything or everything is possible. Expect the unexpected. This is TV.
  8. Have Fun, Have Fun, Have Fun

Game Day / Day of the filming

You're finally here! Chosen to compete on your favorite Game Show. More precisely you have been selected to be in a pool of contestants. Again this goes back to the Standards and Practices set up for game shows. Things are set up to make sure the Game Show isn't fixed and you have no way of cheating.

Now you are at the actual television studio hoping to get picked out of the pool of contestants. The Producers will usually have four or five more contestants than needed for the day's taping. This way they can pick people at random to assure that no one knows which game they will be in, and when or if they will get picked today.

The Production Company films up to five episodes of the game show in one day of filming. Two or three shows in the morning and early afternoon. Then after a lunch break the remaining shows are taped. For this reason you may have been asked to bring several changes of clothes, just in case you become a returning champ or your game doesn't finished in one episode. This way when they film the next show, it will look like another day, even though it is only 30 minutes later.

When you arrive at the Studio

When you arrive at the studio on the day of filming, you will be met by the Contestant Coordinator. They will take you to a safe room where you will be sequestered until it is your turn to play the game. You friends and family, arriving later than you, will be escorted to their front row seats to watch your performance on the show. You are in a sequestered room where you will be under close watch. In fact, you may do nothing without an escort. All this is to ensure that there is no way you can cheat. Of course, they will make your experience as comfortable as possible. You will have things to do, snacks to eat and other contestants to keep you company. They will be filming five shows today to cover Monday through Friday's programs.

If each show uses two contestants, there might be 14 contestants available to play in these shows. Only 10 will make it, the other 4 will have to come back the next day or week if they're available. You will often be required to sign an agreement saying you are available for three consecutive days of taping, before they invite you on to the show. Remember, there is still no guarantee that you will be picked on any of these days.

For every show that is filmed, the Coordinator will come into the room after the previous taping has finished, and call out the names of two newly selected contestants. The selection process of who gets picked next is a closely guarded secret. These people will get to compete in the next show, while the rest wait patiently hoping they are the next to be picked.

What's Happening On Stage While You are Waiting to Be Picked?

While this is happening, there are many things happening on stage to prepare the show for filming. A stage crew is preparing the stage set up so that it is safe to use. Gaffers (they handle electrical and lighting) are checking the lighting, while Grips (who handle sets and props) are making sure that is locked down and in place. Good thing, you don't want to have a spinning wheel falling on you. Producers are going over the order in which the show will be filmed with the Assistant Director. They will be checking with all departments to make sure the show runs smoothly. Sound guys are testing and balancing all mixing boards (to make sure that sound effects, like buzzers and chimes will work on cue). Studio Pages run around keeping the audience in their proper seats as the Wardrobe and Makeup department check on the Host of the show.

At the same time an Audience Coordinator is helping load and seat the Audience. When the audience is finally seated and waiting for your big entrance, they will entertained by an Audience Warm-up person. This person tells jokes and energizes the audience throughout the day. They have the fun job of keeping peoples minds off "Why the Show hasn't begun yet" so that they to will enjoy their LA studio experience.

Meanwhile, you nervously wait your turn to play. The Coordinator is trying to keep everyone relaxed, while going over the rules and procedures of the show. They want everyone to do their best. They want you to win, so they will play a few mock games to get you warmed up. All this is done under the watchful eye of the Standards and Practices staff.

Yaaa Hoo! They Pick You To Be Next

Game Four has finished filming, three hours later and your time finally comes to play. You are taken to the stage, stopping by hair and makeup to get your magical look for the show. While you are there, the stage crew are once again doing last minute sound and lighting checks, and making sure that all the equipment works. Everyone wants you to have the best possible experience, while entertaining the viewers at home. If you are lucky, you might get to see a few celebrities coming and going from their nearby stages as you go to yours.

The best part is when the filming begins. You finally get to do what you came to do: play the game and win. You will play as instructed while the audience watches closely. Don't be nervous; just play the way you know how too. During commercial breaks your Contestant Coordinator will be around to offer you water, and someone from make-up will powder your nose.

You will get to play until the game is over or the show time is up. If you are needed on the next show, you will be escorted back to the safe room, so that you can change clothes. This will continue until your run as champion is over. Hopefully you have won a lot of great prizes and had a unique experience to remember forever.

What happens when the show is over?

Receiving Your Prizes and Tax Liabilities

The time has come for you to go home and wait for your episode to air on TV. Before you leave the set, the Contestant Coordinator will tell you the date your show will air. This is usually four to six weeks later. You will also be given a timeline of when to expect to receive your prizes. When you first arrived on set you signed papers about being on the show. One of the things it covered was that they have anywhere from 90 to 180 days to send you your prizes from the date your show is schedule to air. Even if your show doesn't air, you can still get your prizes in this time frame. The contract also states that you are personally responsible for paying taxes on any cash or prizes you might win. Like the $7000 motorized Mercedes Benz replica golf cart. Top of the Line! But wait a minute you don't play golf. The taxes for this golf cart will likely run around $1500 and you can't afford that much and don't know anyone you can sell it to. What can you do?

What If You Can't Use The Prizes You Won And Don't Want To Pay The Taxes On Them?

You can always refuse to accept the prizes you have won if you don't want them, or if you can't pay the taxes. If you accept them, you must pay the taxes on them, even if you can't sell them. You will rarely ever have the opportunity to exchange unwanted prizes, so that is not an option. It is important to remember that vacation packages cannot be sold or transferred to another person. These vacations are taxable, so if you can't take them, it will be best to refuse them. Then you won't get stuck paying the taxes on prizes you don't want.

Get links to most game show's contestant submission website

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