East Idaho native fulfills lifelong dream by appearing on ‘Jeopardy!’ tonight


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Photos and video courtesy A.J. Freeman via ‘Jeopardy!’

This east Idaho native will appear on one of America’s most popular game shows Tuesday evening.

Answer: Who is A.J. Freeman?

A dream is about to come true for an Idaho Falls High School graduate who has been waiting his entire life to compete on “Jeopardy!”

A.J. Freeman, 34, has applied to be on the show five times since 2012 by completing a 50-question online test offered on the “Jeopardy!” website once a year.

“You get 15 seconds on each question, so you have to move really quick. There’s different categories, and I’ve always wanted to try my hand at it,” Freeman tells EastIdahoNews.com. “They don’t tell you how you do, or how you’re supposed to do. They leave you hanging and say that if you pass the test, they may contact you within the next year to do an in-person audition.”

Freeman, who now lives in Boise, did the test last March and received an email in June from “Jeopardy!” producers asking to meet him during an audition in Seattle.

“About 20 other people were in the room. They had cameras set up and had three of us at a time come up and play the game,” Freeman recalls. “There was a host representing Alex (Trebek, the show’s host) and we played with real buzzers and everything.”

Freeman didn’t expect to advance any further as the majority of the other contestants had been to multiple in-person auditions, and this was his first.

But in November, the producers called and invited him to a show taping in Los Angeles at Sony Pictures Studios. His wife, Alexis, accompanied him, along with his brother, Mitch, from Phoenix, and parents Jim and Kareen Freeman from Idaho Falls.

“Before the taping, I practiced onstage and they test your outfit to make sure it looks good on camera,” Freeman says. “I was pretty nervous for sure, but they let me watch a few shows before I actually went on stage.”

Freeman is proud of the fact that he was able to mention Idaho Falls on-air while speaking with Trebek during the taping.

“I said I had run with the Olympic torch in Idaho Falls (for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics), and he mentioned that he also ran holding the torch,” Freeman says. “I was really surprised how nice and really funny Alex was. He spent a lot of time during each commercial break talking to the audience and letting them ask questions. He is so good at his job.”

Freeman isn’t allowed to say how well he did or if he stayed for more than one show, but all will be revealed when his “Jeopardy!” episode airs March 20 at 6 p.m. on KPVI.

“It was a really fun experience. It’s my favorite show, and I’ve watched it my whole life, so it was cool to see the inner workings of it and meet all the people,” Freeman says.

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