Charles Temple is
back for “Jeopardy!” Tournament of Champions
Fans will get another chance to cheer on Ocracoke resident Charles
Temple in his bid to win the “Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions,”
beginning on Nov. 2.
In May, Temple, 39, the high school English teacher at Ocracoke School,
won the first ever Teachers Tournament, garnering $100,000 while
competing against 15 other teachers from around the nation.
In late September, he traveled to Los Angeles again to test his
smarts against 15 other “Jeopardy!” winners.
“It was definitely a step up in competition,” Temple said about this
stint and contestants in an interview Monday in his salon-style
classroom behind the new gym.
“But we bonded immediately and recognized each other as a tribe, as
hard-core nerds,” the convivial Temple said. “You float a grammar joke,
and anyone who laughs is a nerd.”
Temple is contractually bound not to reveal the outcome of the
tournament, nor could he say how many of the 10 total games he played
The entire tournament lasted 36 hours over two nights of filming, he
Although he was less nervous this time, having had some experience, he
said he doesn’t remember the categories of questions.
“It just goes whizzing by so fast,” he said.
In the “Jeopardy!” world, the Tournament of Champions is the biggest
event of the year, he said. Not all contestants were
winners, but they were the high winners in their respective runs at the
“Everyone at this tournament wondered how they had gotten there,”
Temple noted. “We all felt we needed some luck to get there
lucky to be in that group. It was a remarkable group of people.”
Among his compatriots were doctors, engineers, scientists, a writer,
another teacher, and the college tournament winner.
“After the tournament, we all went to a Korean barbeque restaurant. and
one of the contestants was Korean and he ordered everything for us,”
Temple said about the group’s camaraderie.
They also have a secret Facebook page where they converse.
Preparation for the event consisted mostly of reading the paper every
day to keep up with current events, he said, but not much else as he
worked this summer at Middlebury College in Vermont.
Competing well in “Jeopardy!” means being a good generalist of
information, he said.
“It’s not the kind of thing you can study for. The people who do the
best on it are generalists, such as journalists, lawyers and
teachers. Being a generalist appeals to me.”
In a past interview, Temple said he is particularly interested in
Of course, English and literature are among his strong suits, too.
A bit of national notoriety has followed his May victory.
Temple explained that his image appeared in a video spoof of the
afternoon game show “The Price is Right,” which was shown on the Jay
In the video, available for view on YouTube, the point is that the
questions on that game show are not as difficult as those on
“Jeopardy!”, and Temple’s photo appears.
“Of all the competitors, I don’t know why they showed me,” he said.
The video pops up if you search for “The Price is Right lyrics Jay
Leno.” The name of the video is “The Price is Right Theme Song.” Temple
is clearly visible mid-way through it.
As for his winnings from the Teachers Tournament, Temple said he has
no big plans for the money yet.
“I bought a Big Green Egg,” he said with a laugh about his fancy new
smoker, grill, and oven all in one.
“It was never about the money, getting on the show,” he said. “It was
always about getting to play the game.”
Also, when he and his girlfriend, Chrisi Gaskill, went back to Los
Angeles, they went to some upscale restaurants.
“We ate well this time,” he said.
Until all the hoopla starts Nov. 2, Temple will concentrate on his job
as a teacher of 16 students as they read and discuss Dante’s “Inferno,”
Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness, and other classics of English letters, as
well as coaching the seven boys on the cross country team.
“I feel like I just got into the school year,” he said about recent
events, such as Hurricane Irene and “Jeopardy!” competing with the
business of teaching.
“I like to work,” he said. “And the kids like to work, too. They just
don’t know it.”
Tournament of Champions shows runs from Nov. 2-15. The first
round is Wednesday through Friday and Monday and Tuesday -- Nov. 2, 3,
4, 7 and 8. The semi-finals are Wednesday through Friday, Nov. 9-11,
and the finals are Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 14 and 15.
Gaffer’s Sports Pub in Ocracoke will have a “Jeopardy!” party, before
the show starts at 7:30 p.m.on Nov. 2. – and perhaps other nights if
Temple’s winning streak holds.