Charles Temple loses first
round in ‘Jeopardy!’ Tournament of Champions
By CONNIE LEINBACH
Ocracoke community gave a standing ovation to high school English
teacher Charles Temple in Gaffer’s Sports Pub Wednesday night after he
lost in the first round on the “Jeopardy!” Tournament of Champions.
Temple, 39, is among 15 contestants vying for the grand prize of
May, he won the first ever “Jeopardy!” Teachers Tournament, garnering
$100,000 after competing against 14 other teachers from around the
First-round Tournament of Champion shows will continue
to air on the Outer Banks at 7:30 p.m. today (Thursday) through Friday
and Monday and Tuesday -- Nov. 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.
eliminated in the first round receive $5,000, and semi-finalists will
get $10,000. In addition to the $250,000 to the first place winner
overall, the second-place winner will receive a minimum of $100,000,
the third-place winner $50,000.
However, Temple, who toasted the crowd at Gaffer’s after the show, said
it’s not over yet.
has a “mathematical chance” of getting into the finals as those who
don’t win their first round get placed into a “wild card” pool.
four contestants in that pool with the top scores will be in the
finals. Those four will be revealed after next Tuesday’s game, he said.
of the contestants on the Tournament of Champions has an Ocracoke
connection. Justin Sausville of Baltimore, Md., is the nephew of
Ocracoke resident Jennifer Hamlin.
Temple’s score before the Final Jeopardy question was $400. He bet $115
and had an incorrect answer, ending with $285.
Nissley, an eight-time “Jeopardy!” winner, was winner with earnings of
$16,403, beating the third contestant, Jay Rhee, whose final score was
$16,401. Both had the correct answer.
As the game began,
Nissley leapt ahead, with Rhee close behind. Temple answered a few
questions correctly, each time to cheers from the Ocracoke crowd.
At the end of the first round, he was in last place with $2,000, with
Nissley at $8,800 and Rhee at $4,400.
the second round, Nissley and Rhee continued to progress. Temple missed
a few questions, at one point taking his score to zero.
Smiling and laughing continually, Temple was certainly not down about
his chance-of-a-lifetime experience on “Jeopardy!”
He had some tough competition playing against Nissley, a writer from
Seattle, Wash., and Rhee, an oncologist from Annapolis, Md.
“I splattered into a brick wall called Jay and Tom,” Temple said,
laughing, after the game.
“Those questions were hard,” observed Casey Peeler, who was among the
folks at Gaffer’s.
Ironically, Peeler knows another of the contestants in the
current tournament, John Krizel.
“You’re still the best,” Ocracoke resident Tom Pahl said to Temple as
the two shook hands.
Temple’s run at “Jeopardy!” and participation in the Tournament of
Champions is a distinction few people can claim.
1985, out of the thousands of contestants on the show, approximately
300 have competed in the TOC, with nearly $5.4 million in cash prizes
awarded to the participating players.
“So, I’m in good company,” Temple said.
That company is a “crazy smart collection of nerds, dorks, and geeks,”
was a group with whom he and his girlfriend, Chrisi Gaskill, who
accompanied Temple to California both times, instantly bonded.
was one of my most favorite contestants,” Gaskill said, adding that
even though she and Temple spent only a few days with the others, she
misses them. “This time, it felt like we met soul mates,” she
said about the group.
In an earlier interview, Temple noted that his TOC compatriots have a
secret Facebook page on which to converse.
her seat in the “Jeopardy!” audience during filming in September,
Gaskill could see the producers’ television monitors and could see that
all three men knew the answers and were ringing their buzzers.
“It was just that Tom or Jay rang their buzzers a hair faster,” she
said. “It was all about ringing in the fastest.”
She also said all the games were close, with the winners winning “by
the skin of their teeth.”
both felt so blessed to be there and to compete again,” she said about
the experience of being a part of the show. “It was incredible.”
She noted that once a contestant is in the Tournament of Champions, he
or she can never compete on “Jeopardy!” again.
Gaskill says she and Temple will go back there someday, as she has been
trying her luck with the online test to become a contestant.
So far, she has not received the call that Temple received last year
telling him he would be on the show.
“I’m going to be on ‘Jeopardy!’ someday,” she said. “So, I’ll take
MORE ON CHARLES TEMPLE AND ‘JEOPARDY’
read previous Island Free Press stories on Charles Temple, including
his win in the Teachers Tournament and his own story of his experience
on “Jeopardy!” go to: