My EXCLUSIVE interview with game show contestant and author Pamela Hill – Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of my interview with actor and serial game show contestant Pamela Hill, whose book The Next Contestant Is… is now available on Amazon. Knowing that Pamela’s an actor and a game show enthusiast (just like me!) there was one question I had to ask…


SH: Given your performing background, nerves don’t seem to be much of a problem for you, but many contestants do struggle with them. Do you have any tips for aspiring contestants to stop nerves getting the better of them, come show time?

PH: Yes, it does help that I’m a performer… although, like everyone else, I do get very excited! What works for me is staying very present in my game play by listening (while keeping my energetic nature). If it’s a show that’s already airing, watch some episodes before your audition, or when you are picked to be a contestant. Refresh yourself by watching previous episodes on TV or YouTube. If it’s a game, you can practice at home (alone, or with a friend or family member). Practice, Practice, Practice! My hubby William and I have been fortunate enough to appear on many game shows together. I spoke about it in my book. We did well, because of the time we spent practicing with each other. You will feel more relaxed and play the game better.

SH: Of all your appearances, which was your favourite show, and why?

PH: Wow, another great question! So many, for so many reasons… But if I have to choose just one, I would say the game show No Relation. In this show, it was the celebrity panel’s job to guess the fake family member. I got to play an imposter, and by having acting and improv experience, I was able to combine both of my worlds (acting and game shows)!

SH: Your least favourite?

PH: As I relate in my book, when I got a question wrong on Whammy! The All-New Press Your Luck, faux grass fell from the ceiling, covering me. Although it was slightly embarrassing, I remained a good sport. Even with a flustered me, I still had a smile on my face!

SH: Having appeared on so many game shows, what changes have you noticed in the TV game show landscape over the years?

PH: The one big change is there are more contestant auditions on Zoom than in person. Though over the computer, you still need to bring that energetic personality and winning smile! Whether it’s in person or on screen... First Impressions Count!

SH: What do you think is the future of game shows?

PH: I think game shows will always be around. People grow up with them, watching them with their family. They are entertaining, nostalgic, and engaging! A great escape. Playing games is fun, and viewers enjoy participating by watching and playing them at home. My hubby William and I do that with Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune. Game shows are timeless.

SH: Are there any game shows you haven’t been on yet, that you’d like to? If so, why?

PH: There are so many great classic and new game shows to choose from, I don’t know if I can pick just one! But I wanted to mention that my hubby and I had wanted to be contestants on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire for a long time. We tried qualifying when we first started dating. Many years later… we had our opportunity to be on the show! I talk about this exciting adventure in my book!

SH: I liked that in the book’s chapter titled Now It’s Your Turn, you arranged your advice into an A-Z contestant’s checklist… But are there any other tips or hints you’ve thought of, since you wrote the book, that you might like to share with our visitors?

PH: Thank you, Stephen – I had fun writing that list! Although I do talk about this in The Next Contestant Is… if I added some new ideas to my list, they would be: Do your research (be well-read, watch YouTube videos of the show, etc.), and if I could add an extra letter P to my list, that would be Practice, Practice, Practice!

SH: Thanks so much for chatting to me today Pamela! Before we go, are there any other upcoming appearances or ventures you’d like to mention?

PH: Thank you, Stephen! It was wonderful to connect with you! Congrats again on your projects! I enjoyed my interview with you. I play the lead role of Dr Kate Rand in the martial arts sci-fi comedy film Cyber Fighter. My husband William plays the main character Brian Baldwin. He also wrote and is directing the movie! Our comedic web series That Darn Girlfriend is now in its third season! I play ‘Valerie’ and William is ‘Vic’. It’s a kitschy classic comedy, with a vintage ’60s/early ’70s feel. Your readers can find our episodes, along with our other projects on our Four Scorpio Productions YouTube channel, and for my new projects and pics, you can visit me at

SH: Great! Pamela, thanks so much again for talking to me today for!


I’d like to thank Pamela for her time today, and to remind you that her book The Next Contestant Is… is now available on Amazon in Kindle, paperback and audiobook formats. I’ll see you back here next time…

My EXCLUSIVE interview with game show contestant and author Pamela Hill – Part 1

Hello! I’m very pleased to welcome Pamela Hill to the blog today. Pamela’s a Los Angeles-based actor and serial game show contestant, who got in touch with me after Yogesh Raut very kindly mentioned during his appearance on Jeopardy!‘s recent Tournament of Champions. Pamela emailed me at, and if you’d like to get in touch with me, you can too! That email address again:

But right now, on with the interview…


SH: Pamela, welcome to, and thank you for talking to me today! First, I feel I have to ask; Why game shows? What is it that fascinates you about them, and makes you want to keep going on them?

PH: Hi Stephen! Thank you for taking the time to interview me. I grew up watching game shows – Wheel of Fortune, The Price is Right, Let’s Make a Deal – and I was fascinated and entertained by them! Growing up in Cincinnati, I went with my parents to festivals and felt the excitement of winning prizes! Being on game shows allows me to experience that thrill!

SH: You’ve chronicled your unique game show journey in your book The Next Contestant Is. which is available HERE. It’s a very thorough account of your experiences on a lot of different game shows – In fact, I counted sixteen! What inspired you to write the book, and how long did it take you?

PH: My Dad always said to me “know enough to get on a game show.” My book is dedicated to him. After being a contestant on a lot of game shows (thinking I had a unique experience, because I had been on so many), I thought maybe this could be a book. I came up with the title The Next Contestant is… over 15 years ago. Then in 2012, I literally put pen to paper and started writing my book! I enjoyed the pen and paper process first, and then many years later I sat down at my computer. I finished in 2023! On Thursday, January 19th 2023…my book went LIVE on Amazon!

SH: What was the most challenging thing about writing the book?

PH: One of the most challenging things for me was just getting started and to keep going. Writing a book is a journey, and everyone’s experience is unique to them. I’m sure you understand, being an author too. Once I decided to allow myself the freedom of writing one sentence – or many – without pressure, that made the challenge of writing my book easier. The exciting part was that by allowing myself that freedom, my story came more easily to me. I heard the words in my mind, and it started to flow out of me. I tried not to edit these thoughts as I wrote. The idea that I was writing (or should I say “creating”?) my book was thrilling!

SH: Were there any moments in the writing process that surprised you?

PH: Yes! That’s a great question, Stephen. I started by writing about my many game show memories and what happens behind-the scenes. But the more I wrote, the more I realized that my book is also my personal Pamela story. My hubby William, who’s also an author, said to me early on “just write and let your memories unfold, and you will discover your story”. My book’s a combination of my contestant experiences, invaluable lessons I’ve learned, and the everyday knowledge I’ve garnered to bring me to that game show stage.

SH: Given that you’ve been on at least sixteen game shows, you’ve clearly had a lot of success in getting through the selection and audition process! What would you say are the three most important things for aspiring game show contestants to know, in order to get through the selection process?

PH: Authenticity is first on my list. Casting coordinators want to see The Real You; what they would want the television viewers to see. Pay Attention! Listen to all the rules, and don’t be distracted by your phone (Put your phone on silent!) Be A Good Sport! Whenever you’re auditioning in person or on Zoom with other players, clap for them after their interview or gameplay. If you are playing with them, be a kind team player. If it’s a game show based on academic knowledge or pop culture trivia, and you answer a question wrong… Keep that smile on your face! The casting people watch everything! You know the ol’ adage… It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.

==============================================================And that’s where we’ll leave it for today. Next week, I’ll ask Pamela about her favourite – and least favourite! – of the sixteen shows she’s appeared on, and whether she has any tips for pre-show nerves. In the meantime, just a reminder that her book The Next Contestant Is… is now available on Amazon in Kindle, paperback and audiobook formats. See you next Tuesday!

STOP PRESS – the briefcases are back (+ some handy hints).

Good evening. We interrupt our ongoing interview with US Quiz Champion Yogesh Raut this week for some late-breaking, gameshow-related news…

Firstly, Australian site reports that Deal Or No Deal will soon be returning to Australian screens, and that contestant registrations are NOW OPEN…

So, if you think you’re really good at guessing which cash amounts are in which briefcases – and you’re Australian-based (the show will be shot in Melbourne, apparently) – you can apply to be a contestant right HERE:

In other news, I stumbled across this article on the site for England’s Sun newspaper, which, in turn, was sourced from TikTok…

In the article, serial game show contestant Rebecca (who’s been on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, Wheel of Fortune and Let’s Make A Deal) shares quite a few handy hints, which will be useful if you’re thinking of applying for any of those shows. You can read all of them in the article I’ve just linked to above, where you’ll also find a link to her original TikTok video.

And that’s it for this week – pretty short and sweet, but I just wanted to make sure you had these two little nuggets of information. 

See you back here next Tuesday when I return with Part 4 of my interview with Yogesh Raut.

Until then, then!

My EXCLUSIVE interview with game show producer Steve Marshall – Part 3


When we left off last week, we were talking about Steve’s position as Associate Producer on Sale Of The Century…


SH: And at that stage, were you responsible for choosing contestants?

SM: I was at the auditions and interviews quite often. There’d be a written test. And then the ones who’d passed the test had to get up and stand in front of everybody and have a chat about themselves. We used to go for people who we thought would probably be good on camera, as opposed to people who might freeze on camera. And because the questions in the audition test were generally harder than the questions on the show, we thought if anyone passed the audition test, they’d know the answers to most of the questions on the show.

But… I do remember one guy who stood up after passing the test. He was an English guy, and he had the gift of the gab and he was chatty and he was funny and I just thought he was sensational. I remember saying to the Executive Producer “This English guy will be fantastic!” And the EP said “Really? Doesn’t look like it on paper…” I said “Trust me, this bloke will be sensational.” We put him on, and he didn’t say ‘boo’ the entire show. I think he might’ve answered one question. I said “Oh god, that’s me. I’ll never recommend anyone ever again!”

SH: During those auditions, were there any big no-no’s? Any cautionary tales? What not to do?

SM: Most of the people wanting to get on Sale were generally pretty smart people. And they went on there and they wanted to win. And so they worked fairly seriously. There weren’t too many people who were time wasters, shall we say. And if they were… they either wouldn’t pass the test, or they’d be stamped ‘probably not really good to use’.

SH: Were there any perks associated with the insider information you had there?

SM: Well….. Grundy’s in those days was in North Richmond near a pub called ‘The Cherry Tree’ which was owned by Scotty Palmer, a well-known sports journo. We’d often see him there on a Friday night. What we didn’t realize at the time, was that one of his most well-known customers was a bloke by the name of Dennis Allen, who lived nearby and owned about 10 houses, all paid for by the drugs that he sold at his front door. He was known to the cops as ‘Dr Death’, which I think explains his M.O. as far as selling the drugs.

SH: Ah, a medical man! I see, yes…

SM: So Dr. Death would be sitting at one end of the bar, and you never messed with him. But I remember ordering a couple of beers there one night, and the TV was on behind the bar and Sale of the Century was on. And this fairly shifty-looking bloke standing next to me points up at the screen. It was about halfway through the show, and you could see the contestant’s scores. And I think they were 20, 50 and 15 (meaning that the carry-over champ was on 15). And this guy said to me, “Carry-over champ’s in trouble. I bet ya $50 the bloke in the middle wins”.

And I just looked at the screen I said, “I’ll take that bet. I reckon the carry-over champ might get up here…” (knowing full well that we’d recorded this episode two weeks earlier, and that the carry-over champ came back in the final 60 seconds to win by one question!)

SH: Oh.

SM: Shifty-looking bloke pulls out the $50 and goes to hand it to me and he says, “Well called, mate.” I said, “Sorry. I can’t take your money. I work on the show. I know this bloke got up and won by one question. I can’t take your money. That’s just that.” And I’m thinking ‘there’s Dr. Death over in the corner….’

SH: (GULP) Yes, we’re all friends here! Heh heh. Did he take that all right?

SM: He was fine. But then two weeks later, I’m back in there. And he sidles up to me again, looks at the screen and goes “So who wins this one?”

And I give him a theatrical sort of look and go “chick on the left…”

So, he turns to another guy and goes, “Hey! I’ll bet you $100 bucks that chick on the left wins!”

I said, “$100? Your price has gone up.”

He goes, “Yeah. $50 for me and 50 for you…”

I said, “Okay I’ve got to cut this right here. I work on the show. We cannot be doing this. It’s illegal. You could get into big trouble. I’ll lose my job. So just let’s just stop betting on the winners, okay? I’m not telling you another thing.”

SH: You stayed on the right side of things there…

SM: I remember my boss telling me, “The smartest thing to do, don’t tell people you work on the show.”

SH: Lesson learned.

SM: “Drink your beer and go home like the rest of us.”


Yes, quite. I suspect that might be good advice for all of us, no matter where we are or what we’re doing.

See you next week.

(and Cheers).

“You are The Weakest Link.” Hello.

Hello. You may remember that a few weeks ago, I let you know about auditions (here in Victoria) for a new BBC quiz show called Quizical.

This brand new, unseen, unheard-of show, appearing out of the blue sparked a lot of questions… and quite a few rumours. Was Quizical in fact a code name for the reboot of another, more well-known quiz show?

Well, yes. Yes, it was.

It’s recently been revealed that the show in question is the classic The Weakest Link, (or, more accurately, Weakest Link, judging by the new logo), hosted this time around by Magda Szubanski.

So, if this is your cup of tea (and now that we know what we’re dealing with)… you can still apply to be on the show! The application page is right here (still at the old Quizical URL)…

I suspect they might take a tip or two from the recent US reboot of the show, hosted by Jane Lynch but of course, all that remains to be seen. The great news is that here in Australia, it’s not too late to apply! So if you’d like to test your knowledge and go up against Magda (and your fellow contestants) why not click on the link below, to start the process of finding out whether

You Are The Weakest Link.


Contestants wanted for a new quiz show!


Hey, if you’re in Melbourne, there’s a new quiz show coming up that’s looking for contestants right now! They’ll be shooting the show – Quizical – in April and May, but details about the show are a little vague at this stage. It’s being made by BBC Studios Australia, and they’re looking for “individuals who aren’t afraid to have some fun, have a friendly but competitive nature and who can answer quiz questions or have a good time trying. The only thing we ask you to bring is a positive attitude and be ready to have some laughs.”

Applications are open until April 9th, and you can apply RIGHT HERE.

… And the very best of luck to you!

My EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘Hard Quiz’ winner Markos Hasiotis – Part II


Last week, Markos gave us a little bit of background, a bit of ‘The Story So Far…’ This week, we dive into the actual Hard Quiz process in much more detail. Hopefully, there’s something here that’ll prove useful for you if you’re contemplating going on this particular quiz show (or any quiz show, for that matter). Let’s dive in.


SH: Can you talk us through the audition / interview process?

MH: Both the 2016 and 2017 auditions were virtually identical. The contestants are checked-in and given a sticker with their name and expert subject on it, which I love… because it makes for a great ice-breaker: “Hello, ‘World War Two’!” “Hey, nice to meet you, Simpsons”… The contestants are taken from the waiting room into a large space with rows of chairs.

We sit and do a written general knowledge test, and then small groups of us stand up and a producer asks each of us about ourselves and our expert subject, why we chose it, and so on. We’re also put into groups and asked a bunch of general knowledge questions which we need to “buzz in” and answer.

After that, a producer reads out a list of all the people who are through to the next round of the process, and the ones whose names aren’t announced are dismissed. The remaining contestants chill until we’re called into a private room where we have a one-on-one chat with a producer who asks us to discuss our subject a bit further. After that, we’re dismissed and simply wait to see if we get the big call.

SH: When you heard you were going on the show, how long did you have between getting THE CALL and the day of the record?

MH: I got the call (or email, in this case) on the 23rd of June, and the record took place on the 2nd of August so there was a good chunk of time to study… and for the butterflies in my stomach to multiply!

SH: How did the experience of actually doing the show compare with how you thought it’d be?

MH: It went by much quicker than I thought it would, it surprisingly didn’t take much longer than half an hour to film a half-hour show, which is a testament to the show’s dynamic crew. I was also pleasantly surprised that contestants were given quite a nice green room prior to the show, replete with a shower and lollies.

SH: Did you have any mantras or self-talk? Anything that you kept reminding yourself while you were on the set?

MH: Not really, I was quite zen and not thinking too much. One thing I did tell myself while on the set was “don’t worry if you’re the first one eliminated…you can still tell people you made the Top Four.” When I got to the second round, I similarly reassured myself “you can tell people you made the Top Three.” That was the extent of my self-talk.

SH: You were up against an expert on Australian birds (Simon), an expert on Greg Norman (Phil) and and expert on the band KISS (Robyn). In the heat of battle, during the actual playing of your game, what moments – either good or bad – stick in your mind?

MH: Each time one of the other contestants was eliminated sticks in my mind, because it felt positively awful. They’re very nice people and all three of them had come from interstate, while I lived a mere 15 minutes away! I also distinctly remember a strong feeling of doom during ‘Tom’s Round’, after I got the first 2 questions wrong, I thought I was finished for sure. My favourite moment was hearing Tom say “correct” after I answered the last question in the Final Round. It was a moment of great joy and relief and probably the first time I’d relaxed that entire day.


In next week’s final instalment, Markos lifts the lid on all those insults traded between the host and the contestants, we discuss his future in quizzing. and he shares his three top tips for anyone preparing to go on the show! 

Until then, then! 

My EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘Hard Quiz’ winner Markos Hasiotis – Part I

That’s Markos on the left, in the red shirt.

Hello! Today sees the first part of a three-part interview with Markos Hasiotis, who’s one of the winners of the Australian game show Hard Quiz; a show that requires its contestants to have great general knowledge and outstanding knowledge of their own specially selected subjects. Or to put it another way, they need to know a little about a lot, and a lot about a little. And in November 2017, Markos absolutely nailed it. Let’s meet him!


SH: Markos, thanks so much for talking to me today for By way of background, what was your life like before going on the show? I’m assuming you’ve always been interested in trivia (especially since your trivia handle is @FactBuffet)!

MH: Thank you, Stephen. Well, my life was pretty normal: I grew up in Melbourne, went to school, had fun with friends. I graduated from university in 2014 where I studied media, and since then have worked in different media roles. Hard Quiz was probably the most out-there thing I had done up to that point!

Facts have definitely been a constant throughout my life. As a kid, we didn’t have a TV in the house, so I read fact books instead and fell in love with facts. That love manifested itself into an enjoyment of trivia nights, my fact-based Twitter account and, eventually, the aforementioned quiz show.

SH: Had you watched Hard Quiz from its beginning in 2016?

MH: I’d actually auditioned for the show in 2016 but wasn’t successful, so I didn’t watch the first season… because it hurt too much! After I auditioned the second time in 2017 and got the green light, I binged on all the episodes that I’d missed and I very much enjoyed doing so.

SH: Some regular visitors to this site may be unfamiliar with Hard Quiz‘s format, so could you please give them a quick description of how the show works?

MH: Sure. Well, each episode has four contestants, each with an expert subject. (The show’s host) Tom Gleeson briefly chats with / insults each of us and then the game begins:

Each contestant is asked 5 questions about their expert subject, they get 5 points for a correct answer and 5 points off for a wrong answer. Other contestants are allowed to buzz in and answer a question on someone else’s subject; if they’re correct, they receive 10 points and they lose 5 points if they’re incorrect.

After that, it’s a round called ‘Tom’s Subject’, where you’re asked 5 multiple-choice questions on a random subject. In my case, it was Indonesia. You receive 5 points for a correct answer and lose 5 points for an incorrect answer… except on the 5th question where correct answers get 10 points.

The contestant with the lowest score after that round is eliminated.

Then it’s ‘The People’s Round’, where Tom asks general knowledge questions for 30 seconds. 5 points for a correct answer, 5 points off for an incorrect answer. The person with the lowest score after that round is also eliminated.

In the Final Round, the 2 remaining contestants go Head to Head. They’re each asked 5 questions on their expert subject, one tick for a correct answer and one cross for a wrong answer. Whoever gets the most ticks, wins the mug.

SH: What made you decide that you wanted to go on the show?

MH: I couldn’t resist! It seemed like an exciting chance for me to put my knowledge to the test, and the fact that Tom Gleeson was hosting indicated that it’d be a funny experience. I had no work or study commitments either, so the timing felt just right.

SH: Your special subject was James Bond – and I could see why it would be! (I’m something of a fan myself) How did you train for going on the show?

MH: Bond-A-Rama! looks great, I wish I’d gone to see it.

SH: Haha! Thank you!

MH: I trained by doing lots of James Bond quizzes online. I also had several James Bond books and a James Bond board game at my childhood home, so I looked through them which was helpful. I wanted to watch the movies but my DVD player broke after From Russia with Love which threw a spanner in the works. However, there’s an online channel called Haphazardstuff which has detailed video reviews of James Bond movies, so watching them was a worthy alternative.

As for general knowledge, I’m quite lucky that I essentially train for it daily, through my tweeting. I also scanned newspapers and encyclopaedias often and also quizzed myself with every Carlton Draught bottle cap I could find!


And that’s where we’ll leave it for this week. For our overseas visitors, I should explain that Carlton Draught is an Australian brand of beer. The caps on the 375 mL bottles always have a trivia question (and answer) printed on their underside. Loads of paradoxical quizzing fun to share with friends over drinks in the pub; why not exercise a few brain cells while simultaneously killing a few off?

I’ll be back next Tuesday with Part II of my chat with Markos. See you then! 

My EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘Millionaire Hot Seat’ Winner Judd Field! Part VI

And so now here we are at the climax of Judd Field’s Millionaire Hot Seat journey. The top prize amount on offer in Judd’s episode has turned out to be $50,000, and Judd has now battled his way through several questions to get here. He started the game in the Hot Seat, he’s been out of the Hot Seat, and is now back in it again, and he’s just about to have a crack at the big one…. ==============

SH: Before the final question, Eddie made you sing for your supper, literally. Presumably, this was something you’d worked out beforehand?

JF: Haha, yeah that was the song I sung down the barrel of the camera in my audition to stand out, for a bit of fun. I knew they would ask me to do something, so was ready to bust it out. In the recording of the show, they actually showed part of a clip of the song I helped write for a UK RAF war widow charity, that ended up being filmed in Westminster Abbey as the only song ever allowed there. After they played that, Eddie asked me to sing something else. The video clip part of the conversation never made it to air, which is a shame cause I might have got 10 seconds of royalties as well. Haha.

SH: Your final question – for $50,000 – was

“Well, nobody’s perfect” is the final line of which classic film?
A) Some Like It Hot
B) Chinatown
C) A Clockwork Orange
D) Psycho

You hadn’t seen any of them recently… but you were leaning towards A. Why was that?

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My EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘Millionaire Hot Seat’ Winner Judd Field! Part V

Welcome to the fifth instalment of my exclusive interview with Millionaire Hot Seat winner Judd Field. At this stage of proceedings, Judd’s been in the Hot Seat, he’s chosen to pass on a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles question, and so has returned to the contestant queue. None of his competitors have lasted long in their turns in the Hot Seat though, and we’ve cycled through them all quite quickly, and now Judd’s back in prime position. His next question is about rice, and it’s worth $4000…
SH: Judd, you seemed pretty sure of your next question…

Which of these rice varieties is named after a town in Italy?
A) Arborio
B) Basmati
C) Calrose
D) Japonica

You seemed sure it was Arborio. Of course, it WAS Arborio, and that answer earned you $4,000.

JF: Yeah. I actually started a chef apprenticeship in an Italian restaurant when I left school, so I was very sure.

SH: For the question after that…

Which of these current model motor vehicles is not produced by Holden?
A) Captiva
B) Equinox
C) Mondeo
D) Trailblazer


At first you seemed unsure, but you then locked in “Ford Mondeo”. That was correct, and you were now sitting on $6,000.

JF: Haha, yes! That was one of those questions where the words of the producer’s pre-show talk were ringing in my ear; “Read the question properly”. I remember working through which of the options it wasn’t; “Holden Captiva”, “Holden Trailblazer”, “Holden Captiva”… they all sounded kinda right. Or at least not wrong. “Holden Mondeo”? No, that did sound wrong – it’s “Ford Mondeo”. Also, I used to have a Captiva and my Ford-mad uncle used to have a Mondeo (I used to tease him….haha!) So I was sure… once I had read the question 5 times haha.

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