Hundreds Seek Chance To Appear on 'Millionaire'

Harvard students headed downtown on Friday to audition for the coming season of the hit ABC game show, “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?”

More than 200 students from colleges all over the Boston area—including Boston College, Boston University, Emerson College, Harvard, MIT and many other local undergraduate institutions—came for their chance to take on host Regis Philbin for big bucks.

“My roommate has been screaming ‘Millionaire’ at me all week,” said Susan Redman, a sophomore at Emerson College, while waiting to enter the building.

The audition process began in the Park Plaza ballroom with a written test that was distributed to eligible college students.

Questions on the test ranged from pop culture—“Which of the following words appears on the first two of Sisqo’s albums?”—to esoteric trivia—“What type of natural phenomenon is a chinook?”

Thirty-five questions in only 12 minutes put a lot of pressure on contestants.

“You really had to think on your toes—it was a quick test,” said Bradley W. Rodriguez ’03, who made the cut.

After time was called, students were faced with the suspense of waiting for their tests to be scored. To ease the tension, producers offered “Millionnaire” T-shirts in return for on-stage student impersonations of Britney Spears.

Finally, the results were in, and passing scores were announced. Less than 25 percent of test-takers made the cut. A number of Harvard students passed, including Rodriguez, Trevor S. Cox ’02, Scott A. Golder ’03 and Vikram J. Vaz ’02.

“The test wasn’t as bad as it could have been,” Vaz said, “but I was pretty sure that the cut-off would be pretty high. When they started calling out the numbers, I was getting worried, but when I heard mine, I was very relieved.”

Students who passed were led into another room, where they completed written applications and then lined up for interviews. The interviews lasted anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes, and usually contained the question, “What would you do with a million dollars?”

“I felt that they were looking more for profile than performance,” Rodriguez said.

In April, Richard Cooper ’01 made it past the auditions, as well as the show’s “Fastest Finger” round, and went on to win prize money on the show.

Students will be notified in the coming weeks whether they have been selected to appear on the show.