Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire - The Game is Afoot!

I appeared on yesterday's (September 27th, 2011) original episode of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire". This is the story of what happened after Meredith Vieira announced my name.


Standing on the steps of the Millionaire stage, I could feel many higher brain functions overloading. I had not expected the nervousness to overwhelm me in such a way. It wasn't that I couldn't think - it was that my mind was racing and trying to process the whole situation while simultaneously controlling my emotions and at the same time sustaining the life functions of within my body.
John Kuczaj Aug 31, 2011

Luckily I had already pooped earlier that morning.

First up was the ceremonial kiss-greeting with Meredith. I hate the cheek-to-cheek kiss-greeting. I find it fake and unsatisfying. Yet, I knew I could not approach with outstretched tongue. I acquiesced. Step over to the podium and look down to make sure I am on my mark. Whew! Everything's going as just as I expected.

"So how long have you wanted to be on the show?" Meredith asks.
Wait, what?
This is the most obvious part of the show where my nervousness comes out. I had not expected this question. Before the show, the Producers I had talked with said that she would probably ask me about my music or maybe the comic collection. I didn't know that something I mentioned at the audition 7 weeks prior would make it on the show. I had mentioned that I went to the first auditions for the show 10 years prior. Seemed like an off-handed comment. Yikes. Now I needed to summon up my year of Improv "Yes, and" training to find an appropriate answer.
"...I've wanted to be on the show since the show came into syndication," I blurted.
Ugh...wasn't ready for that. Let's just get to the game.


Most of my friends and family didn't know that last season the show was changed so that all the money amounts are randomized, then the questions are randomized. Now you could get a hard question with a low dollar amount and an easy question with a high dollar amount. This eliminated the most boring part of the classic show where contestants answered several "duh" questions until they got to the harder questions.

I would say it also made the show harder.

Now you could see an easy question and wonder if it were a trick question (which they never do anyway). Yikes!

Take a look at how my categories were shuffled:
The hardest category was shuffled down as the first question!

Question #1: Category, 'Bewildering Bylines'

What unusual twosome co-wrote an opinion piece in USA Today in 2011 about the need to eradicate dirty stoves in homes worldwide?
A: Angelina Jolie and Bob Dole
B: Sandra Bullock and Joe Biden
C: Julia Roberts and Hillary Clinton
D: Madonna and Colin Powell

This question ended up being what the Producers considered the hardest of the bunch. Oh, love my luck!
My first thought: "What the F@#&???" My second thought: "Since when does anyone pay attention to USA Today opinion pieces?" I had never heard about this before so I knew immediately to jump the question, so I used my first lifeline on the first question.
The answer was C: Julia and Hilary. Good for them.

Question #2: Category, 'Ancient Trends'

Finding 57 of them preserved on a 5,300-year-old mummy, scientists had to rethink the origins of what body decoration?
A: Tattoos
B: Bracelets
C: Piercings
D: Necklaces
This question ended up being what the Producers considered the #4 on the 1-10 easy-to-hard scale. I could not decide between tattoos and Piercings. On the one hand, 57 tattoos seemed excessive for someone not dating Kat Von D. On the other, I could see 57 pieces of metal attached to a mummy. I wasn't too sure, so on the second question I felt I needed to burn my second lifeline. I wasn't completely sure the audience was made up of mostly archaeologists and anthropologists, so I jumped the question.

The answer was A: Tattoos.
Skipping the first two questions…all I could think about was that I was in trouble. And that I must look really dumb.

Question #3: Category, 'Party Time'

A recent social trend, "dadchelor parties" are events thrown for men who are about to what?
A: Graduate from college
B: Buy a home
C: Have a baby
D: Retire from a job

This question ended up being what the Producers considered the easiest question. Earlier in the day, a Producer gave us tips on what to expect and how to play. One of those tips was that some questions actually lead you to the answer if you read them. I have never heard of the term "Dadchelor Party" and I have yet to find someone who has. However, considering I am planning a Bachelor Party for my friend Joe, this seemed like a simple analogy question to me Marriage is to Bachelor party as WHAT is to Dadchelor party.

I made an educated guess of C: Have a baby and was correct!

Then the money was revealed - $25,000! Wow! With one question, I was out of a massive hole! Sweet!

Also: Meredith High-Fived me! Ha!

Commercial Break

At this point in the game, we went to commercial and I was able to bask in my last-question success. While a few adjustments were being made, Meredith and I had some small talk time. She was consoling about the first two questions and said good job on the last one. She mentioned that she had lived in Chicago for a time and that a couple of her kids were going to Northwestern University. In the short time I talked with her onstage, I can tell she's a very nice person. The Producers had even told us that she takes it hard when people miss questions. I believe that.

In my post yesterday, I mentioned that my strategy was to only answer the question if I was 100% sure, otherwise use up my lifelines and then walk away. There was also a second part of my Strategy - take a lot of time before answering every question. When you watch the show, it looks like I answered everything very quick. Not so. They edited a lot out. Even (sadly) some funny banter between Meredith and I. The next question was the only question that needed no editing.

Question #4: Category, 'Book Buying' - Double Money Question

Using an image from a classic children's book, Barnes & Noble offers a gift card that shows a girl and her pig looking at a what?
A: Ant
B: Butterfly
C: Spider
D: Grasshopper

This question ended up being what the Producers considered the #5 on the 1-10 easy-to-hard scale. I had an inkling that it was the spider and maybe Charlotte's Web, but I never read the book and vaguely remembered the 1973 animated movie. My strategy dictated that I ask the audience.
87% of them said it was C: Spider. HA!
I felt the audience at that point was getting an air of superiority about them, so I decided to stroke their collective ego
"This audience has yet to fail me," I said, getting a big laugh and applause from them. Then when Meredith added the great straight-man's line of "There is always a first time…", I had a chance to throw out some of my better facial reactions:

Okay, I accepted that overwhelming vote and locked it in waiting to see what dollar amount would be doubled. $100!!!! Woo-hooo! $25,200 in the bank!
Actually, I did cheer this in an exaggerated fashion, but I still had a ton of pent-up anxiety to deal with. By this time you might expect me to ease into things. Not at all. I was having difficulty concentrating and standing still.

Question #5: Category, 'Winning Formulas'

"All I had to do was keep turning left," said George Robson about his 1946 victory in what sporting event?
A: Boston Marathon
B: Indianapolis 500
C: PGA Championship
D: Wimbledon
This question ended up being what the Producers considered the #2 on the 1-10 easy-to-hard scale but I found easiest. Duh…racecar drivers on an oval only turn left. Strange that they named the category "Winning Formulas" because Formula One racers turn left and right on most of their courses.

I said B: Indianapolis 500, and that was correct. $7,000 more in the bank that now totaled $32,200.

Question #6: Category, 'Different Strokes'

Due to his unusual painting technique, what artist earned the nickname "Jack the Dripper"?
A: Jackson Pollock
B: Salvador Dali
C: Jasper Johns
D: Marcel Duchamp

This question ended up being what the Producers considered the #3 on the 1-10 easy-to-hard scale but I know little about painting. Cut from the show was me reading the question to myself again and then each name aloud. Concentration was minimal. However, I remembered that they have no trick questions. I vaguely recalled Jackson Pollock as being a "messy" painter and he was the only one whose first name was "Jack" or "John", so I made an educated guess of A: Jackson Pollock.
Correct! And $15,000 behind that question. I was floored...well...the look on my face says it all! $47,200 in the bank. Oh, my! I let out a few "woo"'s in order to release some of that building tension.

Question #7: Category, 'Foreign Leaders'

In the 1950s and '60s, what Asian country had a president who was affectionately referred to by his citizens as "Uncle Ho"?
A: Japan
B: India
C: Vietnam
D: China

This question ended up being what the Producers considered the #9 on the 1-10 easy-to-hard scale. Okay, so this is where things started to unravel in my head. I heard the question. Then I read the question to myself. Then I read it again. I could not comprehend what I was reading. Vapor Lock. I took a lot of time answering this question because I was out of my mind by that time. I read it again aloud and "Ho Chi Minh Trail" hit me. Duh.
Vietnam. Final answer.

Correct! For another $500 and now $47,700 in the bank.!!!

Going into commercial break, I gave Meredith the laser eyes "I'm freaking out here" look.

Club Millionaire & Say Hi to the Girlfriend

During the commercial break, Meredith did a "Club Millionaire" bumper question. There were some technical issues so it took a while. Meredith asked me how long Crystal and I had been dating. I told her 9 months and that things were looking very good. She said that was wonderful. I had a feeling that meant we'd introduce Crystal to the TV audience next and hoped that I could talk about my music and mention "Atomic Shop" on the air. We came back from commercial, Meredith mentioned Crystal, who waved to the camera then to me, and we kept playing. Sadly, all of that was cut out of the show (sorry, babe) and even more disappointing, I was not able to mention my music on national-freaking-television!

Question #8: Category, 'Cover Girl'

What supermodel has appeared on the most covers of the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue?
A: Elle Macpherson
B: Christie Brinkley
C: Kathy Ireland
D: Cheryl Tiegs
"Well, if the question were about all the sports Illustrated Swimsuit issues I possess," I said as Meredith chuckled, "I know the answer, and that would be C: Kathy Ireland". Now, during the taping, my deliberations went longer - even to a point where Meredith asked me where I kept my swimsuit issues (she's a great straight-man!) and I replied I kept them under the bed. I recalled the "Family Guy" episode with the Kathy Ireland cut-out. I knew is wasn't Christie Brinkley or Cheryl Tiegs. I was not 100% sure what it was. My strategy dictated that I walk. Except I never thought that. I never thought about getting more money either. It was crazy…I just plowed ahead to answer the question. WTF!

"Meredith, I'm going to swing away on this," I said, "I'm going to say C: Kathy Ireland...and that's my final answer."
At that point, I felt the music tone changed and the pause was too long.

I blew it!.

It was Elle Macpherson…on the cover 5 times. I could have walked away with $23,850 but instead left with $1,000

This is me, trying to figure out WHY I even answered that question.

Meredith was bummed and as we waited for "clear" she tried to console. I said I guess I was thinking who's been in the most issues (probably not true either) but mostly I was trying to figure out why I didn't follow the strategy. Why did I answer the question at all?

Tomorrow: Coping With The Failure

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire - The Prep Work

I will be appearing on today's (September 27th, 2011) original episode of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire". In Chicago, the show airs at 4pm followed by a repeat episode at 4:30. This is the story of what I did from the time I got the call to appear until the taping began.

Making Plans

After getting the call on August 9th, I had 20 days to prepare for the show. First things first. I redeemed one of my Southwest Airlines reward tickets for a mid-afternoon Aug 29 flight to New York, returning late Wednesday evening. The show needed me there Aug 30th by 7am, and I had to stay an extra day in case I didn't get onto a show on Aug 30th, I would be on a show taped Aug 31. Next, I called my girlfriend Crystal and asked her if she wanted to come with me to New York. I only had a one-way fare left to redeem, so she'd have to buy the one-way trip back, but that would be her only expense. Next, I booked the hotel room at the hotel the show has a discount with. It was still a bit pricey in my opinion - but this WAS Manhattan after all. Crystal bought her ticket and all was set.

Meanwhile, I flaked on getting the required signed contracts and filled-out questionnaires to the producers on time. They told me to fax it by Friday Aug 12. On Sunday, August 14, I frantically finished all the paperwork and faxed everything the next day - wondering if they played everything letter-of-the-law. Could I be bumped for my flakiness? Nah, all was well (whew!). On omen for what was to come? Don't be ridiculous, there are no such things as omens.

A Man's Got To Know His Limitations

In the days leading up to the trip, the most often question asked of me was "how are you preparing". How does one prepare for a general-knowledge trivia game? I can't imagine. A co-worker suggested I start memorizing Wikipedia. Hmmm... Ultimately, I knew that I had 42 years of preparation and that would have to suffice. I DID, however, have a strategy.

The worst mistake I saw people make on the show was hubris. They get a question of which they think they might know the answer, and in a rush of adrenaline decide "I came here to play the game" in a hopeful effort to guess their way into more money.

Bad idea! Too often, it was a losing idea.
I borrowed my strategy from the plot theme of the Dirty Harry movie "Magnum Force" - A Man's Got To Know His Limitations.
My strategy was to only answer questions when I was 100% sure of the answer. If I had ANY doubts, I had to use the lifelines and then when those ran out - walk away. That seemed to be the way to go.

White Knuckles

Our flight was on Monday August 29. Crystal isn't too keen on flying. I paid a small fee to upgrade our Southwest tickets so we'd board earlier and be assured of sitting together.
She white-knuckled it to New York. Well, it least she was sharing in my nervousness. The closer we got to New York, the more apprehensive I became. I also resigned myself to the situation and decided to just let things happen as they would and not worry about anything.
Ha. Nice thought, sporto.

When we landed at LaGuardia, the first thing I noticed was what a complete dump of an airport it was. Even the old terminal in Detroit was nicer. Cincinnati's non-Delta terminal is nicer. I expected better from New York.

Hopped a cab to our hotel in the Upper West Side of Manhattan - The Lucerne. Nice place. Crystal and I unpacked then went out to check out the neighborhood. We decided to walk to the ABC Studios where the taping took place just to see if it was practical to walk or if the next day we'd have to cab it. 201 w. 79th st to 7 West 66th Street was about a mile away. Not bad. Back to the hotel and then time for dinner. One look at the prices for the room service food and we decided to find cheaper eats. Crystal stayed in the hotel while I walked to a place we saw called Big Nick's on 71st street. Nice place.

The Day Arrives - Comedy Ensues

I had to be at the studio by 7am on Tuesday August 30th. In order to save some money and walk out some anxiety, I had decided to walk to the studio. Unfortunately I was running late. I grabbed the change of clothes for the show and walked briskly out of the hotel. About 1/4 of the way there as I briskly walked south down Columbus Avenue, I got a flat tire. The sole on my right shoe separated from the show by about 90%. Only a 1/2 inch of the sole near the toe was still attached to the shoe. Um, okay...this is weird...what to do. I had to walk at a slow limp hoping the damn thing wouldn't totally come off. These being the ONLY shoes I brought, I could not discard the sole. Taking them off and walking barefoot was not an option based on the condition of the sidewalk. It's now 6:40am and there's very little traffic down Columbus. Any taxi I can see is not empty. I'm starting to panic. I will be late. Five minutes later I hail an empty taxi. It will be very close. We arrive at the studio, I get out and limp to the door where two Producers are waiting. "John?" they ask - betraying the fact that I am last to arrive. "Yes," I reply, "um, I blew a tire on the way here." I pointed to my shoe and asked if I could get tape to fix it. No problem. Later, they give me black gaffers tape - thin, but like a fabric tape. Worked like a charm and hopefully unnoticeable. An omen for what was to come? Please…

Hurry Up And Wait

Inside, all the contestants had to leave their cell phones in a communal cell phone bucket and we had a locker to put anything else. From that point on we were closely monitored by at least two Contestant handlers. Usually it was Eliana and Anita, and they were awesome. There was no TV or books or magazines in the Green Room, and pretty much we all just conversed as we waited to be called. I had a little hiccup with one of the forms I brought, but after a frantic call to my company's HR person I was able to resolve the issue.

They tape 5 episodes in a day and I think taping started at around 11am. There were a few people held over from the previous day so it was obvious that we would not be called for the first show at least. While the studio audience was filing in, the new contestants for the day were given a pep talk from the Supervising Producer ("Don't even try to cheat. It's a federal law. If you get caught even trying to cheat, you'll be in deep trouble") and then a tour of the set - including a chance to answer a test question. I completely messed up my test question. Wonderful. One of my fellow contestants - Jangela (who coincidentally was on the same show I was) switched phones with me so we could
take pictures of each other.

Back upstairs while the rest of the studio audience filed in. Crystal got to the studio around 10am.
Meanwhile, my anxiety was building. When that happens, I start to withdraw and internalize. I was determined not to allow that, so I made sure to be involved in the conversations in the green room. All the other contestants were nice people. Not a douchebag in the bunch (unless it was me, but I doubt it). Sandwiches for lunch as the first, then second show was taped. The hold-overs were now exhausted and with the third show taped, our group started to be called. As one was called down, two were put on-deck.

Bring Me My Brown Pants!

After the third episode of the day was taped, the crew broke from a one-hour lunch. At that time, Three of us were summoned downstairs for some prep-work. We got mic'd and listened as someone entertained the crowd during the break. A bit of a pep talk from another awesome producer named Jordan ("Crystal is doing fine, she is hilarious!) who indirectly told me that Crystal was starting to freak out a bit about being on-camera. LOL. Jordan also told me that Meredith would bring up my music hobby and that I could mention the songs "I Wish My Girlfriend Was As Dirty As My Car" and "I Accidentally Wrote A Country Song' but that mentioning "Asshole Cabbie" would not be appropriate.

As we were sent back upstairs, I couldn't help but remember the old joke:

There was a treasure ship on its way back to port. About halfway there, it was approached by a pirate, skull and crossbones waving in the breeze. "Captain, what do we do?" asked the first mate. "First mate," said the captain, "go to my cabin, open my sea chest, and bring me my red shirt!" The first mate did so. Wearing his bright red shirt, the captain exhorted his crew to fight. The crew, emboldened by their fearless captain, fought heroically, and managed to defeat the pirates, though they took many casualties. That night, the survivors had a great celebration. The first mate asked the captain the secret of his bright red shirt. "It's simple, first mate. If I am wounded, the blood does not show, and the crew continues to fight without fear."
A week passed, and they were nearing their home port, when suddenly the lookout cried that ten ships of the enemy's armada were approaching! "Captain, we're in terrible trouble, what do we do?" The first mate looked expectantly at the heroic Captain. "First mate," said the captain," bring me my brown pants!"

The Fog Rolls In

Jangela went downstairs as the next contestant and as I waited, things started to get slower and my mind began to cloud up. Oh, shit. I feared that I would forget the names of my own damn songs and began repeating them to myself. Oh, shit. The room felt smaller.
Then I was called, and snapped out of it. As we walked down, the excitement set in. This is it! Stop for a little touch-up on the makeup and then shuttled on-stage. I didn't know how Jangela did, but rather than starting with me out of a commercial break, I was positioned on stairs and would walk to the podium to start the game. This was a bit of a bummer, as that mean we would just start into the game and not have time for a formal introduction. Darn. Meredith Vieira was very nice (kiss-kiss) and asked me how to pronounce my last name.

I took my place on the stairs, watched the floor manager who would signal me and took a deep breath as the crowd of 200 whipped into a frenzy.

Tomorrow: The Game is Afoot!
Watch the show today!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire - The Audition

I will be appearing on tomorrow's (September 27th, 2011) original episode of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire".
In Chicago, the show airs at 4pm followed by a repeat episode at 4:30.
This is the story of how I came to be on WWTBAM.

At some point in June or July, I heard that there was going to be an audition call for the game show "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" at the Arlington Part Race Track. I probably heard it on WGN-TV and it was probably reported by Dean Richards. Not sure exactly since I don't watch much local news anymore. Still, I knew that I had the day off on Friday, July 15th, so I decided to try and make the auditions. I do remember auditioning for the show once was either before or during the show's first season in syndication and I didn't get past the first round.

On July 15th, They were going to start taking people at 7am, so I decided it was best to show up very early - 6am when the website said they would allow people to form a line. On Thursday night I set my alarm clock for 5:15 and on Friday morning I got up around 5:45.

Damn! I was late! ...well...later than I wanted to be. Laying in bed, very groggy, I thought about it and decided that sleep would be better. Then I realized I'd kick myself if I didn't go. So I got up, took a quick shower and was out of the house a little past 5. Traffic was better than expected and I got to Arlington Park by 6:45am and stood at the end of a very long line.

My Facebook / Twitter posts
- Feeling foolish, standing in a very loooong line next to a horseracing track. - July 15 at 6:51am
- Worst part of standing on line - having to listen to inane people who won't shut up. For even a minute. Where's my gun? - July 15 at 7:23am
- Intimidated. Guy in front of me obviously knows he is the smartest person in the room. Also funniest. Also has gas. - July 15 at 7:39am
- Going to be in 2nd group testing for here at 6:30...will get into the test at 8:30. Sweet. - July 15 at 7:45am

While in line, we were told that they could take about 390 people at a time. Group one was at 7:30, they would have 2 more morning groups then after lunch one more group. Even though the line was long, it apparently wasn't THAT long and by 7:45, I was inside the facility. The line passed by WGN's Ana Belaval, who had set up with a cameraman to interview people in line for the WGN Morning Zoo show. I had decided that if she picked me to talk with, I would ask her if she was from Puerto Rico because when she started at WGN in 2005 (and I was still watching their Morning Show), she seemed to include that tidbit in every. single. live shot she did(!) Luckily, my spot in line flew past her.

Meanwhile, I had to put up with an assortment of annoying people around me as I stood in line. There was the guy who knew everything and treated the audition as a formality. And I'm pretty sure he had gas. There were also the women who didn't know each other before getting in line, yet they became fast friends. I theorized that they became friends so quickly because none of them seemed to ever stop talking and their volume level was generally at 11. Lucky for me that when we got inside the building, they decided to stop singing TV show theme songs off-key and with incorrect lyrics.

At about 9:00, the line started moving. We went up 2 levels to an open area where chairs were set up. We all got a Millionaire T-Shirt and a Millionaire pencil. Yay! It was there where we all took a 30-question multiple-choice test. We had 10 minutes to finish. The guy who knew everything was sitting next to me, and he finished in 8 minutes. I finished in 9 minutes, amazed that the last question was something I did not know until I heard it earlier that week - What is Katy Perry's real name (
Kate Hudson). We turned in the ScanTron tests and waited to see if our number would be called to advance to the next round.

As the Associate Producers were grading the tests in the back, people around me started talking about some of the questions. I immediately figured out that I had missed at least 3 questions. Surely I did not score high enough. Minutes later, they started calling out numbers and mine was the third one called. Wow. I think there was about 25-30 people selected, and the rest were sent home. I accurately figured that once we passed the test, it was all about personality and enthusiasm. Sure enough, I sat down with an Associate Producer who looked over the questionnaire we filled out and asked me about myself.

"So, tell me about your job as an Account Service Rep," she said. No way was that interesting, so I steered her away. "I work for a media research company, basically training people on software and troubleshooting problems," I replied. "My job's not too exciting, but my songwriting hobby keeps me sane." "What kind of songs do you write," she asked - not knowing she fell into my cunning trap. "I am known for catchy tongue-in-cheek songs. I have one song called 'I Wish My Girlfriend Was As Dirty As My Car' and another called 'I Accidentally Wrote A Country Song'." At that point, she laughed and emphatically wrote something on my application, told me to sit on the side until another Producer called me. As I did, I noticed that about half did not get told to sit on the side and wait - instead told they'd be contacted if they were on the show and sent home. The guy who knew everything bid me adieu as he left.

Facebook post

- Holy crap...passed the test...passed the interview. Waiting for an on-camera interview! - July 15 at 10:19am

The next short interview was with the show's Supervising Producer (Did not know his role until I saw him again on taping day). He has a home video camera set up on a tripod and asked a few personal questions. "Personality!" I kept thinking. I smiled and was animated and tried again to steer the conversation to music. He seemed to like me and told me to sit in a chair for the next interview. Once again, I saw people leave who he was weeding out.

Facebook / Twitter post

- Holy crap...interview #2 @MillionaireTV !!!! #GiantButterflies - July 15 at 10:28am

Next interview is the final interview - in a room with a professional camera set up and an interviewer asking questions. They told me they were taping it for the Producers in New York to evaluate, but I think this one was to tell how photogenic I am because I was a complete idiot.

Facebook / Twitter post

- Oh no, the butterflies in my stomach are vomiting!!!!! @MillionaireTV - July 15 at 11:05am

I stayed around to film some stuff for promos, then they told me and 6 others that we could leave and we would get a card in the mail within 2 weeks telling us if we were to be in the contestant pool. If we were in the pool, then we would be in the pool for 2 years but with no guarantee we'd be on the show - and there was a chance we would not be contacted.

Facebook / Twitter posts

- Arlington Park playing "Let the day begin" by The Call when they open the doors. Very cool! - July 15 at 11:17am
- Okay...made it thru the Millionaire auditions. Within the next 2 weeks I will find out if I am in the contestant pool or not. Fingers X'd!!!!! - July 15 at 11:40am

On July 24th, I got
THIS postcard that said I was in the contestant pool:

Very cool.

Facebook / Twitter posts

- I made it into the "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" contestant pool! Giggidy-Giggidy-Giggidy-Goo! - July 25
- If I appear on "Millionaire", instead of the "Jump The Question" lifeline I'll lick my lips then tell Meredith I want to "Jump The Host". - July 29 at 4:55pm

The call came on August 9th:

Facebook post

- Wow, that was quick! I just got the call.
Have to be in New York City on August 30th for the taping.
I'M GONNA BE ON "WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE"!!!! - August 9 at 5:54pm

..and just like that - less than 1 month after the audition - I made plans to travel to New York City (they don't fly you in or put you up - you have to pay for all that yourself) for an August 30th taping of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire"!