For anyone who is nervous about appearing on TV, Springtown High School senior Chandler King has a piece of advice.
“Just smile and always remember that you're on camera,” King said with a laugh.
This is something that King knows from experience.
Back in August, the 17-year-old filmed his episode on the trivia game show “Spectrum News Challenge,” which aired a few weeks ago, in the Spectrum News studio in Dallas. He was selected for the competition after he saw a commercial for it and decided to apply last spring.
The trivia show pitted a team of three Texas high school students against three New York high school students.
The contest happened in four rounds, with the first round consisting of rapid-fire true-or-false questions about weather, multiple choice questions on U.S. presidents in Round 2 and geography-related questions in Round 3. In Round 4, the final question about ballet was delivered by Debbie Allen from “Grey’s Anatomy.”
In the first two rounds, Texas maintained the lead, but New York sailed ahead in Round 3. Luckily, Texas recovered in the final round by correctly answering the final question identifying the first Black principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre (Misty Copeland).
This question was the toughest for King, he said. Luckily, his team guessed correctly, sending their final score up by 500 points to crush their New York competitors. The Texas team won against New York, 860-410.
“It was good to win,” King said. “We were down. We were all worried that we would lose that one, but we didn’t.”
The competition tested the random knowledge of its participants, and King prepared by being well-read and tuning into some classic game shows.
“Sometimes I watch some of the trivia game shows like ‘Jeopardy’ and occasionally ‘Wheel of Fortune,’ too, and I also like to read a lot, too, so I felt that that also helped (me) prepare,” he said.
King felt like he contributed knowledge of history and geography to his team, even though he faltered on a question about the length of the Panama Canal.
“Distance is not one of my strong suits,” he said, laughing again.
King’s mother, Mary King, said she thought he did great on the show.
“I wasn’t able to be there the day he filmed, and I was extremely nervous for him since we weren’t sure what exactly to expect,” she said. “None of us had been able to find a taping of the show to preview, so before he left that morning, I told him to just have fun with it since it’s very rare that an experience like this comes along. As soon as he was done filming, he sent me a message saying that they were headed back home and that he had had a blast. At that point, I was like … OK, it’s over, all went well, and now we can relax.”
All the Texans won $500 gift cards, which Chandler said he’ll put toward college expenses, particularly textbooks. He wants to attend an Ivy League school, particularly Yale University, and major in political science. His end goal is to earn a law degree and become a prosecutor.
“I just had an interest in politics, and I wanted to make a difference in people's lives, so I figured I'd do that in law, probably being a prosecutor,” Chandler said.
Chandler’s big takeaway from being on the show was “teamwork makes the dream work” and recounted how he collaborated with his team of fellow Texans as well as the producers and technicians on set.
Aside from the winnings, Chandler said he learned about how TV shows work behind the scenes and enjoyed watching the crew produce the game show episode on set. He recalled joking around and having fun with his team and the producers between filming segments.
Chandler’s mother, Mary, said the experience allowed him to take a risk and seize an opportunity.
“I feel like this experience reminded him that you never know what can happen unless you go for it,” Mary said. “He wasn't sure what would happen when he applied, but we told him, if they ask for an interview, that's OK, and if they don't, that's OK, too. At least you know that you tried. He's kind of experiencing the same nervousness with college applications right now so we try to put him at ease by joking with him that no matter what happens, he'll always have Spectrum News Challenge.”
Chandler was excited to be on TV and would consider doing it again. He did learn that TV production comes with its fair share of technical difficulties. One of the issues he mentioned was getting the earpieces – which is how the team heard their questions and instructions from the Los Angeles studio – to work and fit properly.
Chandler, who serves as SHS Student Council president among other activities, would recommend that more of his high school peers participate in the Spectrum News Challenge.
This is a sentiment that he shares with his mother.
“I absolutely would recommend other Springtown High Schoolers to apply,” Mary said. “It's good for us to get out of our comfort zone every once in a while. It's a great way to meet other people. Chandler got to meet students from all over Texas and he got to know Sofie and Carter (his teammates) before they met in person. Plus, regardless of winning or losing, competing in something is always fun.”
Check out Chandler King’s appearance on “Spectrum News Challenge” here: spectrumlocalnews.com/tx/austin/SNchallenge/2022/11/15/spectrum-news-challenge-new-york-vs-texas-111622