Elizabeth Goss, of Pleasant Ridge, seen here with Alex Trebek, won nearly $7,000 in two episodes of the television game show "Jeopardy!" that aired Nov. 30 and Dec. 3.

Elizabeth Goss, of Pleasant Ridge, seen here with Alex Trebek, won nearly $7,000 in two episodes of the television game show "Jeopardy!" that aired Nov. 30 and Dec. 3.

Photo provided by Jeopardy Productions Inc.

Pleasant Ridge woman wins close to $7,000 on ‘Jeopardy!’

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published December 7, 2018


PLEASANT RIDGE — Elizabeth Goss has been an avid watcher of the game show “Jeopardy!” for years, often watching with some of her six children.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the Pleasant Ridge resident was able to watch herself compete on the show.

Goss appeared on the Nov. 30 and Dec. 3 episodes of the long-running game show, winning one day and coming in second on her last appearance, taking home a two-day total of $6,799.

Goss said she watches the show often with her kids, who had told her in the past that she should take the test to go on the show, and which she tried a couple of times. Earlier this year, in March, she decided to take the test again, and her 13-year-old daughter took the test for the teen competition.

It was in July that Goss heard back from “Jeopardy!” representatives, asking if she could audition. She did that same month, and she felt like it went pretty well.

“Everybody there is so smart and so interesting,” she said. “Everybody’s ready, and so you just have no idea. You’re in a room full of everyone who passed this really hard test.”

After waiting another two months, Goss heard in September that she had been chosen to compete on the show.

“I was speechless for a little while, which is pretty unusual,” she said. “Just sort of sheer excitement and terror at the same time. You just imagine yourself saying, like, the craziest thing out loud on national television.”

Goss traveled to Culver City, California, to film her first episode Oct. 10 at the Sony Pictures Studio lot. She said the experience was amazing, as well as a little intimidating.

“It’s all down to wagering,” she said. “I mean, the game is, you know, when you sit at home and watch, you think it’s what I know, it’s how much I know, but when you’re playing the game, you realize how much it’s just laying that money on the line and sort of thinking about what your opponents will do at the end of the game. It’s complicated.”

The close game that aired Nov. 30 came down to the Final Jeopardy question, which all the contestants got wrong, but the game still ended in Goss’ victory, and she won $4,799.

“When (host Alex Trebek) unveiled the (Final Jeopardy question), one person didn’t answer and then the guy in second place answered the same thing I did. I thought, ‘Well, if he doesn’t bet much, he’ll win.’ But he bet big, so he really went for it, and at that moment … I was having a hard time waiting for Alex Trebek to say that I had won before I sort of started smiling.”

Pleasant Ridge Mayor Kurt Metzger said in an email that he and the city are “extremely proud of Elizabeth.”

“Not only did she make herself and family proud, but she brought great excitement to Pleasant Ridge,” he said. “Who would ever expect a town of only 2,500 people to produce a Jeopardy champion? We may be small in number, but our residents never cease to impress me. Just one more reason to be proud to serve as PR Mayor!”

Because her first episode was the last one recorded in that day’s session, Goss had to wait until Oct. 30 to defend her crown, as the show had a long break in between tapings.

On her second and final episode, Goss competed in a high-scoring game that went down to Final Jeopardy again. While she got the question right and finished with $28,199, she fell just short of that episode’s winner, Dave Leffler, of Pittsburgh, whose final total was $33,801.

For her efforts that episode, Goss received $2,000, bringing her final winnings to $6,799.

“It was fantastic. It was so much fun,” she said of the entire experience. “The people at ‘Jeopardy!’ work hard to make it fun and not as stressful as it could be. And then the other contestants, it’s like a family. I’m friends with all of the people I was on with both weeks, and we talk and we connect on social media. It’s really wonderful.”

While she couldn’t interact much with host Alex Trebek, Goss said he was really nice and friendly throughout the show, to both the contestants and audience.

“He’s so nice with the audience. He answers questions and chats with the audience in between the rounds on ‘Jeopardy!’ when there’s commercial breaks. He spends time with the people in the studio, which is really, really nice,” she said.