Welcome back to part two of our interview with game show champ Brad Rutter, check out part one here. In part two, we find out how Brad thought he would stack up to Ken Jennings (who also competes in Grand Slam) and Brad’s future as a game show host…
B&C: You faced Ken in the Jeopardy Ultimate Tournament of Champions and in fact you won the Ultimate Tournament of Champions. But before you ended up participating in the tournament, how did you think you would have fared against him.?
Brad Rutter: Well, I guess the biggest advantage you have playing that many times is that you are playing against two people who have never played before and the buzzer timing is such a big part of Jeopardy that as you get more practice, you get better at it than the average person coming on cold. If I had to face Ken in the middle of his streak, when I hadn’t been on in about two or three years at that point it might have been a lot tougher. But then I kind of had an advantage when I played him as I had gone through the whole tournament and he hadn’t played in a year. It’s sort of like having your best stuff as a pitcher, when you’re throwing well and you’re in a groove, you are going to have an advantage, and it’s harder to do coming off cold.
Ken Jennings on Grand Slam.
B&C: I understand that you hosted a quiz show in Pennsylvania?
Rutter: I did!
B&C: Could you elaborate?
Rutter: It was called Inquizitive, and it was like College Bowl but for high school kids, so it was basically a high school quiz bowl show with the local Lancaster County high school quiz bowl teams with me as the host.
B&C: What were some of the questions that you would ask on the show?
Rutter: Just standard hard stuff that you would learn in high school. We actually did have math on the show, although a little bit less than you would get on a standard quiz bowl competition just because in my opinion math doesn’t work that great on TV. You get a lot of history, what’s the atomic number of helium, science, stuff like that, all sorts of academic subjects and I also threw a little bit of pop culture in there too, just because I think that makes it a little more fun for the viewer at home.
B&C: Were there any contestants that you had on that show where you thought ‘Man, I bet they would do great on Jeopardy?’
Rutter: Pretty much anybody who is good enough to be a pretty good high school quiz bowl player would probably be pretty good on Jeopardy, so I was kind of spoiled for people I saw, and I always told them, hey, if you are good enough to do pretty well at this then you are good enough to get on Jeopardy, so go ahead and try out, you never know what might happen. If you had told me I was going to be on Jeopardy, I would have thought I could probably do pretty well, but if you told me before I went on that I would end up doing as well as I did I would have said you were crazy. But I was always a fan of the show and I always wanted to get on and that’s why I did.
B&C: Did you enjoy hosting the show?
Rutter: Absolutely, that’s one of the great things about winning all of this money is that it kind of lets me chase the dream, and that’s why I am out here in LA, because I am trying to do something nationally.
B&C: So you are considering becoming a quiz show host as a career?
Rutter: Yes. Among other things, I think I would love to host a show on the History or the Discovery Channel as well.
Brad Rutter hosts his local game show Inquizitive.
B&C: What should a viewer try to take away from Grand Slam? What should they expect?
Rutter: I hope they take away the fact that they are looking at the best of the best game show contestants really going at each other. The cash prize isn’t the big draw for anybody here, I think most people on the show have won bigger prizes than the 100 grand that they are giving away but it’s really more bout pride and a passion for the competition as it were. People who love what they are doing, going at it full throttle, seeing who comes out on top giving their best.
B&C: Thanks for talking to me today.
Rutter: No problem, thanks for having me.
Be sure to check out Brad, Ken and 14 other top game show winners on Grand Slam, premiering on GSN August 4th at 7PM.
Photos: Jeffrey Neira/GSN