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Who Wants to Be a Millionaire auditions are tougher than they look

Tonya Jackson of Virginia Beach and Joel Galle of Orlando answer questions about movies and things they’d with them on a desert island, at 2007 auditions in Tampa.

MELISSA LYTTLE | Times

Tonya Jackson of Virginia Beach and Joel Galle of Orlando answer questions about movies and things they’d with them on a desert island, at 2007 auditions in Tampa.

The Who Wants to be a Millionaire crew is coming to Tampa Bay on Friday to audition for contestants.

Admit it, you're thinking to yourself right now: I wonder who my lifelines are going to be when I get on?

Think again, my friends.

When the show came through Tampa for auditions in July 2007, the same grand dreams popped into my head. Little did I realize how hard it is to land in that Hot Seat across from Meredith or Regis. The opportunity for failure loomed at every section of the audition — from the line to get in, to the personality quiz, to the actual knowledge test and to the personal interview.

I probably won't be showing up Friday morning at 7 at the St. Pete Times Forum to run this gantlet again. But if you're going, here's what you can expect (with a disclaimer that these shows are always changing up their rules and regs, so don't go screaming at someone if they don't do it just like this).

One quick piece of advice: If you are serious about getting on the show, plan to take the day off from work or at least have the boss okay your absence. It took me six hours from start to finish.

1. The Line

Since the auditions are only open from 7 to 11 a.m., getting there early is crucial. You can expect a line of hopefuls who have the same dreams as you, and not everyone is guaranteed to get in.

2. The personality survey

If they haven't changed their tryout, expect to answer a lot of questions meant to elicit a picture of what your personality might be like. (Or maybe it's a complete sham and they're just trying to mess with your mind.) As you ponder your answers, you find yourself trying to game the survey. "What would you do to make your friends laugh?" was one. Go with your gut, but definitely be thinking about what five items you'd bring to a deserted island.

3. The quizzes

Both are 40 questions. One revolves around movies and often requires putting them in chronological order. The other is a more general interest quiz. You don't have to pass both, but you'll feel a little more confident if you do. And did I mention that both are timed? And no, there are no lifelines.

4. The callback interview

Presuming you move on, you'll go back after 12:30 for a 30-second interview with a producer. They will take your snapshot with an instant camera to go with your other tests and surveys. At this point, you will feel like you're 99 percent there. And then the minutes tick by and your name isn't called and the hour gets later until at last it's just a few of you and the assistant producers are looking bored and you're wondering: Will I have a better chance with the guy in the glasses or the blond? And before you can decide, your name is called and you have to answer even more questions to help those producers MAKE THAT CONNECTION that gets you on the show. "What would you do with the money if you won?" No matter which answer you give, you will curse yourself and think you should have given the other one — especially when you hear the next contestant over easily laughing with their new producer/BFF.

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire at the St. Pete Times Forum (401 Channelside Drive in Tampa). They begin at 7 a.m. Friday; no one will be admitted before 6 a.m. Enter through the west entrance in front of Chrysler Jeep Plaza. The final group tests at 11 a.m. You must be 18 to audition. The show is also looking for engaged couples for a series of themed episodes. For disclaimers and more information, go to millionairetv.com and click on "Auditions."

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire auditions are tougher than they look 06/17/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 12:07pm]

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