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West Islip native four-time ‘Jeopardy!’ champ
Answer: This West Islip native is the newest “Jeopardy!” superstar.
Question: Who is Dan McShane?
McShane, a 24-year-old who now lives in Brooklyn, won for the fourth time in a row on the popular game show Wednesday night, and has amassed a total of $62,001 in the process.
McShane can thank, at least in part, sibling rivalry for the success. He regularly competed in quiz bowl competitions with brothers John, 26, and Kieran, 21, while attending St. Anthony’s High School in South Huntington, where he graduated in 2006.
“I’ve been taking the online test [for "Jeopardy!"] since I was in high school,” McShane said right after Wednesday’s show aired. “I did well enough to be invited to a live audition in New York City. I played mock games with other people and took a written test, and was lucky enough to get on the show.”
McShane taped the episodes early last November at the show’s California studio, and while he cannot divulge what will happen in subsequent episodes, the fun could go on for awhile. Undefeated “Jeopardy!” champs used to be limited to a five-episode run, but now they can play as long as they win. The record belongs to Ken Jennings, who went on a 74-show winning streak in 2004.
McShane is just happy he got past Monday’s show, his second, in which he and one of his opponents both whiffed on “Final Jeopardy!” but his counterpart wagered more cash. Wednesday night was a much more comfortable victory, as McShane bagged a cool $21,600, essentially putting the outcome out of reach after running the table early in “Double Jeopardy!” on the category “The De Niro Code.”
“It just so happened that I had seen all those movies that were in the category,” McShane said. “I remember after the show talking to one of the people I played against. He knew all the answers, too, but I was just faster on the buzzer than he was.”
McShane now works for website everydayhealth.com. At the time he taped the shows he was a game logger for MLB Network and MLB Productions, chronicling film for highlights. He figured sports would be one of his strongest subjects, but...
“I think I got every baseball question wrong,” he said.
He finds it “surreal” to be front-and-center on a show he’s watched since he was a kid. And although he displays an “aw, shucks” exterior with a skinny build and an even skinner tie on TV, his competitive nature comes out when talking about his brothers.
“I think they’re pretty jealous, but actually they’re taking it pretty well,” McShane said. “They’re handling it better than I would if the roles were reversed.”
McShane will defend his “Jeopardy!” title tonight at 7 on WABC-TV.
Above: West Islip native Dan McShane, right, stands next to "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek during his run as champion on the show.