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Ten-year-old Tucker Warner of Spotsylvania is youngest contestant on 'Jeopardy!' Kids' Week, which airs tonight through Friday
Ten-year-old Tucker Warner of Spotsylvania is youngest contestant on 'Jeopardy!' Kids' Week, which airs tonight through Friday

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Date published: 5/3/2004

By LISA CHINN

"THIS IS 'JEOPARDY!'"

Announcer Johnny Gilbert's made-for-television voice boomed through Washington's DAR Constitution Hall.

Ten-year-old Tucker Warner of Spotsylvania County looked pensive, his name scrawled in white letters across the bright blue screen in front of him.

The game show's latest Kids' Week series, which features contestants ages 10 to 12, was filmed in Washington last month. It airs tonight through Friday at 7:30 p.m. on ABC.

Tucker, a fifth-grader at Grymes Memorial School in Orange County, was the only 10-year-old competitor.

"He's tiny and he's Disney cute," said "Jeopardy!" promotions manager Grant Loud.

Days before the show was taped, Tucker, who is in his school's gifted and talented program, said he expected a close race, but wasn't sure about his chances of winning.

"I know I'm going up against 11- and 12-year-olds from all over the country," he said.

Area residents can find out how well he did Wednesday, when he faces off against 11-year-old Okey Chikezie of Egg Harbor, N.J., and 12-year-old Leatrice Ann Potter of Olney, Ill.

Unlike adult winners, who go on to compete again, children play only one game. But no one goes home empty-handed.

Third-place finishers win $1,000. Second-place nets $2,000. Winners of each game get $10,000, or the amounts of their final scores, whichever is greater.

"I'm hoping for a million, but I can't get that," said Tucker, who imagined using the loot to splurge on a PlayStation 2. His parents, Lisa and David Warner, who appear on screen when Tucker answers clues correctly, said they'd push for a contribution to his college fund, instead.

"They're always fun to be with," host Alex Trebek said of the younger-than-usual contestants. "They're cute, they're bright and they're always funny."

The five-show series was filmed in a single day, with Trebek magically appearing in a fresh suit before each taping.

The set was a replica of the Lincoln Memorial, with "Honest Abe" grasping a red-tipped Jeopardy buzzer in one stiff hand. A map of the United States shone on a set of columns that stood behind the contestants.

Bright lights, giant TV screens and applause-catching microphones were strategically strewn around the room. And Trebek reminded the audience to refrain from blurting out answers as they do at home.


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