Local Student to Appear On Celebrity Game Show

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Hollywood can be a pretty cutthroat place, but UC Berkeley freshman Woody Hartman is not nervous about taking on the stars tonight on CBS' Hollywood Squares.

His appearance is part of the show's annual college tournament that runs Feb. 11-22. The tournament features students from 14 colleges throughout the United States ranging from the University of Miami to UCLA.

Hartman decided to audition for the show when his friend suggested the idea on a "slow Friday" as a way to "waste an afternoon."

The two spent their afternoon auditioning for the game show. The audition included a written test of true-or-false questions, followed by a mock game.

Hartman got the call confirming his spot on the show shortly before Thanksgiving.

"I couldn't believe it," Hartman said. "I was hoping that I wasn't hallucinating."

Hartman will challenge a student from the University of Pennsylvania at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Though it appears to be a simple game, "Squares" is much more challenging than it seems on television screens, Hartman said.

"I have much more profound respect (for game shows)-there's much more strategy involved," he said. "They throw in a lot of twists that throw you," Hartman said.

Not only do the contestants have to contend with the intricacies of tic-tac-toe and the tricks and bluffs of the panel of stars, they must also learn the technicalities of making good TV shows.

"They tell you when to clap, when to smile, and when to look excited," Hartman said. "I went there with the sole goal of not embarrassing myself or my school."

The show features a panel of nine stars including Whoopi Goldberg, the de facto center of both the show and the tic-tac-toe board.

"(Goldberg) is certainly a brilliant lady, very funny and extremely kind to all of us. She's certainly a lot shorter than I thought," Hartman said.

Hartman enjoyed bantering with panelists like Kermit the Frog and Cedric the Entertainer, but also appreciated the presence of Baywatch alums Carmen Electra and Gena Lee Nolin.

"You can't make girls like that ugly," he said.


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