A local man’s dreams came true when he was selected to be a contestant on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”
Kierre Daniels, 36, of Schenectady, a producer for the state Senate Office of Media Relations, said he has wanted to be on the show since it first aired. He went to New York City three of the last four years to audition and either didn’t pass the test or didn’t make it to the contestant pool.
This year, however, was his chance. Daniels said he received an invitation to be a contestant on his voice mail in September.
The episode with him as a contestant will air at 2:30 p.m. today on WNYT, Channel 13.
“You don’t get many opportunities to live out your dreams, and this was one of those opportunities,” he said.
Daniels said he broke out his Trivial Pursuit cards and did some simulated shows using his home version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” But what really prepared him for the show was reading.
Amy Daniels said her husband is a voracious reader and has been reading the newspaper since he was a child.
“He’s someone who remembers facts. He remembers everything he reads. He always knows these obscure things that are going on in the world,” she said.
Daniels said his position as a producer for the state Senate’s Office of Media Services has prepared him for the experience in front of the camera.
Daniels puts together various programs for state senators to air on their local public access channels and is the co-host and producer of a 15-minute weekly program called “One New York.”
“Doing those shows helped me be calm and relaxed when I got down there. I didn’t notice the cameras, and I was able to block out the audience and focus on [host] Meredith [Vieira] and the game,” Daniels said.
Amy Daniels accompanied her husband to New York City for the taping in October and acted as his cheerleader, Kierre Daniels said.
The couple had to leave behind their 6-year-old daughter, Zoe, much to her displeasure, Kierre Daniels said.
Zoe wasn’t left out of the experience, however. She surprised her dad with a video on the air, wishing him good luck.
“She’s a diva,” Daniels said of his daughter. “She’s a ham and she finally got to ham it up in front of everyone. She was in her element.”
Daniels said he and his wife discussed their strategy before he was in the hot seat. Contestants earn money for each correctly answered trivia question. Contestants are given four possible answers and can use three friends on standby — called “lifelines” — for help on questions they may not have the answer to.
“We said, ‘Don’t be afraid to use lifelines when you’re not sure,’ ” Amy Daniels said. “We’ve seen so many people get something wrong because they are trying to save a lifeline.”
“The main thing, though, was to have fun,” Kierre Daniels said. “I thought, ‘No matter what happens I’m going to have fun because this is something I’ve always wanted to do.’ ”
Daniels said he was sworn to secrecy about his outcome, and “wanted to keep the suspense intact.”
Daniels said the experience was everything he expected it to be.
“I’ve had a lot of really cool things happen to me, like getting married and having a daughter, but yeah, this is really cool,” he said.
Amy Daniels said her husband is one of those people who has dreams and actually makes them happen.
“This is another cool experience that everyone wishes they could do and he’s done,” Amy Daniels said. “We’re so proud of him.”