UM freshman Becky Buran, an Indiana native double majoring in media management and sociology, played for big money on the syndicated game show Hollywood Squares as part of their fifth-annual college tournament.
Buran was one of 14 students from colleges and universities throughout the country. During her game, she competed against a student from Emerson University in Boston.
“The worst part was the practice session the day before the game,” Buran said. “I did so bad, I couldn’t even play tic-tac-toe.”
Buran’s show aired Feb. 21 on CBS 4, with her winning over $11,000 cash and an eight-country tour of Europe.
“I’m taking the trip this August with my boyfriend,” Buran said.
Among the stars that were on the show with Buran were American Idol’s judge Simon Cowell as Center Square, Joan Rivers and Carmen Electra.
“It was a really fun experience; they sent me out to California for four days,” Buran said. “They put me up in a hotel and everything.”
Buran recalls the audition-process.
“I went to the auditions at UM to get on the show. I had to take a test and play the game and they took pictures,” Buran said. “We were judged on personality and our knowledge of the game.”
Buran says she almost didn’t make it onto the show because she was out of town when representatives called to let her know she had been selected.
“They called me right before Thanksgiving and left a message, but my roommate wrote down the wrong number so I was trying to call them back,” Buran said. “They finally called me back again that night – they were about to call the back-up.”
Buran says that her mom was very excited to watch the taping of the show.
“My mom works at a hospital and her boss rented out an auditorium for all of her coworkers and bought them all lunch,” Buran said. “It was like a big screening.”
“It was strange to see myself on TV. I was more nervous for the airing then I was for the taping,” Buran said. “I watched the show with my boyfriend and his roommate. We had a little party.”
Buran recommends that anyone interested try out for the show next year.
“The people from Hollywood Squares are coming back next year for auditions,” she said. “I recommend everyone to go for it – it was so much fun and it’s easy money.”
So what is Buran going to do with the money?
“I’m going to start furnishing an apartment for next year and of course go shopping – I’m going to buy lots of shoes,” Buran said. “And I’m going to save a lot, too.”
The contestants on the Hollywood Squares college tournament with the four highest scores in the preliminary rounds will move on to the semi-finals, which will air on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. To find out if Buran is one of those students, catch Hollywood Squares on CBS 4 at 7:30 p.m.
Leigha Taber can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org