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Behind the Scenes at Jeopardy: 'Power Players' Edition

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For the last 28 years, Jeopardy has been one of America's favorite game shows.

It recently taped some shows in Washington, D.C. and WBOY was there, for a behind-the-scenes look at the third ever "Power Players" edition.

It brings people who make, report or shape the news onto the show, but for repeat guests like Hardball's Chris Matthews, prior experience doesn't mean he has an edge.

"I've done it twice before, with mixed results," Matthews said. "I won the first time, a close second the last time."

In the week's first episode, he takes on CNN's Lizzie O'Leary.

"She's pretty scary here, Lizzie O'Leary is pretty scary," Matthews said before the show. "She knew some that I didn't know."

"I've been watching and madly clicking with a ball point pen, which is the closest I could come to simulating a buzzer," said Lizzie O'Leary, CNN Correspondent.

They're joined by former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

"I downloaded the iPad Jeopardy app, but that made me really nervous when the voice come on and said 'This is Jeopardy' and I thought oh, God this is serious," Gibbs said.

They compete on a special set in front of a packed house in the Daughters of the American Revolution's Constitution Hall. It creates a different atmosphere from the usual California location.

"In our studio in Culver City it seats about 250 people so it's nice and compact and controlled," said Harry Friedman, Executive Producer of Jeopardy. "This really opens everything up for us to be able to play in front of a couple thousand people but also especially in Washington DC where Jeopardy seems to be just a perfect fit for the city."

Each contestant chooses the charity that will take home their winnings. Gibbs chose the Pine Hills Literacy Project, which promotes educational opportunities in his hometown of Auburn, AL. Matthews supported scholarships for La Salle College High School, a private school and his alma mater near Philadelphia. O'Leary also stayed close to home, supporting 826DC. It's a non-profit in the DC area that supports creative writing.

That, and the chance for some bragging rights, make it a friendly but fierce competition.

"I want to cream Robert Gibbs and Chris Matthews," O'Leary said before the match.

Crews were only allowed to record during the practice rounds- and the contestants do well. There's still a sense that the pressure isn't really on, until Alex Trebek takes the stage.

"We try to write specialized material for the participants in these tournaments, but I prepare by going over the material two or three times instead of just once or twice, because I don't want to mess up in front of such a big audience," said Trebek, Jeopardy's host.

He's not the only one.

"A lot more nervous than at any time having ever walked into the briefing room," Gibbs said. "When I was up there, I didn't have two other people playing against me, so there's that. The good news is, Alex doesn't have follow up questions so that's probably a help. But yeah, this is a lot more nerve-wracking than even a bad day at the white house."

So how do you think these Power Players will do? Log on to Jeopardy's Facebook page and vote in a poll, and of course watch jeopardy tonight on WBOY at 7 p.m.

You can find more photos from the day on Stacy's Facebook page.

We'll have another behind-the-scenes look Tuesday.