WIMMERA TV viewers might have noticed a familiar face pop up on their screens this week.
Leigh Rogers – who grew up in the Wimmera and worked at the Mail-Times before moving to Melbourne five years ago – was a contestant on Channel Nine’s Millionaire Hot Seat on Tuesday.
He is no stranger to television, having featured as an extra on shows including Neighbours and Offspring.
Mr Rogers – a journalist with Tennis Australia – applied for Hot Seat thinking he had little chance of being selected.
But after completing an online application about a year ago, he was invited to audition.
“There we had to answer more questions, and the top scorers were invited to do a screen test with producers,” he said.
“I filmed my episode about six months later.
“It was a good surprise when I was selected. My mindset was I have nothing to lose, so why not take the chance.
“A friend did the show a few years ago and won $20,000 by answering one question.
“With the format of the show, sometimes all it takes is a bit of luck to get in the Hot Seat at the right time and win money.
“I didn’t win anything, but it was still a fun experience so I’m glad I did it.”
Mr Rogers said his time on the show was a blur.
“It is much easier watching it on television that’s for sure,” he said.
“On the day we were briefed by producers and visited the set before filming the episode to get familiar with it, but the first time we met Eddie McGuire was during the episode.
“When I got into the Hot Seat, I was so nervous.
“Eddie was super nice.
“It was a weird experience watching it back, because I was so nervous I could barely remember what had happened.”
Mr Rogers kept his appearance a secret from most of his family and friends.
“Only a few people knew I was going to be on, as I was scared it was going to be embarrassing,” he said.
“I was surprised how many people did see it – I was at work when the episode went to air and my phone was going crazy with messages and calls.
“My biggest fear was getting a question I should know wrong.
“When there was a tennis question during the fastest finger round my heart rate went through the roof. I knew the answer thankfully, because if I got that wrong I would never have lived it down.
“I did end up getting eliminated on a sports question unfortunately. The question was what year did Vancouver host the Winter Olympics. I went with 2006, but the answer was 2010.
“In my defence, I was working as a sports journalist at the Mail-Times at the time – so it was not something I was writing about or paying close attention to.
“If it had been a Summer Olympics or Commonwealth Games question I would have had no problem – I have great memories of covering them with Wimmera athletes such as Alethea Sedgman and Jason Niblett.”