I concluded my conversation with Nancy Duran with a trivia question: What year did North Tarrytown officially change its name to Sleepy Hollow? She got it wrong, but was close. (Duran said 1998; the answer is 1996).
But close won't cut it on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire"!
Duran went to try out for the game show “on a fluke,” she said, when a friend's visiting mom was going to audition and encouraged Duran to join her. Duran didn't exactly practice for her role, she said, as it's “hard to prepare for any question they might ask you.”
She did practice a bit on the show's Facebook page where they have a game you can play against others. But she “didn't do that well on that.”
None of this necessarily means that Duran may not secretly already be a "Millionaire" winner.
Much like the happily (or not) engaged couples that leave the exotic cliffsides of whatever country at the end of the "Bachelor"/"Bachelorette" seasons, Duran was not allowed to disclose to anyone the outcome of her episodes until they aired. She was also encouraged not to do anything drastic if she won like sell/buy a home or...in her case, redo the kitchen.
“Oh, our kitchen is pretty bad,” Duran sighed. “It's been our dream to redo it since we moved here four years ago. It's so bad that one day my son was opening a cabinet and the door fell off... The faucet is leaking from a crevice in the center.”
As a former chef and now freelance food writer whose ambition is to start a cooking school out of her own home, Duran certainly looks forward to remodeling.
In addition to me, she's kept the truth of the show's outcome from her own children, twin five-year-old boys who would tell the "entire world" if they knew, Duran said. Luckily, her husband was there for the show's taping so at least she can share with him. Maybe we should try him...
Win or lose, Duran said doing the show was “an awesome experience.” Contrary to what one might assume, the show's producers, she said, “are so wanting you to win. 'If you win, that's great for us.'” Duran also enjoyed bonding with host , about Rivertown life. “She's so warm. And beautiful. Just a normal person.”
Times have changed and so has the show. No phoning a friend anymore for help; in the age of smartphones it would be too easy to cheat. And rather than the buildup in past seasons to the hard stuff, any question can be the tough question, regardless of the dollar amount. The dollar amount for her shows was potentially very high: Duran played during "Double Your Money" week, when it's possible to win up to $50,000 from one question. Not bad for trivia.
“Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” airs Tuesday and Wednesday, April 17 and 18, at 12:30 p.m. on ABC, though the Durans will be having a Wednesday night viewing party with their friends in their home by way of DVR.
Will she be cooking for her guests? “No! I just did Easter for 20 people. This will be a beer and pizza kind of thing.” Save that for the new kitchen.