Love of game shows helps Genesee Township teen Chad Mosher score the perfect job
Posted by Elizabeth Lowe | The Flint Journal July 26, 2008
<!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]-->GENESEE TOWNSHIP, Michigan -- Chad Mosher is bypassing the time-honored summer job tradition of mowing lawns and flippin' burgers.
High School graduate Chad Mosher works for PlayCafe.com, an online game show
filmed in California. The job is bringing Mosher closer to his lifelong dream of
becoming a game show host.
<!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]-->Mosher, 18, works for PlayCafe.com, an online game show filmed just outside San Francisco in Redwood City, Calif.
"It's the ultimate teen summer job," said Mosher, flashing a grin he hopes will become as familiar as Alex Trebek's double-breasted suits.
At 9 p.m. each Thursday, players from the U.S. to Australia log onto the interactive show, competing for honors and prizes such as $1,000 cash or a Wii game system.
Participants age 13 to infinity answer pop culture questions, predict poll results and wrestle with word and math games. There's only one rule: No online searches.
"Googling is cheating on PlayCafe," said Daniella Martin, the show's energetic host, for whom Mosher admits a long-distance infatuation.
"Who doesn't have a crush on her? It's a running theme, the joke is we're going to get married someday," said Mosher, blushing.
In reality, Mosher has never met Martin, nor any other staff member at PlayCafe, where Mosher works as a jack-of-all-trades employee.
He writes questions for some rounds, checks facts, monitors who's in the lead, uses the company credit card to purchase prizes and sends out awards, all from the comfort of his home.
Show co-owner Mark Goldenson sought parental permission to hire Mosher at 17 -- sight unseen -- based on show questions he submitted as a game participant.
Working for a game show has been a lifelong ambition for Mosher, who reported for Kearsley High School's K-News student broadcast before graduating this spring.
Mosher's fascination with game shows is rumored to have started at 3 days old.
"My mom said they brought me home from the hospital and I'd laugh and cry at the sound effects on 'Wheel of Fortune,'" Mosher said.
After the family transferred VHS movies to DVD, Mosher watched himself as a child as he hosted pretend game shows with mom Cathy.
"That's how she'd get me to learn things like my phone number," he said.
A fourth-grade spelling bee champion who was inspired by Nickelodeon game show reruns, Mosher said he coerced siblings Cody and Cheyenne, now 15 and 10, to play "Double Dare," omitting the show's trademark slime.
"I'd pour water on 'em if they got (answers) wrong," he said. "But it was 90 degrees outside so it was a good way to cool off."
By seventh grade, Mosher knocked out dozens of contenders to appear on a student episode of "Jeopardy," running away with a second-place title, $2,000 and a TiVo-enabled computer system. Bigger yet, Mosher met host and hero Trebek.
"For a couple years after that I was known as the Jeopardy kid. It put me in the public eye, you could say," said Mosher, who now plans to try out for "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?"
Mosher believes Play-Cafe's format of pairing participants with a live game show is the wave of the future, comparing the trend with the merging of music and television in the 1980s.
Could his job with PlayCafe springboard Mosher toward his goal of someday hosting his own game show?
"Definitely," said Goldenson. "He loves the genre, he's funny, he works hard. And now he has experience."
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