Alabaster family to appear on game show

From left, Alabaster residents Molly, John, Amber and Rand Willis participated in a game show in Hollywood over the summer. (Contributed)

From left, Alabaster residents Molly, John, Amber and Rand Willis participated in a game show in Hollywood over the summer. (Contributed)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

When Alabaster resident John Willis and his family heard their names announced at a recent filming of the game show “Family Game Night,” they couldn’t believe their luck.

“There were about 250 people in attendance and we got selected out of that pool,” Willis said. “For us, we had to overcome the nervousness of ‘Hey, I’m on camera.’”

After speaking with the show’s producer, the Willis family quickly shook the TV jitters and went on to compete in an oversized version of the Yahtzee board game.

When all was said and done, the family walked away from the filming with a prize pack and a once-in-a-lifetime story to tell their friends when they returned.

Competing in a nationally televised game show wasn’t originally on the Willis family’s vacation plans last summer, but a chance connection with the show’s producer changed things.

“We actually took our family out west for vacation last summer and we saw the show would be filming in Hollywood,” Willis said. “Someone told the producer that we were from Alabama, and the producer said his son was going to the University of Alabama.

“We got into the studio audience, but we didn’t know we would be selected until our names showed up on the screen,” Willis said.

Willis, his wife Amber – a math and science teacher at Thompson Intermediate School – and the couple’s twins, Rand and Molly, competed in the huge game of Yahtzee.

Attending the filming gave the Willis family a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to produce a nationally televised game show.

“It took them over six hours to film a one-hour show,” Willis said with a laugh.

The episode of Family Game Night is scheduled to air at 9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18 on the HUB Network.

“It was interesting to be a part of that,” Willis said. “We know we will be on the show, but we don’t know which footage they are going to use.”