PARKERSBURG — A Vienna native has made a name in the game show business.
Adam Nedeff, a graduate of Marshall University, left with two college friends for Los Angeles in 2007.
“I just went out there cold,” said Nedeff, who graduated from Parkersburg Catholic High School.
Nedeff said he was lucky as he was acquainted with Fred Wostbrock, the co-author of “The Encyclopedia of TV Game Shows” who had a collection of about 25,000 photos of game shows and hosts.
He got a message to Westbrock that he had around a dozen photos of Art Fleming, the first host of “Jeopardy,” when he made an appearance at Marshall. Westbrock was interested.
“I told him ‘you don’t have these,’” Nedeff said.
That connection got a season’s work on “Wheel of Fortune,” Nedeff said.
But when the work ended at the “Wheel of Fortune,” there was a dry spell for several years, said Nedeff.
So he decided to write books about game shows, focusing on stories and histories about the shows and biographies of the hosts.
Those areas were not being covered in other books, Nedeff said.
“There was a gap that hasn’t been filled,” he said.
His books were getting him noticed in the industry.
“I got my name out there,” Nedeff said.
Then one day a producer cold calls him and asks if he wants a job on “Idiotest,” a show on the Game Show Network.
“I’ve been working on game shows ever since,” he said.
His career started in graphics and art, as a question writer, a puzzle writer then as a researcher.
Nedeff mainly works as a researcher for questions and answers used on game shows. The aim of the researcher is to make sure the question is accurate, can’t be differently interpreted and has only one correct answer, he said.
Among the shows he has worked on include “Double Dare” on Nickelodeon, the “College Bowl” on NBC, “Master Minds” on the Game Show Network, “Mental Samurai” on the Fox Network, “Don’t” on ABC and “Hip Hop Squares” on VH1.
The length of each job varies, he said. Generally, the work is good for a season’s taping, about eight to nine weeks, Nedeff said.
Then it’s looking for another job, he said.
“It’s contract work,” Nedeff said.
Nedeff presently is working on several book projects about game show host Monty Hall, the host of “Let’s Make a Deal,” and a behind-the-scenes look at “The Gong Show.”
The rumors about Chuck Barris, the creator and host of “The Gong Show,” working for the CIA are wrong, Nedeff said.
“It’s not true,” he said.
Nedeff also is working with the Strong National Museum of Play at Rochester, N.Y., where a wing is being developed about game shows to be called the National Archives of Game Show History.
The research wing will include thousands of photos, documents, artifacts and props once used on game shows, Nedeff said.
Nedeff is the son of Roger and Linda Nedeff of Vienna. His brother, Aaron, is the chief of police in Marietta. Sister Sue Ellen Dooley lives in Virginia.
He graduated in 2001 from Parkersburg Catholic and in 2005 from Marshall.
Jess Mancini can be reached at [email protected]