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Jeopardy!, that gameshow stalwart, got a bit of a shakeup on Friday.
Michael Pascuzzi of Orlando, Fla., came prepped with a proposal during the interview segment of the show, when host Alex Trebek typically introduces contestants to the audience by asking them a bit about themselves. Trebek claimed he had no prepared material to ask Pascuzzi. But Pascuzzi was ready for action.
“I just wanted to say one quick thing and ask Maria Shafer right there,” Pascuzzi said, pointing to his girlfriend in the audience, “if she would make me a winner today and marry me.”
She even responded in the form of a question. They truly are a match made in heaven! 💍💕 pic.twitter.com/se12NVG4m8— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) September 27, 2018
Pascuzzi and Shafer have been dating for 10 years, so, according to Pascuzzi, it wasn’t a huge surprise that he would propose at some point. But, according to ABC World News Tonight, the televised proposal was a spur-of-the-moment decision.
Shafer responded enthusiastically, saying, “Yes, of course.” Trebek joked that he was planning to leave the audience hanging by cutting to a commercial break before she could answer.
“That would be, what is yes,” Shafer jabbed back.
While Pascuzzi came in second Friday night, he won the hearts of Jeopardy! fans on Twitter.
🚨OMG A JEOPARDY CONTESTANT JUST PROPOSED TO HIS GIRLFRIEND DURING HIS LITTLE CHAT TIME🚨 this is exactly what I needed today!!— Rebecca Halpern (@beccakatharine) September 28, 2018
A contestant on Jeopardy just proposed to his girlfriend and I guess these are what my expectations are now— B (@nucleophilic) September 28, 2018
A jeopardy contestant proposed to his girlfriend on the show. I try not to compare proposal stories but like....why didn’t that happen to me.— Sarah Burton (@sarahe_burton) September 28, 2018
Shafer and Pascuzzi’s story has gone viral, but it’s only the most recent incident of a very public televised proposal. Emmy Award winner Glenn Weiss took the opportunity to propose to his girlfriend Jan Svedsen during his acceptance speech at the awards ceremony.
Pascuzzi, who works for Habitat for Humanity Greater Orlando and Osceola County, planned to donate 10 percent of his winnings back to the nonprofit. He received $2,000 as the second-place prize winner, but set up a GoFundMe account to raise additional funds for Habitat for Humanity.
Ellen Ioanes is the FOIA reporter at the Daily Dot, where she covers U.S. politics. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School, and her work has appeared in the Guardian, the Center for Public Integrity, HuffPost India, and more.