King of the Nerds is currently in its 3rd season on TBS (Fridays at 9pm). Genevieve Pearson was the runner-up back in season 1 but was clearly the breakout star with the fans. A mix of nerdy interests allowed her to win challenge after challenge and combined with her fun personality, it was no surprise the show brought her back to work behind-the-scenes and to create web content about the show. She’s also a novelist and we sat down with her to learn about her thoughts on King of the Nerds, what she’s working on these days, and demanded that she spoil who wins. Okay, that last one probably isn’t true.
Robot’s Pajamas: Having been the runner up in season 1 of King of the Nerds to now working on season 3, what would you say are the biggest changes to the show?
Genevieve Pearson: I think team-picking and the finale are the two biggest changes. By having randomly chosen teams, the interplay and social dynamic of the teams has changed. People are less loyal to their teams and more loyal to nerds they naturally befriend. The finale is also a big change, because now it’s 100% objective. Nerds know now that the social game will only take them so far–at a certain point, it will all come down to pure brainpower.
RP: What is your role on the show and what does it entail? I’ve seen your video recaps and previews for episodes but we’re curious what you do behind the scenes as well.
GP: During season 2, I was a challenge assistant and mainly helped out the challenge team–testing, prototyping and helping on set–while I also made a few challenge suggestions via the Think Tank. Between season 2 and 3, I was hired full time by the parent company, and for season 3 I was promoted to associate producer in challenges. That meant during season 3, I had significantly more responsibility. I participated in challenge development from day one, and a great many of my ideas made it to screen. I was also responsible for handling the logistics of the Nerd Wars, acting as a liaison with art department, creating and testing puzzles that were used, overseeing gameplay–basically, taking the Nerd Wars from idea to reality and making sure they ran smoothly from start to finish!
RP: Before you were on King of the Nerds, you were a novelist. Your second book in the Song of the Silvertongue series just came out. Do you plan to continue writing? How do you balance your time for writing vs working on the show?
GP: I do plan on continue writing. Writing is a source of great joy and comfort for me, and so I’ll always try and make time for it. During production, I have very little free time. When we’re filming, we often work 80 + hours a week! However, in the off-season, my job is a typical 9-5 day job. I usually get to work an hour or so early (it’s a great way to beat traffic!) and use that time writing. Also, I write for several hours on the weekend. My current manuscript is over 100k words and in the middle of a re-write, so this method is working for me.
RP: What’s the process like for publishing ebooks? Has the show helped increase interest in your books?
GP: Yikes, well, the process for eBooks is well documented and I’m not sure what I could add to all of the amazing blogs already out there! I do think the show has moderately increased interest in my books, but maybe not as much as I’d like.
RP: Dream scenario: TBS gives you the funds to make your own reality show. What do you invent?
GP: A cross-country race where fans team up with their favorite idols in the quest for a million dollars.
RP: I just moved to your old hometown – Tacoma, WA – where should I go to get the best nerd experiences in the Pacific Northwest? What area of the country seems to produce the most nerds?
GP: I really love the Elliott Bay Bookstore in Seattle, and I met Al Gore there once. I also enjoy the Children’s Museum of Science in Tacoma, even as an adult it’s fun! And Comic Book, Ink, is where I got my comics, along with O’Leary’s. Blue Mouse Theater is a great place to catch a cheap film. Authentic Tacoma burgers at Frisko Freeze. Katie Down’s obviously has the best deep dish pizza in the entire world.
I actually think the Pacific Northwest produces the most nerds. It’s rainy all of the time, so it fosters a love for inside entertainment, which tends to be more nerdy by definition. Paul Allen, Bill Gates, all the best nerds came from the Northwest.
RP: What’s next for you? Another book? More King of the Nerds? Something new?
GP: I’m working on a sci-fi novel that’s no where near done but totally fun to write. I hope to work on King of the Nerds Season 4, and beyond that, well, we’ll see! I’m also doing a podcast with Curtis Armstrong now, In the Company of Nerds, which you can find on www.loudcasts.com and iTunes.
Thank you Genevieve for your time and thoughtful answers. You can learn more about Genevieve and sample and purchase her books on her website. Genevieve regularly hosts short videos about the show that are shared on the official Facebook page for King of the Nerds.