Julia Warren will be on the premier episode of game show’s revival
Contestants on game shows are sworn to secrecy.
They cannot reveal the results of the competition until after their episode airs.
They can tell you if they had a good time.
“I appreciate having had the experience that much more, especially considering all the hardships people have gone through,” said Julia Warren, a former Clark County resident who will be on the premier episode of ABC’s Supermarket Sweet on Sunday night.
“I’m lucky to have had this experience, a little bit of levity, joy, and fun. We need that more than ever. Any time we can seize an opportunity for levity, fun, joy … go out and grab it.”
Vancouver will have someone to root for Sunday night. Julia graduated from Skyview High School in 2003 as Julia Higgins. She and her husband, and their four children, live in Poway, Calif., just north of San Diego. But they visit Vancouver often.
“We try to spend as much time as we can in the Pacific Northwest, especially in the summers,” she said. “Best of both worlds, I think.”
Warren recalls watching Supermarket Sweep in the 1990s and early 2000s. After 15 years with empty shelves, the market is back, this time its revival is set for prime time on ABC, hosted by Leslie Jones.
Three pairs compete against each other, answering trivia questions centered around shopping and grocery store items. Correct answers add time to the “racing” part of the game, when contestants try to beat the clock and put as many valuable items into their carts as possible. In ABC’s version, the best team gets to play for $100,000 in the final.
“One day, my neighbor across the street approached me. She had been scouted for the show,” Warren said.
Lois Arbogast asked Julia to be her teammate.
“I was all-in from Day 1,” Warren said. “We had to go through the audition process. Phone calls. Interviews. We had to send in a video of ourselves dancing for a minute straight.”
They were asked what one grocery item they cannot live without. Between the two moms, they have nine children. So they said Goldfish Crackers, and they used the crackers in some of their videos.
The process started back in January, back when things were “normal.” Everything was put on pause early in the pandemic. They waited.
Then they got word.
“When we found it it was actually happening, we were so excited,” Warren said, noting that after everything everyone has gone through, it was a thrill to have something to look forward to, a day in television land.
“It was such an upper for us,” she said.
Before they played the game, though, Julia and Lois studied. Big time. They visited local grocery stores. They took it seriously.
“We had to be prepared and know our way through the aisles,” Warren said. “We took lots of pictures and videos.”
Of course the game show’s market would be a different set-up, but by going to studying real stores, they tried to get a feel for where everything would be during the competition.
The game was filmed at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, with the stage set up to look like a market. Julia and Lois competed in August.
(Again, no spoilers!)
“For sure, there were nerves,” Warren said. “Right when we walked in to film, the air conditioning was really, really pumping. It was too cold for me. Coupled with the nerves, my teeth were chattering at one point. Once the game actually started … I got in a zone.”
Also helping to calm the nerves, Warren said, was the performance by host, Leslie Jones. The comic actor and writer, famous from her former starring role on Saturday Night Live and several movies, put the contestants at ease with her humor.
“She singled us out and definitely gave us a hard time,” Warren said, adding that they had it coming. “It was really fun. Just a funny, fun, once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
On Sunday, she will be able to share that experience with a nationwide audience.
“I’ve always had a dream of being on a game show,” Warren said. “Supermarket Sweep was one I really liked as a kid. I do love the classic game shows, and I love nostalgia.”