Jason Zollinger, of South Dayton, will compete on ABC's "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" during an episode airing Friday.
As part of "Cruise In and Win Week," Zollinger, a quality control employee for Cummins in Lakewood, will have the chance to win a Disney cruise vacation for four aboard the Disney Fantasy by correctly answering one question.
According to Zollinger, winning the cruise would be the perfect gift for his wife, Rose, and his two daughters, Murial, 6, and Kieran, 1.
Pictured is Jason Zollinger, of South Dayton, on the set of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” with host Meredith Vieira during “Cruise In and Win Week.” On Friday, an episode will air in which Zollinger answers a question to potentially win a Disney cruise vacation for four aboard the Disney Fantasy.
Photo courtesy of Disney ABC
"Murial has seized on it that this would be a great idea and she really wants to go," said Zollinger. "They've been advertising it on 'Millionaire,' and we've looked at it online, and it looks like a great time. The ships are beautiful, there are all kinds of stuff to do and you're going to exotic places. Plus, it's Disney, so it's all family-oriented and there is a lot of great stuff for the kids to do."
The episode airs at 1 p.m. on CW23, WNLO. A small viewing party with friends and family will be held at Zollinger's South Dayton Hotel. The hotel has been owned and operated by Zollinger's family since the 1930s, and he recalls tending bar there. Even back then he had dreams of competing on game shows, he said.
"I've been trying to get on 'Millionaire' for quite a while," said Zollinger. "When it was the network version I would call in, and when it became syndicated I went to Cleveland to try out. Then for the last few years I've been going to New York City to try out. I took a test and auditioned, and as part of that you get to watch them tape a couple shows. While watching they selected me from the audience to answer a question to win the cruise. And, the first thing I asked was whether or not it would affect my eligibility to be a regular contestant. And, they assured me that it wouldn't. I'm still in the contestant pool, so hopefully this will just be the beginning."
"Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" is hosted by Emmy award-winning Meredith Vieira, whom Zollinger was very excited to meet, he said.
"It was so much fun; I was kind of nervous, but it was so exiting too," said Zollinger. "It was cool to meet Meredith Vieira. I was a little silly about it, and kind of flirted with her by saying, 'well hello there,' and she just laughed about it."
This wasn't Zollinger's first time making an appearance on national television. He previously appeared on 11 games of Sony Pictures' "Jeopardy" in which he won nearly $250,000. During those appearances he wore a tie with a picture of his daughter Murial, who was 3 years old at the time.
"It was incredible," said Zollinger. "I'd been trying to get on 'Jeopardy' since I was 17 years old. It was a dream; and I'm so lucky because everyone's got dreams, but very few people get to have them come true like that."
Zollinger attributes his luck to his two daughters because he continued the tradition of wearing a tie with pictures on it for his audition with "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire." This time he upgraded the tie to have pictures of both Murial and Kieran.
"When I got picked for 'Jeopardy' I retroactively declared it my lucky tie," said Zollinger. "Then I got a tie made with both Murial and Kieran and wore it to the audition for 'Millionaire.' So, I give credit to the girls, and to my wife, who volunteers to run our local library, and stays home to take care of the girls and the house."
For more information visit www.millionairetv.com.