The Man Behind WRAL-TV’s Brain Game

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The Man Behind WRAL-TV’s Brain Game

Kevin Shand
WRAL-TV Producer Kevin Shand is the man behind the scenes on every Brain Game episode.

Brain Game is WRAL-TV’s locally produced, academic quiz bowl program for area high school students.  Brain Game airs each Saturday at 11:30am on WRAL-TV and is archived on WRAL.com.

Back in the mid-90’s, our Local Production department had a brainstorming session on new programming ideas.  We talked about the lack of coverage of North Carolina’s students.  You see high school sports being covered all the time, but what about classroom success stories?  What about a show that applauds academics?   

After much research with NC’s Department of Public Instruction, along with teacher and student focus groups, we launched Brain Game on January 11, 1997. 

Kevin Shand
WRAL-TV’s Kevin Shand works in the Control Room during a Brain Game taping.

And with that debut, Brain Game has been WRAL-TV Producer Kevin Shand’s baby.  He’s the perfect producer for this program, because Kevin is a walking encyclopedia!  He’s one of those guys who knows something  (usually a lot!) about everything.  No matter what Brain Game category, current events,  history, geography, or science, Kevin usually adds an interesting fact or bit of trivia, as we review questions and prep our host.  I’d love to see him compete on Jeopardy!

Brain Game seems to match Kevin’s personality.  He’s fun and smart, so it’s perfect that he’s in charge of this program.  His resourcefulness and leadership shine during every taping.  But it’s not an ‘ownership’ thing for Kevin. He always encourages input from his host and crew.  He makes sure the entire Brain Game team takes pride in the show.   

Kevin’s been producing Brain Game for sixteen years.  That’s right, SIXTEEN  years!  And he has NEVER missed a Saturday Brain Game taping…until April 6th.  Sadly, Kevin recently lost one of his close, childhood friends to cancer.  He attended the memorial service Saturday, April 6th in Charlotte.   

Brain Game
Now in its 16th season, WRAL-TV’s Brain Game pits area high school students against each in a battle of wits.
Mark Roberts
Mark Roberts hosts the long-running WRAL-TV quiz show.

Phyllis Parish, WRAL’s Local Production Director and Kevin’s manager, covered for him in the Control Room that day.  It was easy to fill in for Kevin, because he had everything buttoned up and ready to go for the three shows we were producing.  That’s Kevin.  Totally dependable.

That 16-year stat is an amazing tribute to Kevin’s work ethic and his dedication to both Brain Game and WRAL-TV. Plus, he just loves Brain Game!  It’s his pride and joy.  And he should be proud of his program.  Our original goal to acknowledge students’ accomplishments has been achieved every Saturday on WRAL since 1997! 

Today, Brain Game is one of the few locally produced quiz shows on TV.  Each season, we end up with more school teams that we can accommodate on-air, so the show remains popular with high school students.   Brain Game.  The smartest 30-minutes on TV.  And the most fun for everyone involved, thanks to Kevin Shand!

Round 2 of the 2013 Spring Play-offs continue this weekend on WRAL-TV:

  • April 27th – Green Hope v. NC School of Science & Math
  • May 4th – Jordan Matthews v. Western Harnett

Brain GameSemifinals

  • Semifinal 1: May 11th
  • Semifinal 2: May 18th

Brain Game Championship

  • May 25th

Brain Game airs on WRAL-TV Saturday mornings at 11:30am.

Thanks to WRAL-TV’s Phyllis Parish for this capcom story & these capcom photos & to WRAL-TV’s Shelly Leslie for the inspiration for this capcom story.

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