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Who Is Brandon On The Chase?

When the British quiz show "The Chase" premiered in 2009, it didn't take long for the series to become a global phenomenon with spin-offs all over the world, including an American version that aired from 2013 to 2015. When ABC announced it was reviving the series in 2020, the network enlisted America's finest trivia buffs — including Ken Jennings, James Holzhauer, and Brad Rutter — to serve as the chasers. In keeping with the original show's format, contestants face off against the trivia aficionado chasers in an attempt to win money.

Ahead of Season 3, "The Chase" introduced three new chasers: Victoria Groce, Buzzy Cohen, and Brandon Blackwell, also known by his chaser moniker, "The Lightning Bolt." Long before he joined the American remake of "The Chase," Blackwell was well acquainted with the British series, considering himself a student of the country's quiz programming, which he told The Guardian is "the greatest quiz infrastructure in the world." In fact, it was his desire to compete in and win a British quiz show that led the Queens, New York native to leave the United States for the first time. "I lived in London for two years, and I moved there specifically to quiz," Blackwell said in a promo for "The Chase."

Brandon Blackwell is a lifelong quizzer

Brandon Blackwell caught the trivia bug early, and he proved to have a knack for knowledge. Blackwell made his quiz show debut on "Teen Jeopardy" at age 14, and he has since appeared on "University Challenge," "The Million Second Quiz," and "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" As of 2020, he has earned over $460,000 on various game shows. "I mean, it's just what I spend most of my time doing," he humbly stated in the same Guardian interview. "I guess I like the challenge of it. I'm just very competitive, period."

For Blackwell, quizzing requires as much training as any other form of competition, and he stays nimble by participating in quiz leagues, competing in between five and eight leagues at any given time. The early days of the pandemic came with a silver lining for Blackwell, who used the time in quarantine to bone up on trivia.

Blackwell's earnings, as well as his cushy job on "The Chase," have come with their own hurdles. He has spoken about the challenges of being one of only a few Black quizzers while living in the United Kingdom. "That's what the problem is," he told The Guardian, "because representation does matter."

According to Blackwell, his ultimate goal is to appear on the Mount Rushmore of British trivia shows: "Only Connect," "University Challenge," "Mastermind," and "Brain of Britain." But for now, he'll have to be content staying stateside for "The Chase."