Unfortunately, though, he headed home from New York Tuesday without any prize money in his pocket.
"Well, I got on 'Million Second Quiz' tonight," he posted on the 106.1 Facebook page. "As time ran out ... got in the Money Chair ... but lost it soon after ... What a fun day!"
The competition, hosted by Ryan Seacrest, is broadcast from a three-story, hourglass-shaped structure in New York City. Money is accumulated by sitting in the "Money Chair" and answering trivia questions against a rival. The longer a contestant stays in the chair, the more money is added until he is defeated by a challenger.
O'Brien bettered one of the show's four leaders, but, due to the show's convoluted rules, didn't get to stay and keep competing. "My short term goals were, No. 1, making it to prime time, and No. 2, getting to the Money Chair, which I did," the Virginia Beach resident said. "The whole experience of being in New York, it was awesome." He pointed out that although the show's grand prize is enormous, no actual money has been awarded yet.
"It's a hard show to win money on," O'Brien said. "You have to be on a long time, you have to be smart and you have to be lucky."
Listen for O'Brien 10 a.m.-2 p.m. weekdays on WUSH-FM.