Maranda Crane-Grossi

Maranda Crane-Grossi, left, stands with her friend Mary Woodlief in this contributed photo. Crane-Grossi, formerly of Bluewell, is excited to see her performance on Ellen Degeneres’ game show, ‘Game of Games.’

BLUEWELL — Friends and family are waiting for the day when they can sit in front of a television and watch a woman they know meet her favorite celebrity and compete on a nationally-televised game show.

Maranda Crane-Grossi, formerly of Bluewell and now a resident of Austin, Texas, was scheduled to appear on “Ellen’s Game of Games,” a game show created by Ellen Degeneres. The episode Crane-Grossi will compete on, “Another Brick in the Taj Wall,” was scheduled to air today, but she checked Monday evening and learned that it will be broadcast later.

The episode was filmed last year when Crane-Grossi and a friend traveled to Los Angeles to see Ellen Degeneres’ daily talk show. She has been a fan for years.

“I think I’m pretty much a mega-fan at this point,” she said Monday evening. “My earliest memories of really liking her was her daytime talk show. I would be able to watch it when I got home from school.”

Besides the talk show, Degeneres provided the voice of the confused fish Dorie in the movie “Finding Nemo.” Crane-Grossi remembers doing a fan monologue of Dorie based on the performance. After graduating from Montcalm High School in 2012, she went to West Virginia University.

“At this point I went to college,” she recalled. “I didn’t have cable TV in college and I starting watching her YouTube channel. I could watch it 24/7 if I wanted to.”

An opportunity to meet Degeneres came in March last year when a friend of Crane-Grossi got tickets to the talk show. They traveled to California and saw the show’s taping. While they were waiting in line for the show, they were approached by staff members looking for people to audition for the game show.

“I was just in a lot of different interviews,” Crane-Grossi recalled about the process. “I guess it was a general audition. It wasn’t like they were testing me for trivia. It was more like how much of an Ellen fan I was and how much I liked playing games, do I regularly have a game night with friends. Get a feel for just how fun I am.”

Crane-Grossi’s parents, Kevin and Lani Crane of Bluewell, her uncle Skip Crane, and other family and friends were planning to meet at a local church today to watch the game show, but this will be done at another time. Crane-Grossi said she did not yet know when her episode will air, but she has plans for that day. While she can’t get back to West Virginia for that day, she wants to be speaking with her family then.

“I won’t be able to get back there,” she said of visiting Bluewell. “I’m planning to have a big watch party of my own.”

Her family is ready for that big day.

“We are so excited,” Lani Crane said. “This has been like a bucket list item for Maranda for years. This is like her dream come true. Whether she wins anything or not, just to meet Ellen Degeneres is a dream come true.”

— Contact Greg Jordan at

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