Behind the Wheel: What it takes to be a contestant on America's Game
LOS ANGELES, Ca. -- (CBS 58) Thirty-six years and more than 7,000 episodes later fans of Wheel of Fortune now span two or sometimes three generations.
Some have made it a life goal to get on the show as a contestant. So what do you need to do to be able to take a spin on America's Game? CBS 58 went behind the wheel to find out.
“This show for some reason has become not just a popular show, but sort of the popular culture,” said host Pat Sajak.
“People whom the fulfillment of this is a lifelong dream, we love that,” said Harry Friedman, the show’s executive producer.
Friedman said thousands of fans submit audition videos online every year just for a chance to get on the show, but being energetic and exciting isn't going to cut it.
“You still have to be a good puzzle solver,” Friedman said. “That's really the number one thing we look for.”
And being a good puzzle solver doesn't just come naturally.
“A good contestant is one who is an avid reader,” said Friedman. “If you're a reader you know what words look like to the eye and so you understand the composition of words and that helps you solve the puzzles.”
If you're all that and more but still don't get pick, you can always wait for the Wheel Mobile roll through your city.
“It's a fun event,” Friedman said. “People come out, they play a game of Wheel of Fortune and our contestant coordinators get a chance to see how they play.”
The Wheel Mobile makes at least 20 stops every year in cities across the country. Past stops have included Milwaukee and for good reason.
“It helps a lot that my wife is from Fond du Lac,” Friedman said. “So Wisconsin has to be a stop,” we asked. “It's mandatory otherwise I can't go home,” Friedman laughed.
Once you get on the show the pressure's on - literally.
“For those that sit at home and go, ‘eh that stupid jerk, how didn't you know that,’ come into the studio and try it,” Sajak said. “It's a different game.”
Yes, in front of the audience and bright lights it can be tough to stay focused.
“Just concentrate on the puzzle,” said host Vanna White.
White has some tips for future contestants.
“I say, ‘Please buy vowels,’” White said. “I feel like it's very important to buy vowels. I think that helps you solve the puzzle.”
And most importantly just have fun and enjoy the experience.
“Ten years from now and it comes up that they were on Wheel of Fortune no one is going to care what they won,” Sajak said. “They want to know what was it was like, what was Vanna wearing, what kind of puzzles you had and if you win something great.”