Did you know Pat Sajak used to be a weatherman? Or that Vanna White was a model? Actually I guess neither of those is too surprising — never mind.
Regardless, Wheel of Fortune is a great game show for you to try and be a contestant — compared to say, a Jeopardy, there is only one skill being tested – wordplay! Studying and winning are comparably easier but provide a similar earning potential for most contestants.
Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy are both produced by Sony Pictures, so it comes as no surprise that the audition process is also similar between the two game shows. Like Jeopardy, Wheel has
- An online application/form component
- An in-person contestant audition
So how do you apply to be on Wheel of fortune?
1. First, you need to get on Wheel’s radar. There are two ways to do this. One method is to sign up for their online form, which Sony currently does not have up and running. Presumably if they see enough interest in a particular city based on the signups to this form, they will hold special auditions in that city and you may be invited.
The other way is to look for the Wheelmobile. Again, Sony has graced the world with a broken link, so it appears that Wheel of Fortune is not looking for new contestants right now. The Wheelmobile travels the country auditioning contestants and administering the in-person tests. You can sign up for alerts or watch for news on Wheel on your local affiliate to see when their monster Winnebago is coming to town.
2. At the Wheelmobile audition, applicants are pulled out of the crowd in groups and play a quick version of the actual game. You get a brief interview and you’re on your merry way.
3. Assuming you did well enough, you are invited to come back to the city of your fateful rendezvous with the Wheelmobile and do a real audition. About 70 or so people gather in a hotel ball room and play a real mini version of Wheel of Fortune. You also take a 16-puzzle written test, which is then graded on the spot to assess your verbal acuity. The contestant coordinators dismiss some people in the room, and others are allowed to remain. Be aware, this is based not only on your test score but what those at Wheel call “our general impression” of you as a player and the need to have a “cross section of the population.” Unfortunately this is where personality and demographics come into play, so make sure you are enthusiastic, clear, and look like someone they would want to put on TV. The best you can do is maximize your chance of being selected within your age/gender/racial group, so make sure you are on top of it and are noticed (in a good way).
4. If you’ve made it far enough to make this last cut, you’re officially eligible to be on the show. Congratulations! After the poor rejected souls are ushered out, you play the game more and get more face time with contestant coordinators. After that, all you have to do is wait on your notification that you made it on Wheel of Fortune!
Wheel has some weird rules that are never really explained, so make sure you know all of these. In fact, become familiar enough with how the game works that you can play at home (with the sound muted). Pretend you’re the contestant whose turn it is. This will help you get down the timing and rhythm of playing in real life. Also, make sure you are loud so that the studio audience (and the oldsters watching at home) can hear you well! This seems to be one of the things that sinks too many people’s audition hopes – be not timid!!
Finally, be relentlessly positive (never stop smiling – you should be having fun trying out anyway!), have good posture, and show that you have a sense of humor. If you can pull it off, genuine banter with the contestant coordinators and other contestants will show that you have a magnetic personality and are someone who would be comfortable on TV.
Best of luck in your Wheel of Fortune contestant audition pursuits!