Wheel of Fortune Appearance …

Had my …

Wheel of Fortune

…  taping on Friday, January 19th, at the Sony Entertainment Studios in Culver City …


…  for a show that will air on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.

Candy & I drove down to Los Angeles on Thursday and stayed at the Culver Hotel


… right down the street from the studios.

The hotel was built in 1924 and is a wonderful old, flatiron shaped building …


… with the result that our room … #60 on the 6th floor … had virtually no 90 degree angles …

… with the walls coming together at a variety of acute and obtuse angles, instead.

After checking in, we made the mistake of traveling 12 miles from the hotel to the Outback Steakhouse in Glendale … a trip that took almost 2 hours in the LA rush hour traffic!

Fortunately, we had a nice steak dinner … and the trip back didn’t take as long … but after having gotten up at 6:00 am so that I could make a 9:00 court appearance in Pleasanton on our way to LA … and after having spent more than 10 hours driving altogether … I was tired and wanted to be well-rested for my Wheel appearance … so was uncharacteristically in bed and asleep by 10:00 pm.

Got up at 6:00 am … and dressed in the outfit Candy had bought me for the occasion … black dress pants, long-sleeved grey shirt and solid gold tie … looked very spiffy!

Left the hotel at 7:00 to walk to the studio … took about 10 minutes … and was the second of the day’s contestants to arrive … well before the scheduled 7:45 arrival deadline … I was taking no chances on being late and getting scrubbed!

The schedule called for six shows to be taped that day … so we had a total of 20 contestants present … two of whom were alternates available in case one of the scheduled contestants could not participate.

We were all taken to a contestant area … which consisted of a meeting room, dressing room and hair/makeup room … where we spent a couple of hours going over the taping procedures, legal requirements, game rules & playing hints, and getting hair & makeup done.  Among the legal requirements … an agreement signed by each contestant not to reveal the results of the show until after it airs … so, no, I’m not going to tell you in this blog how I did!

While all this was going on, Vanna White

Vanna White

… stopped by to say hello and wish everyone good luck … how exciting!

During this time, we also learned which game we would be playing and in what playing position … of the six shows being filmed, 5 were “European Vacation” theme shows scheduled for viewing the week of March 3-7 … and the 6th was an “America’s Game” show scheduled for broadcast on March 19th. 

Of the 18 primary contestants, 6 were men and 12 women … and we were divided into show groups of three each by the show’s producers … not sure how they did that, but each group had one man and two women … one person in each group of three was then called upon to select one of six numbered golf balls to determine which show that group would appear on … I was the “ball guy” for my show and picked #2, meaning we would be the second show filmed that day … and would be playing in one of the European Vacation games … with a vacation in Spain as the signature prize. 

Then we had another selection process … with each person on our show selecting a small numbered ball to determine our position on the stage … I picked #1, meaning that I would be screen left … closest to Pat Sajak … during our show.

Finally, we also had an opportunity to play some practice puzzles … learn how to use the signaling devices for the toss up puzzles … and spin the wheel …


… which was both smaller and much heavier than it looks on TV.  The show’s producers taught us to spin the wheel by grabbing one of the posts with just the bottom three fingers … to avoid banging against the selection flippers … and I discovered that it is hard to get the wheel to make a full revolution … in fact, I was not able to do so.

In the meanwhile, guests of contestants were scheduled to arrive at 11:00 … so Candy took a cab from the hotel to the studio … and was eventually seated in the special guest section … contestants were not permitted to have contact with or even communicate with their guests prior to taping … but I did manage to flash Candy a quick “heart” hand-sign to let her know I saw her in the audience.

Guests were entertained with interesting information about the show … including that shows are taped on Thursday and Friday, every other week … that the wheel weighs 2400 pounds … and that 10,000 people try out every year, while fewer than 600 get on the show!

While the first three contestants went through the final preparation for their competition, the rest of us were seated in own section in the audience … at the opposite end of the audience from the guests …  to watch the other shows.

And then it was time for “America’s Game”


Wheel of Fortune

(to be continued after my show airs on March 4th!)


For background on how I got to be one of the fewer than 600 contestants a year who get on Wheel of Fortune, see my earlier blog posts about the Wheelmobile event I attended …


… and the follow up final audition …


The Official Wheel of Fortune website is here:


The Official Wheel of Fortune Game is on Facebook here:



Additional Culver Hotel photos:

Culver Hotel Sign

Culver Hotel Entrance & Flowers

Culver Hotel National Register of Historic Places Placque

Culver Hotel Placque

Culver Hotel Bench

Culver Hotel Entrance

Photos of the Sony Entertainment Studios & Culver Hotel in this blog © 2014 by Jim Reilly