Wheel of Fortune contestant reveals gameshow’s behind-the-scenes secrets: ‘It’s nerve-wracking’

Pat and Vanna have co-hosted Wheel of Fortune together since 1982. Pic credit: ©

What we see on TV doesn’t always represent what goes on behind the scenes.

This rang true for a Wheel of Fortune contestant who recently spilled the tea on what happens backstage.

Michael Colen was a contestant on Wheel of Fortune’s November 3 episode and recently spoke with The Sun about what goes down when the cameras aren’t rolling.

Michael dished on Wheel of Fortune’s filming schedule, telling the outlet, “They do six shows in a day, Monday to Friday, and the sixth gets kicked back to a random week.”

Contestants are also asked to bring three outfits for filming day “just in case,” the show alternates taping days with another popular weeknight gameshow, Jeopardy!, and each gameshow uses the other’s set for rehearsals.

Michael also claimed that producers speak with contestants to get a feel for their on-stage presence during video auditions.

“They have you talk for a while and want to see how you talk,” Michael shared. “Then they have three contestants, and they want to see how you play the game.”

And playing the game isn’t necessarily as easy as viewers may envision it. According to Michael, once the cameras are on it’s a completely different ballgame.

“The lights camera, action’ is very different than when you’re up there. You’re so critical from the couch but when the lights are on, there are cameras everywhere.”

“It’s nerve-wracking,” Michael added. “It goes so fast.”

Michael had a bit of advice for other potential Wheel of Fortune contestants: Stay calm, cool, and collected.

“When I’m watching it I can always tell who’s gonna win by the person who’s most relaxed. So, I was focused on being most relaxed,” he said.

Pat Sajak issued a stern warning to the recent Wheel of Fortune contestant

Another fun fact about Michael Colen is that he had some one-on-one time with host Pat Sajak backstage.

As Monsters and Critics reported, the middle school math teacher said Pat approached him backstage to issue him a stern warning.

Michael said of their exchange, “In between one of the commercial breaks, Pat came up to me and said, ‘You know, Michael, this is my show, right?”

But as it turned out, Michael took Pat’s remarks with a grain of salt and knew that ultimately, the 77-year-old weeknight gameshow host was pulling his leg, calling Pat’s comments “friendly banter.”

Wheel of Fortune airs weeknights on ABC.

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