While “Wheel of Fortune” may seem fairly simple, there’s a lot more that goes into walking away with a fortune.
For starters, you have to really put your back into spinning the 2,400-pound wheel accessorized with computerized lights. In reality, it is that giant wheel that determines your success on the show. Even if you know the answer to a word puzzle, a spin on the wheel could leave you bankrupt.
You could also be going against two other people that are just getting lucky spins and dominating the game.
Winning a Million Dollars on ‘Wheel of Fortune’
Some contestants manage to land on the $1 million wedge on the wheel. It is dangerously sandwiched in between two bankrupt wedges.
According to Closer Weekly, there is a 1-in-72 chance of even landing on that spot on the wheel. It only gets harder from there. Once you land on that million-dollar prize sliver, you must then successfully finish that puzzle. You also have to win the entire show and not land on any of those bankrupt spots.
Even after all of that, “Wheel of Fortune” isn’t just going to give you a million dollars that easily. The contestant must then land on the million-dollar wedge again during the bonus round spin. One of the prize envelopes that normally has $100,000 is replaced with a $1 million envelope. The odds of landing on that million-dollar spot is 1-in-24.
According to Nicki Swift, there have only been three different million-dollar winners since the show started in 1975. The first person to win the prize was a New Jersey teacher named Michelle Loewenstein in 2008. Then in 2013, Autumn Erhard also walked away a millionaire. Lastly, in 2014, Sarah Manchester earned $1, 017,490 from the show.
The chances of winning that much are incredibly not in a contestant’s favor, but it is still possible. There hasn’t been a million-dollar winner in nearly seven years. Maybe there’s a lucky contestant coming up soon on “Wheel of Fortune.”
Missing Out on the Million Dollars
Winning that million-dollar cash prize is clearly very difficult. While a few have managed to do it, others have failed on “Wheel of Fortune.”
According to Today, a grandfather named Frank had appeared on the show in 2017 during the “Grandparents Week” at Disney World. He had managed to land on that million-dollar wedge during the first part of the show.
He then made it to the bonus round. Sadly, he was missing three letters of the puzzle but could not come up with “baked zucchini.” Pat Sajak then opened up the prize envelope to show what he missed out on. He was welcomed by the shiny, green million-dollar envelope.
He muttered “unbelievable” after seeing it. Frank instead walked away with $26,203 instead.