Monday, March 27, 2006

Wheel-y fun

So I made the drive up to Denver on Saturday to catch the "Wheel of Fortune" tapings. It ended up being a longer day than I had thought, but more fun, too.

First off, there were thousands of people waiting outside to see the show. They had 4,000 seats inside and they had two seatings for the five tapings they were doing that day. I've got nothing against "Wheel," I think it's a fine show, but man, the level of fan enthusiasm was pretty surprising.

They took me and the rest of the press (including both Shannon Brinias and Nora Seibert from KKTV), to some back conference room, gave us pop and cookies and then brought Vanna in for a group interview. She was pretty laid back, wearing jeans and flip-flops, shorter in person than she appears on TV. Apparently she has a place up in Aspen and she was joking about how she never skis.

"I'm not a big skier, because I'm always so afraid I'll break a leg or something," she said. "I have to walk to work."

At least I think she was joking...

There was a very strange group of reporters there -- kids from local colleges, because they were taping college week, somebody from a parenting magazine, somebody from an aviation magazine (apparently Vanna used to own a couple of jets) and a few people like me. So the questions she was being asked were all over the map: "Do you ever get muscle fatigue?" "Have you ever Googled yourself?"

Then they brought Pat Sajak back and let me tell you, that dude is one smooth operator. He was totally relaxed, funny, self-deprecating. It reminded me that I was one of the three Americans who actually liked his late night talk show back in the eighties.

He held forth on what the Rockies need to do to be competitive (build a Mile High version of the Green Monster), his favorite contestants (a woman who was so elated at winning, she turned to him and said "I don't know where I am") and the pressures of being a game show host ("I know the logistics enough I could do this show in deep REM sleep, but that's not fair to the people who pay me").

Then we went into the main convention hall for the actual taping. They had the CU band there, the cheerleaders, they had done the stage up as a faux hunting lodge, with plastic rocks and logs and snowshoes and fishing poles hanging from the walls. It was pretty silly. On screens behind the contestants, they played clips of skiing (which looked like Eldora -- go figure that one), whitewater rafting and a few other nature scenes.

The first show, featuring Air Force Cadet Doug Presley, went off without a hitch. I had to promise I wouldn't tell what happened (the show will air May 15), but I can say some pretty exciting stuff happened. During the second taping, however, they kept having problems with the letters -- one of them went dark, the whole screen wouldn't come up, this happened like four times. Pat was, again, very smooth -- "I don't want to get technical for all you folks, but we just had a boo-boo."

Anyway, I'll have more on this in tomorrow's TV Talk.


At 8:48 AM, March 27, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What we really want to know, did Pat Sajak hit on Shannon Brinias or Nora Seibert? :-)

At 8:50 AM, March 27, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat is indeed a smooth dude. In my dreams, I live in a quiet suburban neighborhood with Jeff Probst as a neighbor on one side, and Pat on the other ... We'd go golfing a lot and have very funny conversations and silly adventures, it'd make for a great sitcom: "Tonight on 'There Goes the Neighborhood,' Pat borrows Jeff's immunity idol for a show and tell at his daughter's school, but when he accidentally leaves it at the 7-Eleven, there's trouble ahead!"

At 11:29 AM, March 27, 2006, Blogger AndyW said...

I would totally watch that show.


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