Algoma couple discusses ‘Wheel of Fortune’ appearance
ALGOMA – Jamie Allen's appearance on one of the country's most popular TV game shows isn't just a dream come true for her. She also sees it as a teachable moment for her students.
Jamie, a business education teacher at Algoma High School, and her husband, Danny Allen of Sturgeon Bay radio station WDOR-FM 93.9, will appear together as contestants on the long-running syndicated game show "Wheel of Fortune." Their appearance is being broadcast locally at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, on WLUK-TV Channel 11.
Jamie's been a fan of the show for years.
"(Danny and I) watch the show together, compete against each other as husband and wife," she said. "But I've watched it all my life."
She decided to apply to get on the show in 2017. Potential contestants must submit a video of themselves showing why they want to be, and should be, selected to appear, and some of her students helped with a bit of creativity.
"It was me and the students simulating playing 'Wheel' on a smartboard," Jamie said, "then me explaining why I'd be a good contestant and want to be on the show."
She submitted the video in July of 2017 and got a call from a show representative in November of that year, asking if she could come to Milwaukee for an audition — invited participants only, she said.
"They had us practicing together like we were playing the game," Jamie said. "I thought we did all right."
As for Danny, he wasn't planning to audition, but he went with Jamie to Milwaukee to support her — and ended up trying out as well.
"I was just tagging along at first," Danny said. "I wasn't going to go in, but they convinced me. We auditioned as individuals and couples, and it just worked out that we got on a couples-type show."
The Allens waited a year after the audition before getting a callback from the show last November, asking if they could go to Los Angeles in December to tape a couples episode of the show. They flew out on Wednesday, Dec. 12, rehearsed and taped the show Thursday and returned home Friday.
Jamie said the combination of appearing on a TV show she's watched for so long, meeting hosts Pat Sajak and Vanna White and competing for prizes added up to a unique experience.
"Very surreal," she said when asked to described the overall experience. "We were super excited, couldn't believe it was happening. And it was nerve-wracking meeting Pat and Vanna, (because) I've watched them all my life."
Jamie said the contestants interacted with Sajak just during the taping, but White introduced herself and talked with the contestants beforehand and answered questions from the studio audience during breaks.
Jamie and Danny admitted they were nervous at game time, but like an athlete in an important game, the nerves subsided once the play began.
"We were a little nervous, but once you get past that, you're focused on the game," Jamie said. "They say it's the fastest 22 minutes of your life."
"It goes fast once the lights turn on," Danny said.
Danny said playing the game while sitting on the couch watching at home is far different from playing on stage against two other couples.
"The biggest difference is when you're at home, it's always your turn," he said. You're always able to yell out the answer any time."
Playing as a couple posed another challenge, Danny said. The podiums for the contestants don't change from game to game, meaning they're set up for single players and couples have to figure out how two people can co-exist with one buzzer.
"Working together is important," Danny said. "Everyone works out their own system."
Jamie said she and Danny worked very well together and it was good to have someone to lean on during the game.
So, how did the Allens do? You'll have to watch the show to find out — as with most game or reality shows, contestants are prohibited from discussing the results until after the show has aired or concluded its season.
Whatever the result, Jamie said the appearance is something she'll never forget. And she hopes the students in her classes learn something from it.
"For sure, I think this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Jamie said. "How many other people do you know who can say they've been on 'Wheel of Fortune?' (And) I think it was a good opportunity to show my students what can happen when you pursue your dreams."
Jamie and Danny Allen appear on "Wheel of Fortune" at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, on WLUK-TV Channel 11.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Algoma couple discusses 'Wheel of Fortune' appearance