December 03, 2019
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Bangor woman’s ‘Wheel of Fortune’ mishap sparks outcry over game show’s rules

Courtesy of Kristen Shaw
Courtesy of Kristen Shaw
Kristen Shaw appeared on "Wheel of Fortune" on Nov. 21.

A Bangor woman last week became the second Mainer in less than a month to narrowly lose out on winning an episode of a wildly popular game show.

Kristen Shaw, a 26-year-old Bangor native and a graduate student at Husson University, appeared on “Wheel of Fortune” last Thursday and was doing well until the “crossword puzzle” challenge. In that challenge, the contestant must list the words that appear in the puzzle — in this case, four words: “right,” “football, “left” and “Sally.” Unfortunately, Shaw said, “Right, football, left and Sally.” Since she included the word “and,” Shaw lost around $2,000 in prize money, and a trip to Nashville valued at $8,000.

Shaw was visibly upset on the broadcast, and fans took to social media to express their dismay at the rule, which has long been in place on “Wheel of Fortune.” An unnamed spokesperson for the show told Fox News over the weekend that the rule had been in place for some time.

“Our long-standing rule is that in order to have a correct puzzle solve, a contestant must say only what is on the board without adding words,” the spokesperson told Fox News. “Contestants are thoroughly briefed prior to the show, and Pat often reminds them of this rule when solving a puzzle in this particular category.”

Shaw taped her episode in October, and had to sit on her snafu for the rest of the month.

“It was embarassing, because it was a dumb mistake,” said Shaw, who got on the show by attending the “Wheel of Fortune” wheelmobile event at the University of Maine in Orono in June.

A few days after the taping, the contestant who did win, Bryan Idler of San Luis Obispo, California, reached out to Shaw and offered to write her a check for the $3,550 he won during that round. Shaw would not say one way or another whether she accepted the money, but did say she was touched by Idler’s gesture.

“I would prefer to leave that private, but I will say that Bryan is a very kind man, and it shows that there are some really wonderful people out there in the world,” she said.

Shaw was also contacted over the weekend by Nashville-based travel company Adventureworks. The company’s owner, L.J. Whalen, offered Shaw a trip to Nashville that includes airfare, accommodations and tickets to the Grand Ole Opry. Shaw said she plans to go with her mother sometime in 2020.

In October, Augusta resident Jessica Garsed appeared on “Jeopardy!” and was penalized $1,600 for not adding an “s” to her answer of “Omaha Steaks” on one question. Omaha Steaks agreed to donate that $1,600 to the charity of Garsed’s choosing, which turned out to be the Ronald McDonald House of Maine.

 



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