What Really Happened To Allow A Contestant To Appear On Wheel Of Fortune Twice

Wheel of Fortune logo

In spite of recent circumstances, TV game shows are still going strong, and viewers are following them as closely as ever. The contestants are also still excited to be appearing on their favorite shows. One recent Wheel of Fortune contestant expressed his excitement about competing and in the process, he revealed that it wouldn’t be his first time on the show. But how exactly is that possible?

Tony Harrison, whose episode of Wheel of Fortune recently made it to the air, was asked that very question by a Twitter user. Although he previously appeared on the show back in 2017, Harrison explained that his bonus round puzzle was miscategorized. As a result, the producers invited him back to the show:

I was brought back due a mis-categorized bonus round puzzle. My puzzle on my first show was “on the highway”, which was categorized as a “Phrase”. The show determined that "Place" may have been more appropriate, and in the interest of fairness, invited me back.

It’s not everyday someone gets to compete on a game show, but getting the chance to participate twice is a pretty big honor. The fact that Wheel of Fortune recognized the mistake and offered the opportunity to return is also says a lot about the show’s sense of fairness.

Getting picked up as a contestant for a show is no simple task, either. As Harrison mentioned in his original tweet, he first had to participate in a Wheelmobile contestant search to be considered. Then, as with any kind of game show, he likely had to go through a screening process and rehearsal before finally making to air.

Wheel of Fortune has had to adapt to the world’s current situation, which even includes recording without the presence of a live studio audience. And even before this, Wheel also had to push through another tough situation.

At the end of last year, longtime host Pat Sajak was forced to go into the hospital for emergency surgery, which sidelined him from the show for a few months. In his absence, his co-worker Vanna White held down the fort and did quite well. However, when asked if she would ever consider filling in for Sajak again, White admitted that it’s not at the top of her to-do list. While White relieved her friend and colleague, her role as letter-turner was once taken on by Pat Sajak’s own daughter during his absence.

Tony Harrison’s story makes for a nice reminder that good things come to those who wait and play by the rules. With two Wheel of Fortune appearances under his belt, he certainly has bragging rights among some of the show’s most successful contestants. You can catch Wheel of Fortune daily at 7 p.m. ET on ABC.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.