Pat Sajak has already experienced a medical scare this year and his show is currently on hiatus as the TV world practices good social distancing measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but he claimed to get quite a scare thanks to a close call for a contestant on Wheel of Fortune.
Enter Willie, who on Monday’s episode put himself in a great position to become one of the few contestants to ever win $1 million in the show’s Prize Round. By now you probably know how it works: You need to pick up the shimmering green placard wedged between two bankruptcy wedges on the wheel, then get that puzzle right and survive the rest of the game without going bankrupt.
Well, Willie found it and then solved a puzzle — “Icebergs & Glaciers” — as well as picking up a crucial Wild Card for a potential final puzzle to boot. He then made it to the Prize Round, which meant he had a chance to pick out a $1 million prize from the prize wheel if he got the puzzle right.
Willie, of course, then won and went to the Prize Puzzle, where he had a lot going for him. The extra consonant from the Wild Card got him a few Hs, and it seemed like he was fairly confident. But despite feeling good and the audience pretty sure he had done it, there was actually a bit of drama to be had.
“A whole lot of hope!” Willie said, with emphasis, thinking he had won and secured a shot at a million dollars. The audience thought so, too, and many of them started to cheer despite the 10-second clock ticking down.
“No no no no no,” Sajak said, stressing that he did not have it right. Willie caught himself, though, and guessed again by changing “hope” to “hype.”
“That’s it,” Sajak said, and Willie could finally celebrate. But it was a moment that gave everyone a bit of a scare, including Sajak himself. Willie asked why Sajak would “do that to me?” but, to be fair, the longtime Wheel host did everything he could to keep the contestant focused so he could recover in time to get the prize.
“I don’t know. I had a whole lot of stroke going on there,” Sajak joked before the big reveal. Unfortunately, he did not win $1 million, but a Toyota 4Runner isn’t a bad consolation prize for about 22 minutes of work. And more importantly, everyone on stage walked off it OK.