After 39 years on the air, it’s amazing to see how beloved Wheel of Fortune is amongst its viewers. With the various game shows premiering across different networks, people are still drawn to Pat Sajak interacting with three contestants trying to solve a famous phrase on Vanna White‘s scoreboard for a sum of money.
Still, fans have raised their eyebrows about questionable moments throughout its historic tenure. For example, back in February, Lisa Kramer won the elusive bonus round prize. The next day, champion Mark Baer did the exact same thing. Then the next night, Bree Yokouchi ended up winning $100,000.
Understandably, the back-to-back victories made viewers wonder, is Wheel of Fortune rigged? Well, we’ve done some digging. Let’s take a look at what’s really going on.
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Is Wheel of Fortune rigged?
There are many opinions about whether or not Wheel of Fortune is rigged. Over on Reddit, user @observantone asked this question almost a decade ago, and their reasoning is still relevant now.
“I’ve thought of this possibility since I was young,” they wrote on the social media platform in January 2013. “It hits ‘Bankrupt’ and ‘Lose a Turn’ a LOT … My idea was that they could just have it hooked up to a computer that can predict where the wheel will land after [its] spun. The computer could then maybe smoothly change the rotation so that it lands one or two spots off, usually (always) in favor of screwing over the contestants.”
Other Reddit users also chimed in. “The show is actually quite incentivized to rig the wheel,” user @chaggas wrote in part. “If the wheel was truly random the wheel spinning would be pretty boring and thus the show would lose much of its excitement which bodes well for ratings.”
So, what has the show said about these theories? While the game series hasn’t addressed these idea, Pat has. At the time of the historic three-peat, he took to Twitter to shut down rumors that Wheel of Fortune is rigged.
“A quick reminder to conspiracy theorists: thanks to the quiz show scandals of the 1950s, fixing a TV game show is a federal crime,” he wrote on February 9. “I really like our players, and I’d like them all to win, but I draw the line at serving prison time.”
So, there you have it. Wheel of Fortune is not rigged and anyone can try their chance at winning incredible prizes with a little bit of luck!
As the entertainment and news editorial assistant for Good Housekeeping, Adrianna (she/her) writes about everything TV, movies, music and pop culture. She graduated from Yeshiva University with a B.A. in journalism and a minor in business management. She covers shows like The Rookie, 9-1-1 and Grey’s Anatomy, though when she’s not watching the latest show on Netflix, she’s taking martial arts or drinking way too much coffee.