‘Wheel of Fortune’ Fans Slam Show’s ‘Unfair’ Decision to Give Contestants a Second Chance

Pat Sajak with Wheel contestant
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Wheel of Fortune is taking a page from its quiz show cousin Jeopardy! in inviting back former players for another chance to spin the wheel, but not everybody is happy about it.

Many fans think it’s unfair that the show is allowing people to compete twice when hopeful viewers often take many years to appear on ‘Wheel’ and a large number never achieve their dream.

On Monday, May 27, the long-running game show kicked off its Fan Favorite week, which sees past contestants return for a shot at redemption or, in some cases, for repeated glory.

The latter was certainly the case for Cynthia King from Warren, Michigan, who won more than $83,000 during her first appearance back in February when she nailed the Bonus Round puzzle.

As she explained to host Pat Sajak at the start of Monday’s episode, she hosted 75 friends and family for a watch party of her first game and plans to do the same again for her second appearance, this time inviting along her co-workers.

King faced off against Rufus Cumberlander from Ewa Beach, Hawaii, who played back in February 2015, and Luidgi Altidor from Brooklyn, New York, who appeared in January 2020.

While the game started off a little shaky for King, she soon got back into the swing of things, bagging herself $15,390 cash in the Express Round and a trip to the Great Rivers of Europe. She ultimately won the closely-fought episode with $19,390 over Altidor’s $17,358.

Unfortunately for King, she couldn’t repeat her Bonus Round success. After selecting the “Event” category and the additional letters “C, P, M, and I,” she was faced with a puzzle board that read: “_ _ _ L E N T / _ E _ _ _ N _.”

She figured out the second word as “Wedding” but couldn’t put the whole thing together as “Opulent Wedding.” Still, she walked away with almost $20,000 to add to her previous winnings, taking her over the $100,000 mark in total.

Speaking to Maggie Sajak on social media, King, who had waited 30 years to get on the show the first time, opened up about her Wheel return.


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“It’s so crazy. I didn’t even believe it. Like, this can’t be true,” she said. “Just being on the show once is unreal, but being on here twice? It’s like, oh wow, okay, I’m walking. I’m a celebrity. You don’t want my signature, you want my autograph.”

Another contestant, Tracy McBride, appeared on the show earlier this month after waiting 28 years to get on and also won big. However, some fans have been waiting even longer, and they’re annoyed that returning contestants are taking up slots on the show.

“I’ve been trying to get on Wheel Forever!!!” wrote one fan on the Wheel of Fortune Instagram page.

“How are these people getting on a SECOND time when other people are trying for a chance! This is very unfair! I’m over this!” said another.

Another fan wrote, “I’ve been trying to get on wheel of fortune. I filled out the application for it in 2021.”

But others were happy to see the familiar faces, especially as a way to commemorate Sajak’s penultimate week as host.

“How fitting that Pat’s penultimate week of shows has fan favorites,” wrote one viewer on YouTube.

“[Cynthia] is the best. I’m happy she’s back tonight, along with Rufus!” added another commenter.

Another said, “I’m so happy she won she deserved it God bless her.”

What do you think about Wheel inviting back past contestants? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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