By: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Trevor Welsh
Military spouses were featured as contestants on the television game show Wheel of Fortune at Sony Pictures Entertainment Studios in Culver City, Calif., Jan. 12.
This is the first time Wheel of Fortune has dedicated the show to military spouses to honor their sacrifices in support of their loved one’s service in the armed forces.
“During military spouses week, it’s not just about the men and women serving,” said Pat Sajak, Wheel of Fortune Host. “It’s about the men and women behind the scenes, the wives, husbands and kids who are doing without someone for a while, they’re making sacrifices as well. It’s a way to honor them and to remind all of America that there are a lot of people behind this effort.”
Fifteen spouses of service members were chosen to compete for cash and prizes on the 41-year-old game show, and were filmed on a redecorated set to honor the United States military.
“It’s funny how great ideas come into being, and I don’t know exactly how this one did, but we’ve always had military weeks, and most weeks we’ll have someone from the military on,” Sajak said. “We consider ourselves America’s game show and this is just a part of what we do.”
Grace French, one of the contestants and wife of Chief Navy Counselor Brad French, stationed at Coronado, Calif., spoke about the challenges and adventures of being a “Navy wife.”
“Besides being a one-woman operation (while my husband is deployed), we move at least every three years,” said French. “It can be difficult because you are constantly leaving these friends we have made and then we have to make new ones, which in itself, I find, is fun and adventurous. I enjoy it; I like the sense of adventure and the unexpected.”
The program began airing on network television on January 6, 1975, on NBC. While retaining most of the elements from the daytime version, Wheel of Fortune has added many new game play elements and is the longest-running syndicated game show in United States television history, with more than 5,000 episodes aired. The shows featuring military spouses will air on national television during the second week of February.