‘Wheel of Fortune’ contestant who lost on a technicality speaks out about rule change debate

There are not any laborious emotions for “Wheel of Fortune” contestant David Petersen regardless of not too long ago dropping large cash on the present attributable to a technicality with the foundations.

Petersen not too long ago appeared on the sport present the place he inadvertently sparked calls for the show to amend its rules after the addition of one phrase to his reply value him the sport. During the crossword puzzle section of the present, which was launched in 2016, contestants are warned to not add any phrase however the 4 it takes to resolve the puzzle once they reply. Unfortunately, Petersen was ensnared in a lure that beforehand caught another contestant in 2019 when he listed the phrases together with the conjunction “and,” thus costing him the sport. 

“I asked Pat [Sajak] to solve it. And as I went to solve the puzzle, of course, he says every time, ‘Do not add anything.’ Well, he says this, you hear it, but the number one thing I’m focused on is pronouncing the words correctly,” Petersen informed Fox News over the telephone.

A spokesperson for “Wheel of Fortune” informed Fox News that the rule has been in place for a whereas and that contestants are warned of the technicality forward of time. 


“Our long-standing rule is that in order to have a correct puzzle solve, a contestant must say exactly what is on the board without adding words. This applies to all puzzle categories, including the ‘Crossword’ category,” the spokesperson mentioned. “Contestants are thoroughly briefed prior to the show that to keep the game fair and objective, precision is necessary when solving the puzzles. Also, in this particular category, Pat often volunteers a reminder of this rule when contestants solve a puzzle.”

‘Wheel of Fortune’ contestant David Petersen lost on a technicality throughout a current episode.
(David Petersen)

Petersen admits that even he’s responsible of sitting at house questioning how anybody might make such a mistake regardless of being warned on the air. However, he says getting within the studio below the lights, digital camera and crowd turns “Wheel of Fortune” into a utterly totally different expertise.

He additionally famous that the error is less complicated to make than folks suppose.

“It’s such a natural part of the English syntax that we use. Our high school teachers have taught us and even our elementary school teachers taught us to put the word ‘and’ in between the last two items of a list of items,” he added. “You literally have to voluntarily turn off that English language syntax that we’ve been trained in for years.”

Despite dropping on the hotly debated technicality, Petersen makes it very clear that he understands he lost fair-and-square. 

“I do not deserve to win that ‘Wheel of Fortune’ money prize for attempting to solve the crossword puzzle,” he declared. “The rules stated during my game that you cannot add anything and I added the word ‘and.’”

He continued: “There’s nothing unfair about what happened. It’s a rule.”

Although Petersen understands the logic behind his loss, he nonetheless falls on the aspect of followers who are calling on the sport present to change the rule in order that the implications for future contestants who add the frequent conjunction aren’t so dire. 


“My suggestion to the ‘Wheel of Fortune’ people, if I was consulting with the producers… I would say, have Pat say ‘don’t add the word “and”’ if it’s that important and if you want to say that consistently,” Petersen steered. “He’s having to say it consistently because people mess up on that because it’s a natural part of the English language.”

Overall, like many followers, the previous contestant feels that there’s nothing flawed with a rule change in any sport if it improves the general competitors.  

“All the sports leagues change rules all the time. You can modify a game to make it better. The NFL, the NBA, they all do it every year to make the game better,” he defined. 

'Wheel of Fortune' is facing calls to amend one of its most controversial rules.
‘Wheel of Fortune’ is dealing with calls to amend one of its most controversial guidelines.
(Christopher Willard through Getty Images)

Despite dropping the highest prize and being thrust into a debate amongst “Wheel of Fortune” followers about a potential rule change, Petersen says he would do all of it once more in a heartbeat, even figuring out the result could be the identical.


“It was just really a privilege to be on the show,” he concluded. “And I encourage anyone that could apply to the show to get on it and see how great it is to watch this whole process work. I mean, it really is a fantastic, American, iconic show.”


Fortunately, Petersen didn’t stroll away empty-handed, bringing in $1,000 in prize cash. He famous that he already gave a portion of it to his daughter, who inspired him to be on the present within the first place. He defined that sharing one thing together with her was all of the prize he wanted.

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