Viewers call out 'Wheel of Fortune' over unexplained mid-round disappearance of contestant's winnings

March 18, 2023

Pat Sajak, the longtime host of "Wheel of Fortune," as well as the producers of the long-running TV game show are facing questions from viewers over an apparent unexplained mistake on a recent episode.

On Wednesday night's program, a contestant named Carla appeared to have her accumulated winnings of $6,750 wiped away and reset to zero in mid-round, even though she hadn't landed on the "bankrupt" wedge of the wheel with any of her spins, Fox News reported.

Social media erupted shortly thereafter with puzzled viewers asking why the woman's money had inexplicably "vanished" in the middle of the game through no apparent fault of her own.

Math doesn't add up

According to Decider, when the contestant named Carla began the round for a puzzle she eventually solved, "A Warm Evening Breeze," she spun the wheel and landed on $3,500, after which she guessed the letter "R", of which there were two, that netted her $7,000.

She then bought a vowel for $250, reducing her total to $6,750, but then guessed a wrong letter and the other contestants received a turn to play.

When Carla's next turn came, however, the scoreboard showed her at $3,000, and when she spun and landed on $700 and correctly guessed "G," host Sajak seemed to imply that she was actually at $0 as he said encouragingly, "Well, you got some money back, $700."

Fox News noted that Carla then landed on the $1,000 wedge and correctly guessed "M," bought another vowel for $250, then ultimately solved the puzzle in an "express round."

Yet, the screen initially showed that she'd only won $1,450, then later pegged her winnings at $5,200, per the Decider, leaving many viewers wondering exactly what had happened with her money.

Viewers have questions and theories

Newsweek reported that numerous viewers took to social media to call out "Wheel of Fortune" over its confusing math or possible editing error that resulted in Carla's money having "vanished" or been "erased."

One person wrote on the show's Instagram page, "I don't understand tonight's show ... Where the heck did her $6750 go? ... She should have had a total of $30,149. But because they wiped out her money in the evening breeze puzzle for no reason and only gave her the $5200 and trip amount winnings $7799, that put her at a total of $24,399."

That user went on to suggest that perhaps an "editor screwed up" and there had been "an entire round that wasn't televised" as a possible explanation for the contestant's missing money.

Fox News noted that one individual suggested that Carla actually had landed on the "bankrupt" wedge but it had accidentally been edited out of the show, while another asserted the possibility that the program "deliberately rigged the score" in favor of the night's eventual winner.

According to Decider, the overall winner of the episode was a contestant named Stephen who earned $40,000 in the bonus round and ultimately took home $70,050 in total winnings for the night.

As of yet, it does not appear that "Wheel of Fortune" has issued any sort of comment or explanation in response to the questions from viewers about what actually happened.

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