Archive for Vanna White

LA…In A Nutshell!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 20, 2009 by sizzlemaker

Though Wheel of Fortune was our sole purpose for going to Los Angeles this past week, we decided to stay and make a vacation out of it. After all, how can you blog about the entertainment industry and not explore the land where it all goes down? Here’s some of our findings:

Los Angeles is more of an area, than an actual city. Sure, there are some addresses that explicitly have Los Angeles in them, but the greater Los Angeles area actually contains a significant number of towns and neighborhoods, stretching many miles in all directions.

Driving along Pacific Coast Highway (often referenced on TV as PCH) at sunset is as beautiful as it’s been made out to be.

In N Out Burger is extremely overrated.

We went to Bardot Hollywood, a place often mentioned in magazines for star sightings. Much to our disappointment, we saw no one. In fact, we were one of only two parties there. We’re kind of new to the whole clubbing scene. Perhaps 9:30pm was too early to go?

We dedicated a whole day to sightseeing locations featured on Beverly Hills, 90210. You can read more about that here. In case you didn’t know, everything looks so much bigger on TV! We were continually shocked by how small everything—from the Wheel of Fortune set to 90210’s Walsh House—was in reality!

Another day was dedicated to Disneyland, including its California Adventure theme park. We saw a surprisingly low number of characters but Mickey and Minnie made it all worth it (even if it took us all day to find them!).

California Adventure is noteworthy for its recreation of a Hollywood back lot and some classic movie scenes and paraphernalia. Disneyland, however, also has some movie-themed rides like Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean.

We traveled about an hour south of LAX to Laguna Beach. L.C. did not seem to be in town, but we spoke to some kids who went to the same high school. Apparently being on the show is quite uncool. Who knew?

Los Angeles traffic was not as bad as we expected. And the weather was way warmer than it should’ve been this time of year. Guess we lucked out!

One night we went to The Grove and Farmer’s Market, which was bustling with people and energy as well as your typical mall stores and chain restaurants. The Beverly Center, on the other hand, had more high-scale stores but a lot less people.

The Hollywood sign was cool to see in person, even if it was high up on a mountain that we had no idea how to traverse.

Grauman’s Theatre and the Walk of Fame surrounding it was in a surprisingly grimy and sketchy area. The Kodak Theatre, which was only down the block, didn’t seem that nice from the outside, either. How television and movies can deceive you!

We ate at Yogurtland, a self-serve and superior version of Pinkberry and Red Mango, and Pink’s, a hot dog stand that’s nearly 70 years old.  Both were incredibly worth it.

We also had lunch at The Ivy, another place famous for star sightings but alas, we had none. In fact, we spent 5 days in La La Land and never once saw a celebrity (unless you count Vanna White and Pat Sajak). Major disappointment!

Key pictures will be posted in the coming days. Back to our usual reporting tomorrow.

**We surpassed 10,000 hits yesterday!  Thank you all for your support!  We’re taking baby-steps to world domination!**

Wheel of Fortune Recap Part One

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 16, 2009 by sizzlemaker

WOW!  That was quite an experience.  And we’ll tell you all about it!

We know what you really want to know: how did Sizzlemaker do?

We’re not telling…yet.  We’re going to keep you in suspense for a bit!

But here are the deets we will share right now…

Arrived at Sony Studios in Culver City at approximately 7:45 am and met the other 19 contestants– the 17 (plus me) scheduled and 2 alternates.  We ranged from ages 20 to 5o+ and came from all over the country, including some locals and one person from Hawaii.

A decent breakfast spread was provided: oatmeal, muffins, cereal bars, etc.

We filled out the first of many forms and were briefed by the outside company in charge of fairness and legitimacy.

We went through the contract that we all had to sign, 30-something pages in all.  Had basic info, such as the rules about getting your prizes, disclosing all potential conflicts of interests (like being on another game or reality show recently) and…whether or not you’ve ever been convicted of a felony.

We all had our makeup professionally done (partly with airbrush–quite cool!) even though we still had several hours until the first of the six shows would be taped.

We went on the set to practice spinning the wheel–much heavier than you would think; definitely had some trouble!–and learn about the different monitors we needed to pay attention to.  We also filmed Hometown Howdys, which are little spots advertising our appearance and airing on our local stations.

During this time, Vanna White popped in to say hello!  She had no make-up on and wore pajama bottoms.  Not a pretty site.

Next we went over all the rules and procedures of the game, including the different types of rounds and categories.  Though it seems there are couple that are most common, there are actually more than 30!

We had a pre-lunch break, with mini-wraps, cheeses and little pepperonis and some other mystery meat.

After that they announced our pre-determined groups of 3.  Sizzlemaker was going to face-off against a 20-year-old college student from Idaho and a 29-year-old paramedic from Washington.

Sizzlemaker was given the blessing (curse?) of choosing a numbered golf ball out of a bucket, which determined our place in the show order.  Our number: six.  Of six.  That’s right, folks.  Got there before 8 and didn’t tape until after 5pm! We also used similar balls to determine our placing on stage.  Sizzlemaker got the number two position, yellow and center.

Next we had a rehearsal where we again practiced spinning the wheel, but this time with calling out letters and solving puzzles.  Not exactly the most realistic simulation but it was sufficient.

The first taping began a little after noon.  The audience (which numbered less than 100) consisted of contestants, their guests and other random people who got tickets.  The contestants, of course, sat separately and could not communicate with anyone but staff.  In fact, no one was allowed into the building with a cell phone and contestants weren’t even allowed to bring reading material!

The first five episodes, which will air the first week in February, were themed “Gone Fishin'” so a lot of the puzzles and prizes had to do with that.  The set’s backdrop was a log cabin which didn’t seem to make that much sense.

Though the show is less than a half an hour when you take out commercial breaks, it took anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes to film each episode.  Why the differences?  Depended on glitches and technical issues and how fast the contestants solved the puzzles.  We also got to each lunch during the taping: pizza and lots of junk food!

So how exactly did the game work?  The first round is called Toss-Up and it’s worth $1,000.  Letters start popping up on the board, one-by-one and randomly, and anyone can buzz in to solve the puzzle.  The second round is another Toss-Up, this time worth $2,000 and control of the game.  Whoever wins that second rounds gets to spin the wheel first in third round, a general turn-by-turn spinning of the wheel and guessing letters.

The fourth round is always the Jackpot Round, where the amount landed on with each spin accumulates into a pot.  If you land on Jackpot and correctly guess the letter, you have the opportunity to solve the puzzle and win the Jackpot.  If you land on it and fail to do either of those things, the Jackpot disappears completely.  This is followed by the Mystery Round, where one of the wedges is secretly worth $10,000…or could give you bankruptcy.  It’s your decision, once you correctly call a letter, to decide whether you want $1,000 per a letter or to flip the wedge over to see if it’s the ten grand or bankruptcy.  One of rounds 2 through 4 will also be a Prize Puzzle, which means whoever solves the puzzle gets a prize, usually a trip of some sort.  The fifth round is another Toss-Up, this time worth $3,000 and control of the game.

The sixth round is usually the last, and because time is running out, Pat Sajak will give the wheel a final spin and each contestant will have chances to call out letters for that value.  After successfully calling a letter, you have 3 seconds to solve the puzzle, or else the next contestant gets to try.  The contestant with the most money (in cash and prizes) at the end of this goes to the Bonus Round.  In the Bonus Round, you spin a miniature wheel which designates an envelope with a prize that will be revealed later.  R, S, T, L, N and E are revealed in the puzzle and then you get to choose 3 more constonants and a vowel.  You then have 10 seconds to try to solve the puzzle.  Regardless of whether you do, Pat reveals what the envelope holds at the end (could be $20,000 to $100,000 or a car) but you of course only get the prize if you’ve solved the puzzle.

Interesting things: if you win a prize during a round (separate from the Prize Puzzle itself) but do not win the round by solving the puzzle, you lose your prize!  Also, winning the $1,000,000 is a multi-step process.  First you must land on that wedge when you spin and then correctly call a letter.  If you win that round, you’re still in the running towards the million.  If you lose the round, you lose the chance at the million and it’s gone for everyone for the whole game.  In order to keep working towards the million, you then have to have the most money and go on to the Bonus Round.  Finally, you must correctly solve the Bonus Puzzle and then pray and hope the envelope you chose says $1,000.  That’s right: landing on the million wedge means nothing if you don’t win that specific round, make it to the bonus round, win and happen to pick the right envelope.  Incredibly difficult and very low odds.  There’s only been one million winner in the show’s history, though this opportunity is pretty new.

All that being said, how did everyone do?

The lowest amount won: $1,000

The highest amount won: about $60,000

Some of the trips won: Aruba, Mexico, Paris, London, San Francisco, etc.

And how did we do?  You’ll have to wait til tomorrow to find out!

Check back then for a full-recap of Sizzlemaker’s specific game…and winnings!