This Is Why Fans Are Mad at "Wheel of Fortune"

Kali Coleman
·5 min read

Americans all across the nation tune into Wheel of Fortune every week to see contestants dive into a series of wordplay games in the hopes of winning big. As one of the longest-running syndicated game shows in the U.S., Wheel of Fortune has amassed quite the fanbase since its premiere in 1983. However, just because you amass fans doesn't mean you're going to keep them—especially if you make them mad. Read on to find out what has fans angry at Wheel of Fortune after a recent episode, and for more TV news, Kathie Lee Gifford Says This Celeb Was Her Worst Live Interview Ever.

Fans are outraged after a recent Wheel of Fortune contestant lost over a technicality.

David Petersen became the latest Wheel of Fortune contestant to lose based on a minor technicality. On the March 31 episode, Petersen tried to solve a puzzle, answering, "sole, flounder, cod, and catfish." Host Pat Sajak dismissed the answer, saying it wasn't right. But when another contestant, Danielle, answered "sole, flounder, cod, catfish" without the "and," she was told she had correctly solved the puzzle.

Since then, outraged viewers have taken to social media to express their frustration with Petersen's loss and Wheel of Fortune's technicality. "Wheel of Fortune does not need to be like this," one Twitter user tweeted, accompanied by a video clip of Petersen's loss. Another user directly tagged the official Wheel of Fortune Twitter page, tweeting, "Another contestant losing out on money because they said AND on the crossword puzzle. @WheelofFortune just change the dumbest rule ever and allow this."

"Wheel of Fortune's draconian rule where you lose if you add 'and' to the crossword puzzle has to go," another Twitter user said. They further added that the rule "just isn't natural" and "Pat having to remind contestants of that rule and no other rule just goes to show how poorly thought out it was." And for another recent game show controversy, Jeopardy! Fans Are Boycotting the Show Because of This Guest Host.

This has been a longstanding rule on Wheel of Fortune.

"Say everything, don't add anything," Sajak said before both contestants answered. This is because the crossword puzzle round on Wheel of Fortune is a categorical list, typically containing four words. When contestants answer, the show has a rule that contestants are not allowed to add or subtract anything while saying the four words—including the word "and" in between the last two words on the list.

"I know it's always confusing. David did that thing that's so easy to do. You added the 'and,'" Sajak said after Danielle was named the winner of the crossword puzzle.

"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," a spokesperson for the show told Fox News. "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." And for more television drama, Tina Fey Says This Celebrity Guest Was a "Disaster" On SNL.

Petersen admitted the error is easier to make than people may think.

Some fans have gone the "rules are rules" route, however, questioning how contestants could even make this mistake after being reminded of the rule by Sajak before answering. But according to Petersen, it's a much easier mistake to make than many realize when facing the lights, cameras, and crowd.

"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 told Fox News. "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. You literally have to voluntarily turn off that English language syntax that we've been trained in for years." And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

And he thinks a rule change could be the right move by the show.

Petersen told Fox News that he's all for a rule change if it helps the overall competition and keeps future contestants from losing out. "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," Petersen said. But if Wheel of Fortune doesn't want to make a rule change, Petersen suggests making the rule even clearer during the game.

"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 said. "He's having to say it consistently because people mess up on that, because it's a natural part of the English language."

However, Petersen also said he understands he lost in accordance with the rules. "I do not deserve to win that Wheel of Fortune money prize for attempting to solve the crossword puzzle," he told Fox News. "The rules stated during my game that you cannot add anything and I added the word 'and.' There's nothing unfair about what happened. It's a rule." And for more recent game show news, Shailene Woodley Just Posted a Rare Video Gushing About Aaron Rodgers' New Gig.