Central Arkansas couple on “Wheel of Fortune”

Amy and Joe Robbins will appear on the “Wheel of Fortune” on Wednesday. (Special to the Democrat-Gazette/Carol Kaelson/2024 Califon Productions Inc.)
Amy and Joe Robbins will appear on the “Wheel of Fortune” on Wednesday. (Special to the Democrat-Gazette/Carol Kaelson/2024 Califon Productions Inc.)

Amy Robbins has been watching "Wheel of Fortune" since she was a child growing up in Little Rock in the 1980s. When she and Joe Robbins, who have been married for 12 years, first got together, she introduced him to the popular game show, creating another avid "wheel" fan.

"We watch it every night, pretty much while we're eating dinner," Amy said. "We always watch it, and we love it."

Over the years, Amy said she and Joe often thought about being on the show, which pits contestants against each other in solving word puzzles for prizes ranging from cash to trips to automobiles. The 30-minute program, hosted by Pat Sajak with co-star Vanna White, airs at 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday on ABC.

"We wanted to do it together, like explicitly, because it's almost like we solve it for each other," Amy said. "If I know one word, he knows the other word."

Amy is such a "wheel" fan that she subscribes to the show's email newsletter. In November, she got an email announcing auditions for the 2024 season of Sweethearts Week in which married couples join as teams to compete against other couples. "I was like, well, that is what we've always wanted to do; let me just apply," she said. "And, so, I did that on a whim. I didn't even tell Joe about it."

Two week later, in early December, the show's producers contacted her to ask if they wanted to audition. By then she had told Joe, and he was up for it. They agreed and participated in a "meet and greet" session on Zoom where the producers evaluated the potential candidates for their personalities and energy, Amy said. "We were like, we don't know if they're even going to call again," Amy said. But, call they did, and the couple went through round two, a Zoom session where they did word puzzles similar to the show and even competed with other couples.

"After that, we were like, 'OK, they're definitely not going call us now,'" Amy said. "We didn't think we did that well. You know, we were like, 'whatever, that was fun.'" But, lo and behold, they did do well and were invited to California in January to tape the show, which will be aired on Wednesday -- Valentine's Day.

Being on the set, located in Culver City, Calif., was "almost surreal," Amy said, adding that they spent 12 hours at the studio, which included rehearsing taping their episode. They also met Vanna White, the show's glamorous co-star, before the show. "She was just so nice," Amy said, adding that the contestants had assistance with their makeup and hair, "which was also glamorous."

Once the show began, it was over quickly. Show producers told them it would be "the fastest 20 minutes of your life," Amy said. And they were right. "It almost feels like a blur because you're just so excited and so nervous and trying to do your best," Amy added.

So how did they do? You will have to wait and watch on Wednesday. Show policy prohibits contestants from talking about the results prior to the airing of their episode. And even their closest friends and family, who will be joining them for a watch party at the couple's home in Alexander, will have to wait to see who wins. "They tried every tactic to get it out of us, and we have not shared," she said.

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