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The Wheel On Wheel Of Fortune Weighs A Lot More Than You Think

It's always fun to scream at the contestants on "Wheel of Fortune" when you know the puzzle before they do. It's kind of an American tradition. The really unfortunate guessers even end up going viral, which is a modern wrinkle to the ever-popular game show that has been delighting (and puzzling) viewers since it debuted in 1975. Also, it should give you second thoughts about running to the next audition — but you do you. The venerable show, hosted by Pat Sajak and letter-maven Vanna White, is still going strong, airing every weeknight opposite longtime companion "Jeopardy." While "Jeopardy" seems more challenging at first glance, the bonus round on "Wheel" often feels designed for a cryptologist like Robert Langdon from "The Da Vinci Code." Mercifully, it only lasts 10 seconds.

The early round puzzles may not be quite as diabolically constructed, but there are fiendish challenges there as well, namely in the form of the giant, colorful wheel — which often is a wheel of mis-fortune. Yes, laced between the monetary values and glitzy prize wedges are traps aplenty. As if the "Lose a Turn" spot isn't bad enough, several evil "Bankrupt" slots wipe out unsuspecting players with almost suspicious frequency. Then there's a 50/50 wedge that can either be $10,000 or a Bankrupt slot — and somehow it's usually Bankrupt. Most nights, it's like watching people struggle in a casino. Except these people are on TV and have to smile.

So what's up with that big spectacular wheel? Sure, it adds fun and mystery, but why is it so hard for contestants to avoid its seemingly few pitfalls? Is it hard to spin? Have you ever wondered how much that thing even weighs?

The Wheel of Fortune wheel weighs a ton

According to ABC News, the mighty "Wheel of Fortune" wheel actually weighs 2,400 pounds, so they probably don't have to worry about anyone sneaking off with it as a memento. Maybe this explains why players never seem to send it flying — unlike the smaller bonus round wheel which sometimes zips around like a Tasmanian Devil. The big wheel also apparently has 200 computerized lights that can turn up to 2 million colors, even though it never actually seems lit in any way, but whatever. Also, there are 73 handle pins on the iconic spinner. All in all, it's bigger than it seems.

At the end of the day, though, the wheel is just part of your fortune on the show. Contestants still have to solve the word puzzles by guessing the right consonants and filling in the blanks, which certainly is not always as easy as it looks. Vowels can be purchased along the way, but as with consonants, a wrong letter will cost you a turn. Also, there are very specific rules about trying to solve, so you must only say exactly what appears on the board. Add an extra ill-timed "the" and you're toast. Even mispronouncing a word in the slightest way — such as dropping the "g" in "swimming" – could lead to a wrong answer. No pressure.

Keep in mind about 10,000 people audition for "Wheel of Fortune" every year, and only 600 make it. So if you like those odds and want to take your chances, give it a shot. Just remember, that wheel is a lot heavier than it looks.