Senior Raysean Hogan’s dream of appearing on television is finally being recognized. The Temple Student Government President is appearing on an upcoming episode of Wheel of Fortune.
Hogan’s journey began when his grandmother urged him to apply to be on the long running game show.
“Me and my grandmother used to watch it together all the time. She was the major inspiration for this whole thing,” Hogan said.
Four months after applying online, Hogan received an e-mail inviting him to a casting call in Washington, D.C. Hundreds of people waited to take a written puzzle test and to play rounds of the game. Hogan was one of the few who made it to the final round and onto the show.
To prepare for the show Hogan said he watched “Wheel of Fortune” and played hangman with his friends.
In late July, Hogan traveled to Hollywood to tape the episode at Sony Studios. Once Hogan arrived, he, along with the other contestants and a few alternates, was sent to a private room while they waited to spin the wheel.
Hogan said they were not allowed to talk to employees at the studio in order to prevent them from jeopardizing the integrity of the game.
Co-host Vanna White kept the contestants company before she went into hair and makeup. Her minimal makeup and sweat suit were a contrast from the designer dresses she wears while flipping letters, Hogan said.
“I don’t think I’d recognize her if she’d walk past me on the street, but when she came in she had a presence about her and you know its Vanna White,” Hogan said.
According to Hogan, Pat Sajak, the other host of the show, put the contestants at ease when they stepped up to the wheel.
“He was great, an amazing personality, he knows how to calm people down and make them forget they’re on TV,” Hogan said.
Hogan faced off against two older women but said it was not competitive. He said that everyone was comfortable because they had gotten to know each other earlier in the day.
Hogan’s mother, aunt and best friend all attended the taping to support him and cheer him on. Although the on-camera experience might make some nervous, Hogan said he was at ease in front of the crowd.
While Hogan taped the show, he taped some “Hometown Howdies”. Hometown howdies are shout-outs taped to air in the contestant’s network to advertise the show. Hogan’s “Hometown Howdy” will air in Philadelphia before the show.
Hogan has to keep it a secret whether or not he won. He said he wants to surprise all his friends about the outcome, and said his episode is very funny.
The show airs Sept. 20 at 7:30 p.m. on ABC. Hogan has invited the Temple community join him to watch the program at the Draught Horse restaurant on Cecil B. Moore Avenue.
“I just want everyone to watch. If they can, come out to the Draught Horse at 7 o’clock,” Hogan said.
Because of Hogan’s experience, many of his friends have also applied to be on the show. Hogan encourages everyone to try to get on to spin the wheel.
“I didn’t think I could do it, so anyone can do it,” Hogan said.
LeAnne Matlach can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.