2013-05-02 / Front Page

Old Bridge resident says game show is the ‘Wheel’ deal

Anne Marie Magliulo will appear on episode of ‘Wheel of Fortune’ on May 7
Staff Writer

Anne Marie A. Magliulo, of Old Bridge, recently taped an episode of “Wheel of Fortune” in New York City, which will air May 7 during Mom’s Week. She and her family celebrated at Ruby Tuesday in Old Bridge after the taping. Anne Marie A. Magliulo, of Old Bridge, recently taped an episode of “Wheel of Fortune” in New York City, which will air May 7 during Mom’s Week. She and her family celebrated at Ruby Tuesday in Old Bridge after the taping. OLD BRIDGE — Anne Marie Magliulo has been watching “Wheel of Fortune” since the show was still a daytime special in the late 1970s.

“My friends and family always said I really needed to get on the show,” she said. “I have a knack for wordplay and all that.”

Heeding their advice and counting on her natural aptitude, Magliulo auditioned for “Wheel of Fortune” several times throughout her adult life, but was lost in an overwhelming sea of applicants each time.

“I kept pre-auditioning but never got the call,” she said. “You tell yourself, ‘What are the chances?’”

Jaded after so many failed attempts, Magliulo considered throwing in the towel — but not before one last effort.

“I applied, sent in a picture, went through all the motions, and three weeks later, I got an email from them saying they would call me over the next 18 months to be on the show. I jumped on my husband and just about gave him a hernia.”

Magliulo said her knee-jerk excitement at the prospect of appearing on TV quickly yielded to anxious thoughts.

“When I read that 9 million people watch it every day, I almost passed out,” she said.

As if the pressure of 18 million eyeballs peering in from across the nation was not enough, Magliulo, a mother of two, was chosen to participate in the Mother’s Day Special show that was taped at Madison Square Garden in New York City on March 16.

“The normal studio audience [in Culver City, Calif.] only has a few hundred [seats], but Madison Square Garden was filled with people,” she said.

Preparation on the day of the show was an additional stressor and an allday affair, Magliulo said.

“It was like being sequestered from a jury — your phone is taken from you, there are constant press statements telling you what to say and how to say it, you practice on the wheel and you sign tons of paperwork,” she said. “I was a nervous wreck; I was not in my right mind. I was having migraines.”

During the frenzied come-up to filming, Magliulo said she was fortunate enough to meet Pat Sajak and Vanna White, the show’s famous hosts.

“Pat Sajak was a very silly, quirky person, just like on the show. Vanna White was so sweet; she answered questions and all. Their dynamic is just amazing,” she said.

When it finally came time to film some six hours after arriving on set, Magliulo was able to calm her nerves.

“I thought I would lose it, but I was so focused. I was exactly where I knew I’d be — the puzzles came to me in two seconds,” she said. “I was probably more composed on stage than [my family] was in the audience — all of them were disaster messes. We were all sweating; none of us can even remember the puzzles.”

Magliulo said that being a contestant gave her a compelling, inside perspective on show business.

“It’s really an experience. If you watch the show, you see Vanna [and] you see Pat, but what you see is just the set. There’s 125 people piecing together a show that’s just 20 minutes long. The behind-the-scenes stuff is really amazing. They taped all five episodes for that week in front of two separate studio audiences,” she said.

After filming was complete, Magliulo headed back to Old Bridge to celebrate at the Ruby Tuesday restaurant on Route 9 with her mother, husband, son and two sisters.

“I wore my nametag to the restaurant,” she said. “People were coming up to me to take pictures.”

Magliulo’s episode will air on May 7 at 7:30 p.m. on W-ABC Channel 7. Magliulo will hold a viewing party at her Old Bridge home to celebrate with friends and family.

Although contractually she is not able to disclose whether she was a winning contestant, Magliulo said the experience was breathtaking.

“I wish the wheel had been kinder to me though. If I had the wheel in my possession, it would’ve been all mine. It really is the ‘wheel of fortune,’” she said.

Contact Thomas Castles at tcastles@gmnews.com.

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