Be sure to try and watch Renee Eader, who gives her Coronado residency a shout-out during the show, be a contestant on the Wheel of Fortune gameshow Wednesday evening.
Eader grew up in Coronado, attending school here, her father a local handyman, and now she’s raising her nine-year-old son here, who’s in the fourth grade. She serves as a medical assistant in Hillcrest, and in her spare time shared she loves to hit the beach as well as cheer on the Los Angeles Chargers.
“I had no makeup on; I wasn’t doing anything fancy,” she laughed a bit as she recalled how she joined the show’s selection process by taking a short submission video of herself. “My cousins have both been on. One won and one didn’t. I said I wanted to break the tie.”
The Coronado local said the show emailed her to be in a virtual audition with a producer and other contestants. She said they later let her know they liked how she solved the puzzles, her smile and the entertainment she brought, and that she was picked to be on.
(Talking to her, you get it.)
She could’ve been invited to a taping up to a year later, but it wasn’t long before she was contacted to see if she could appear for a mid-October recording.
Eader took the opportunity, even with short notice and in the midst of a pandemic. Due to the coronavirus, the show films six episodes in 12 hours, 7 am to 7 pm. So the Coronado contestant drove to L.A., parking in the Jeopardy lot. She couldn’t bring family or friends because of safety guidelines, but she said the contestants try to enjoy the process alone as well as serve as audience members when their show isn’t being filmed.
Eader drew show number three so she had time to relax her nerves a bit.
“It was so much fun,” she added, discussing how she met Pat Sajak, drew the color red spot so she was actually nearest Sajak, and how Vanna White was there too.
The puzzle-solver explained how she grew up watching the show in Mira Mesa with her cousin and Aunt Diane, who had multiple sclerosis and was often bedridden. Eader lived with her aunt for a time as well. Eader’s cousin, Janelle, who’s now in L.A. with her family, made it onto the Wheel of Fortune a couple years ago and even went on to the Bonus Round — and won, taking home over $50,000. Janelle’s husband, RJ, also made it on the show and to the Bonus Round — though he didn’t win, he walked away with $20,000.
“We would watch all the time and she would love it,” Eader said of her family and aunt.
The contestant said the puzzles she had during the recording were amazing and that Pat and Vanna were very nice and joking around. As an audience member, you could follow the puzzles on a suspended TV screen if camera equipment was in the way, as well as applaud when the applause button was lit up — and enthusiastically encourage contestants to flip the Mystery Wedge when that decision was being weighed.
Wheel Watchers Club members pay specific attention to the Mystery Round. If the $10,000 Mystery Wedge is won by a contestant, then the SPIN ID of a loyal viewer at home is revealed, giving that person the chance to also win $10,000.
Eader said officials check everything and described how the Wheel is quite heavy.
“They tell you to reach out with your chosen arm and push through, pull and push through,” she said with a smile, recalling having to work hard to push the Wheel more than a couple wedges, how you can’t try to control or time it, bending far over, having to lift a leg sometimes and trying to balance on the platform.
She joked we may see her teeter when she slipped off the platform once.
Eader observed how everything felt safe for the filming, with COVID-19 testing beforehand, mask-wearing, remaining six feet apart and the like.
She said she hoped to measure up and take home enough cash winnings to save up for her son’s future, help out friends and family, and get a “mommy makeover.”
The Coronado resident will be shown spinning the Wheel and solving puzzles to win vacations and cash prizes as part of “Happy New Year!” week. The show reports it’s never been easier to audition to become a contestant on “America’s Game®.” Wheel of Fortune fans can submit an application online for a chance to be invited to a virtual audition.
If selected to be on the show, everyone goes home with a minimum of $1,000.
Tune in to watch Eader — one of our own — on NBC 7 (KNSD) at 7 pm this Wednesday, Dec. 30.