A special milestone! Wheel of Fortune made history after two finalists in a row, Lisa Kramer and Mark Baer, each ended their episodes by taking home $100,000 — the highest bonus prize possible.
“On yesterday’s show, we gave $100,000 in the Bonus Round. I checked the rules. It can happen two days in a row. Nothing says you can’t do that,” host Pat Sajak said on Tuesday, February 8, about the accomplishment.
The back-to-back wins are a first for the game show, which has been on the air since 1975. Kramer was the first contestant to take home the major payday after participating in the bonus round during the Monday, February 7, episode, which brought her total earnings to $116,700. The following day, Baer also scored the bonus prize and walked away with $126,550.
Sajak, 75, who joined the ABC show in 1981, was shocked by the results.
“It’s never happened,” he added on Tuesday. “And wouldn’t you know it, I just sold all my confetti stock … There’s always something new around here, isn’t there?”
After the episode, the television personality spoke to daughter Maggie Sajak about the unexpected twist.
“We are heading into our 40th season in the fall and yet we still see things we haven’t saw before on the show. Maggie, I was stunned. I never thought that I would see that,” he told his daughter, 27, in an Instagram video on Tuesday, noting that a third win would be a “bit of a long shot” for the series. “We have already taped the [next] show and I would say it was exciting just to be in a position where that was a possibility.”
Shortly before the historic moment, the game show received backlash from fans when a player lost out on an Audi car.
In December 2021, Charlene Rubush made headlines when a technicality forced a disappointing result in the bonus round. During the “What Are You Doing?” puzzle, Rubush initially guessed “Choosing the right card,” before changing her answer to “Choosing the right … word.”
Although the participant locked in her final answer before the buzzer, Pat claimed she hesitated a beat too long for it to count.
“You know, this one’s tough because you said all the right words, including the word ‘word’ but, as you know, it’s gotta be more or less continuous,” he said at the time. “We’ll allow for a little pause but not four or five seconds. I’m sorry. You did a good job in getting it, but we can’t give you the prize, and it was the Audi.”
Viewers quickly questioned the rule that led to the controversial decision. The online outrage inspired Audi to step in and reward Rubush for her hard work.
“You’re a winner in our eyes, Charlene. Now, let’s get you a prize. Time to #GiveHerTheQ3,” the official account for the company tweeted at the time.