UIC senior takes ‘Wheel of Fortune’ for a spin

Joseph Promisco

Joseph Promisco appears on “Wheel of Fortune” Monday.

Joseph Promisco looked straight at the puzzle board and down at the wheel.

He heard the announcer say, “From Sony Pictures Studios … it’s America’s Game.”

That’s when, Promisco said, he fully realized: this is it.

He was on “Wheel of Fortune.”

Promisco, a senior in finance in the College of Business Administration, competed during the game show’s College Week in an episode that airs Monday at 6:30 p.m. on WLS-TV.

On “Wheel of Fortune,” contestants solve word puzzles to win cash and prizes determined by spinning a giant carnival wheel. The show’s hosts are Pat Sajak and Vanna White.

Promisco, of Elmwood Park, submitted a video online last year introducing himself and explaining why he would be a good contestant. Last April, he received an email from the show inviting him to a final audition at the Palmer House Hilton downtown.

“The audition lasted a few hours, which included playing a mock version of the game and taking a written test,” Promisco said. “They told us if we received a letter in the mail in two weeks, we were picked for the show. If not, ‘Thank you for trying.’”

Two weeks later, on the last day of finals, Promisco’s mom texted him between exams to say he got the letter in the mail. He was officially placed in the contestant pool in May 2013 and was invited to appear on the show about three months ago.

“I called my family and gave them the good news and immediately went home to start booking my trip,” he said.

After he learned he would be a contestant, Promisco practiced the game on iPhone and Wii. He read a fan forum and searched online for what other people had to say about their experience so he would know what to expect.

During the taping in Hollywood, Promisco wore blue dress pants and a UIC sweatshirt he got at the UIC Bookstore with assistance from the CBA Career Center.

“The other contestants were very friendly and probably just as nervous as I was,” he said. “We got to know each other, which was a great bonding experience.”

His blog post as the featured contestant will be posted during College Week.

Promisco said he was thrilled by the opportunity to be on a show he’s been watching since he was a kid.

“It was a very surreal experience,” he said. “The only thing bittersweet thing about it is that you can only be on the show once.”

Promisco said he plans on attending law school after graduation.

“I actually put on my resume with my applications that I was appearing on the show as one of my accomplishments. I’d like to assume it helped, or at least got their attention,” he said.


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