Wheel of Fortune heads to the Big Easy

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WDAM) - A popular television game show which made its debut in 1975 has taken it's set to "The Big Easy" for its 28th season.

Wheel of Fortune has worked its way back to New Orleans, giving gulf coast residents another shot at spinning the wheel, and local media representatives were invited for a behind the scenes look at how the show is created.

It's one of the most popular televised game shows, with a little bit of New Orleans flare.

The entire Los Angeles based crew of Wheel of Fortune, headed to the big easy to tape three weeks worth of episodes in three days.

"We bring about 120 people with us and hire another 200 locals," said Executive Producer, Harry Friedman. "Everything from riggers, carpenters, pages, electricians."

As a viewer, everything seems to flow so easily, but if you ask Friedman, the show's Executive Producer for the last 17 years, it takes a lot and definitely costs a lot, to shoot on location.

"The whole endeavor is close to $4 million."

Friedman said, the set, which mirrors different locations in New Orleans, was designed and built in L.A., then driven down along with approximately one million pounds of other equipment.

The show only tapes on location twice a year and this is the first time that Wheel of Fortune has been back in New Orleans since hurricane Katrina. The last time they were here, they were evacuated.@

Host of the long-time syndicated game show, Pat Sajak said,

"For the first time ever we had to cancel a day's taping, it was our last day here and we just barely got the set and all of our people out."

His co-host Vanna White said she couldn't be happier about returning to the South. "It is so great to be back here! It's been five years and I love New Orleans, I always have. I have been here many, many times not only with Wheel but on a personal level."

More than 10,000 people try out each year and less than 600 lucky contestants join Pat and Vanna on the set and spin the wheel, hoping to win a fortune.

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