The episode featuring the 39-year-old Camanche, Iowa, resident — a licensed insurance agent who works in customer service for Allstate in Moline — will air at 6:30 p.m. Thursday on KWQC-TV6.
“I’ve been watching the show since I was a little kid,” Donahue said. “I love how everybody gets to win something. It’s so easy to play along at home with it. It’s hangman with a wheel. It’s good family fun.”
For the Los Angeles taping, he got to see the return of host Sajak, 73, who returned after weeks off while undergoing emergency surgery for a blocked intestine. The Chicago native has hosted “Wheel” since 1983 and holds the Guinness World Records title for longest career of any game-show host on the same show.
“That was really cool to see him; you couldn’t tell anything was wrong with him,” Donahue said. “He was the same guy you see every night.”
Donahue has been tuning in to “America’s Game” for over 30 years and loves playing along at home on the “Wheel of Fortune Free Play” mobile app and on Wheel of Fortune’s Twitter page. Donahue grew up moving around the world with his family, since his dad worked for Caterpillar, including in Tennessee, Texas, Australia and Belgium.
“ ‘Wheel of Fortune’ was one of the constants,” he said, noting he graduated from high school in a Cincinnati suburb and from Quincy University in Quincy, Ill. Donahue’s wife of 13 years, Sheila, works as a psychologist at the prison in Thomson, Ill.
You have free articles remaining.
He applied to be on “Wheel” in September and auditioned in Chicago in October. They made a weeklong trip to L.A., with his mother, around the taping. Before he left, his Allstate co-workers had a special “Wheel of Fortune” cake made for him from Moline’s Olde Towne Bakery.
“That was an incredible cake,” Donahue said. “That thing was huge. Kudos to Olde Towne Bakery. It was delicious…They helped me eat it here. They also got me a pair of ‘Wheel of Fortune’ socks, and I actually wore those to the taping.”
During this week of “British Landscapes” on the show, the set was decorated with scenic British views, and the shows feature segments of Sajak and Vanna White recorded throughout the UK.
Viewers at home will want to pay attention to the Bonus Round. By registering and entering the Bonus Round puzzle solution at WheelofFortune.com after each show, viewers have a chance to win a trip as part of the “Collette UK Giveaway.”
Donahue watches the show every night, he said, and while he’ll tune in at home Thursday — where he has no children, but two dogs, two cats and a chinchilla — he’ll show the episode again with friends and family Saturday night on a 75-inch TV at The Living Room in Clinton.
He’s not allowed to divulge the outcome until after the episode airs.
“My co-workers have been trying their best to get it out of me, but they’ll have to wait for the show.”
Lisa Perkins of Davenport won $15,100 in an episode that aired Nov. 14, 2019.