Nevada’s “Wheel of Fortune” contestant Charlene Rubusch missed her chance to win an Audi Q3 car earlier this week while briefly pausing while offering a technically correct answer under game show rules. But when automaker executives heard about the incident, they rushed to the rescue and gave it a brand new Q3.
Rubush reached the bonus round on Monday, in which she was asked to solve a four-word puzzle. He beat the 10-second timer and correctly guessed the phrase “choosing the right word”. But host Pat Sajak told Rubush that she lost because of the five-second pause between pronouncing the words “correct” and “word.”
“You know, it’s hard because you’ve said all the right words, including the word ‘word’—but, as you know, it must be more or less continuous,” Sajak told Rubash. “We’ll pause for a bit, but not four or five seconds.”
Sajak also tells her that he did a good job guessing the phrase, “But we can’t give you the prize.” A clearly disappointed Roush walked away with $16,500 in cash instead. According to Audi, the third quarter of 2021 starts at $34,000.
Wheel of Fortune fans who watched the episode immediately protested, saying that Rubush was robbed. Video snippets from the show were soon posted on social media as people expressed their disapproval.
“Come on @WheelofFortune, lady literally picked the right word,” tweeted Alex Jacob, who won the Tournament of Champions on Jopardi in 2015. “Give him the car.”
Seth Weinstein, a Massachusetts pianist, said that Rubush’s case shows that television producers need to apply the same rules to game shows.
“I like games with strict rules, but I would rate it as a win,” Weinstein said, citing the “danger”. tweeted, “On a daily double you can immediately say ‘what’s it’ and then fill in the rest just before the buzzer. Why not the equivalent here?”
As this week progressed, the Twitter hashtag #GiveHerTheQ3 began to gain momentum. Then Audi stepped in. company announced on Wednesday that she would give Rubush the same model car she tried to win at “Wheel of Fortune.”
“You are the winner of Charlene in our eyes,” the company tweeted. “Now, let’s get you a prize. It’s time to #GiveHerTheQ3.”
Audi confirmed the car to be cheaper in a statement to Newsweek, saying the car would be gifted to Rubush.
,[We] Watched Charlene’s ‘Wheel of Fortune’ episode on Monday and were collectively disappointed that she missed the opportunity to take home the Audi Q3 due to a technicality,” the company said.
“Wheel of Fortune”, which has been on air since 1975 and is owned by Sony Pictures Television, did not return a request for comment. It’s unclear whether the game show will continue to enforce its rule on pauses between words.
In April, “Wheel of Fortune” fans even raided against one of the game show’s rules, when a different contestant lost the crossword puzzle challenge because he used the word “and” in his response to list a group of words. Used, which is not allowed. Entertainment Weekly reported that fans have called for the show to end the rule.