Northville man gets to spin ‘Wheel of Fortune’

NORTHVILLE – Since he was an infant, Joe Spano has been excited to hear the theme music of the “Wheel of Fortune,” but it was never more pleasing than when he heard it as a contestant during taping of the show in October.

The 27-year-old village resident – a stuntman, Taekwando instructor and substitute teacher – was living in Los Angeles for a couple months last year when he applied to be on the show. He had moved to New York City by the time he was called in for an audition.

Spano took a flight to and from Los Angeles for the audition where he was given a written test and ran through a practice run of the show.

“They give you a written test. If you don’t pass the test, you don’t get on the show,” Spano said. “You have to say your name with a big smile.”

Shortly after his return from the audition, he was headed back to Los Angeles, this time for the full experience – Pat Sajak, Vanna White, the white and green letter board, and of course, the multi-colored wheel, which Spano told his mother, Joanne Muscari, was really heavy.

Being on the show was a new and surprising experience for Spano.

“All day during rehearsal I kept thinking ‘This is going to be so much fun,'” he said. “They tape six shows during the day, and I was fourth. I was watching and laughing as all the people I was hanging out with during the day were playing. Then it got to be my turn, and I got nervous.

“My heart was beating a thousand miles a minute. I kept worrying they would get the puzzle before me. It was still one of the best experiences of my life. It was so much fun, as nerve-wracking as it was.”

Muscari said she found out her son would be on the show when he did – when Spano flew out to Los Angeles for the second time in October.

Since then, Muscari has invited more than 4,000 people on Facebook to tune into the airing of her son’s go at the game at 7 p.m. Thursday on WTEN channel 10.

Muscari said she’s happy she gets to learn how her son did.

Spano had to sign a contract promising he wouldn’t tell anyone what happened until after the airing. Muscari said she’s glad her son had the experience.

“He enjoyed the whole experience,” she said. ” … I watch it. Not as avid as him. He watches it every week. He’s been watching it forever.”

Spano will be heading to New York City to join his brother to watch the airing.