The guy who correctly guessed the remaining letters in "Ne_ ____ _____" on "Wheel of Fortune" last night -- ON HIS FIRST TRY -- tells TMZ, the game was not rigged ... he really did pull the right answer out of his ass.
Emil De Leon -- who won $45,000 for the insane guess -- is a nursing student at the NCP College of Nursing in San Fran ... and while the show was being filmed in January, he was studying pediatrics.
Emil says he had babies on his mind during the show and got completely lucky -- once you watch the clip, you'll understand why this makes sense. Emil also says he's watched "Wheel of Fortune" forever and he's pretty much a pro at solving word puzzles.
Emil adds, Pat Sajak and Vanna White even pulled him aside afterward and told him he was one of the best players ever.
As for what Emil plans to do with his money -- he says he'll be putting most of it towards his nursing degree ... but plans to splurge a little on a trip to Cabo very soon.
See if you can guess Emil's answer before watching the clip.
Valentine's Date with Vanna ...
Do We Have to Spell It Out?
2/14/2014 5:00 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
'Wheel Of Fortune'
We Feel TERRIBLE About Last Night's 'Fast & Furious' Puzzle
12/3/2013 7:28 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
File this one under: OOOPS.
"Wheel of Fortune" aired an episode last night that featured a puzzle with the answer "The Fast and the Furious" ... just days after Paul Walker died ... and now the show is in full spin mode.
During the show, producers ran a crawl on the top of the screen that read, "This episode was taped a few weeks ago, prior to the tragic passing of 'The Fast and the Furious' actor Paul Walker."
After the show aired, Pat Sajak tweeted, "Feel terrible about timing of 'Fast & Furious' puzzle tonight. Taped long ago & went out to 200 local stations days ago."
Still, it's unclear why producers didn't simply pull the episode to run at a later date.
'Wheel Of Fortune' Contestant
I'll Solve the Puzzle ...
I GOT SCREWED!
12/21/2012 10:05 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
It's time to play ... "WHEEL OF FORTUNE"!!!! Everybody ready? Great, the category is "Living Things"... now guess this phrase:
SE _EN S_ _ NS _ -S_ _ MM _ NG
Pretty easy right? Not if you were a contestant named Renee on Wednesday night's show -- who correctly solved the puzzle, but mispronounced "Seven Swans a-Swimming" ... as "Swimmin."
Turns out, no "g" ... meant no cash (which in Renee's case was thousands) -- because even though the letter was clearly on the board, Pat Sajak and the "Wheel" honchos quickly rejected the answer and moved on to the next player.
-- HARD G.
But ya gotta check out the tape, because during the EPIC rejection of an obviously correct answer ... Renee managed to grin and bear it, despite getting ROBBED ...
With a capital "R."
I Was Drunk
on 'Wheel of Fortune'
1/26/2012 6:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Pat Sajak used to be WASTED on "Wheel of Fortune" back in the 80s -- this according to the game show host himself.
Pat made the confession during an interview with Dan Le Batard -- claiming in the old days, he would down "two, three, or six" margaritas at a Mexican joint near NBC studios during the show's 2-hour dinner break ... before heading back to finish taping.
According to Pat, Vanna was also guilty of drinking on the job -- but they've since stopped the mid-show imbibing tradition.
Pat added, they were so drunk ... they would often "have trouble recognizing the alphabet."
Tapes Tribute to 'Wheel' Announcer
11/4/2010 6:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Pat Sajak and Vanna White put in some extra time on the set of "Wheel of Fortune" this week-- shooting a tribute for the show's legendary announcer Charlie O'Donnell, who passed away Monday.
We're told Pat and Vanna each said some kind words about the 78-year-old TV veteran -- and gave an intro to a montage honoring their friend as well ... and it's all set to air during Friday's episode.
FYI -- O'Donnell worked on "Wheel" for 28 years.