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Late one night during last semester’s reading period, Benjamin D. Langman ’26 was scrolling TikTok when he came across an advertisement to apply to be a contestant on the popular game show “Wheel of Fortune.”
On a whim, Langman uploaded a photo of himself with a short blurb and woke up the next day to an email from a casting producer asking him to submit a minute-long video of himself talking.
“So I sat up, I put on a Harvard shirt, and I proceeded to speak nonsense for a minute straight about how much I love vowels,” said Langman.
That night, Langman got a call from the casting producer, who asked him to do a 30-minute interview on the spot. After another interview and a month-and-a-half long wait, Langman was on a plane to Los Angeles to record an episode for Wheel of Fortune’s “College Week Spring Break” show.
Langman led the scoreboard for the first two rounds of the episode, which aired on Friday, but was overtaken in the third “final spin” round by Malia Dunaway, a sophomore at Villanova University.
Still, Langman went home with nearly $22,000 in prizes, including a trip to the Dominican Republic.
During the competition, Langman correctly guessed phrases including, “POSING FOR A POLAROID,” “PULLING ANOTHER ALL-NIGHTER,” and “NOT MISSING MY PROFESSORS.”
“It’s way harder than when you watch it online, sitting on your couch,” Langman said.
Langman, who watched Wheel of Fortune and other quiz games like “Jeopardy!” growing up, described his experience competing on the show as “really surreal.” He said he was on the set for 10 hours, though filming itself took only 20 minutes.
To prepare, Langman talked to Felix B. Bulwa ’22-’23, a Harvard student who competed on Wheel of Fortune in 2021. Langman said it was helpful to talk to Bulwa, who told him a lot of the show comes down to luck.
The show filmed in late January, but Langman signed a nondisclosure agreement and was not allowed to discuss his reason for flying to L.A. or the results with friends or professors.
Langman said he intends to go on his trip to the Dominican Republic this year, and his friends — who are now aware of Langman’s appearance on the show — are eager to tag along.
“Lots of people around me are making jokes like, ‘Haha, when are we going to the Dominican?’” Langman said.
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