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Local Teens on Wheel of Fortune Tonight

Matthew Gibbs of Laguna Niguel and Adam Cohen of Aliso Viejo spin the wheel for riches … see what happens.

We’ve got a couple of TV game show stars in our midst.

Matthew Gibbs of Laguna Niguel and Adam Cohen of Aliso Viejo will appear on Wheel of Fortune tonight at 8 p.m. on KABC, Channel 7.

Both teens, 17, have been big fans of Wheel ever since they were old enough to watch television. They love the San Francisco Giants and found out they would be contestants on the show the same day the Giants won the World Series. Adam and Matthew tried out to be contestants at an audition in Los Angeles. While we can’t tell you right now what they won, it is pretty substantial. You’ll have to tune in tonight.

The teens will be appearing as part of “Teen Best Friends” week, during which teenagers team up with their best friends to compete for cash and prizes. Here’s what they had to say about their experience:

Laguna Niguel Patch: Have you been on a game show before?
Matthew Gibbs: No, Wheel of Fortune was my first, and hopefully not my last.

Laguna Niguel Patch:  What was the best part?
Gibbs: The best part of being on the show was the entire experience, going behind the scenes, on the set, spinning the wheel, etc. Plus the prizes and money aren't bad either…
Cohen: Winning it all has to be the best part! The whole experience of preparation and taping, though, was fantastic.

Laguna Niguel Patch: Did you get to chat up Vanna or Pat before or after the show?
Gibbs: Not too much. Pat gave us some good tips going into the bonus round and was very helpful throughout the show. We all got to chat a little bit when they shot the credits, but that's it.

Laguna Niguel Patch: Was the set what you expected it to be? Did it look different from what we see on TV as viewers?
Gibbs: Totally different. Normally, on TV the puzzle board looks enormous. In real life, it looked miniature. Vanna was almost as tall as the entire thing. TV makes everything look bigger. Seeing everything in person was bizarre. The wheel is also very heavy!
Cohen: Everything's much smaller. As with most TV sets, they use very wide-angle lenses to create the effect of a much larger room.

Laguna Niguel Patch: Are you or were you a fan of the show before you went on? If so, how many years watching?
Gibbs: Yes! I've been watching since I was around 9; I started watching reruns on Game Show Network.

Laguna Niguel Patch: What will you do with the winnings?
Gibbs: Most of my winnings will go toward college tuition next year as I am attending Northern Arizona University in the fall.
Cohen: It's going to be a great boost for funding my dream college education.

Laguna Niguel Patch: What did your friends say when they heard you were on?
Gibbs: My friends were almost more excited than I was. They wanted me to call them as soon as I got out of the studio, and telling them all that happened was a lot of fun.
Cohen: They were really excited for me and Matthew, and they all wanted in on that extra ticket to New York that I won. [Laughs]

Laguna Niguel Patch: Are your parents proud?
Gibbs: My parents are so proud of me. Although, they are surprised at all. I have been a game show nut forever. Everyone knows that about me. So, when they knew Adam and I were going to be on the show, they were pretty confident we would win.

Laguna Niguel Patch: Do you have game show fever now?
Gibbs: Yes, I mean, I always have game show fever. Trivia and word shows are always on my DVR and I would love to go on another game show. I wish people were allowed to come back to Wheel of Fortune, but it truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Laguna Niguel Patch: Plans for the future?
Gibbs: I plan on going to NAU and majoring in education. I'd love to become a teacher and mold the minds of young people. I think that is one of the most rewarding jobs a person can do.
Cohen: I would like to study a combination of business and cognitive science, and then pursue a career in filmmaking.

Laguna Niguel Patch: How have you embraced your 15 minutes of fame?
Gibbs: I have totally embraced it. I have told just about everyone at my school about the show and I am having 30 people over at my house to watch it. I can't wait to see how goofy I look in HD.
Cohen: My parents have definitely played it up much more than I have. I've tried to keep it within my close circle of friends. I hope it doesn't have to stop at just these 15 minutes with Wheel of Fortune, though!

Laguna Niguel Patch: Have you seen the show yet since it hasn't aired?
Gibbs: No. I have not seen it at all. I wish there was a way to see it before the air date. This has been the longest three months of my life.

Laguna Niguel Patch: Have you seen the show yet since it hasn't aired?
Cohen: Unfortunately no. The wait has been excruciating.

Laguna Niguel Patch: Tips or advice to others who might want to try out for a game show?
Gibbs: My advice to others who think they are good at game shows…Go for it! There is no harm in trying, the worst that can happen is that you don't make it and you had a fun experience. Honestly, my hopes weren't too high when we auditioned, but through being good at the game and probably a little bit of luck, Adam and I were able to experience something we will never forget.
Cohen: You have to realize that they're putting on a television show, so they need to get contestants that will create that excitement in any person's living room. Be energetic and don't hold back!

Laguna Niguel Patch: How many others kids did you beat out?
Gibbs: In our audition room, there were probably about 70 teams of two. The contestant coordinators told us they had a few more days of auditioning after ours, plus they had some auditions up in Seattle. So, I'd say there were probably close to 1000 teams of teens that didn't make it.

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