Albany Area Homegrown to Appear on 'Wheel of Fortune' This Week

Photo: © 2021 Quadra Productions, Inc., photographer Carol Kaelson. All rights reserved.

A Schenectady native will compete on Wheel of Fortune this week.

Ilene Kenebel, who now lives in Southern California with her husband, Kyle, and works as an executive assistant for the City of Beverly Hills, will be a contestant on the long-running popular game show on Tuesday (January 25), according to a Wheel of Fortune press release.

Knebel, a mother of three adult children, moved to Southern California in the 1980s and has auditioned for the show numerous times, but had never received a callback to be a contestant.

She credits a coworker for encourage her continued effort to get on Wheel of Fortune before finally receiving the big call.

“My coworker was a contestant on the show and won over $100,000! I went into his office often and he would tell me to ‘keep trying,’” Ilene said.

She said she finally received an invite after uploading a video to and her scheduled tape day fell on the same week as her birthday, calling the opportunity to compete on a show she grew up watching the best present possible.

“This was all I wanted for my birthday wish and it came true!” Ilene said. “I am so grateful to have been chosen as a contestant, especially after trying so many times.”

Ilene said she still loves to visit her hometown to see her mom and appreciates the seasonal changes, "unlike Los Angeles."

You can watch Ilene compete on Wheel of Fortune by tuning in to WTEN on Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m.

Wheel of Fortune fans can submit applications here for a chance to audition for the popular game show. Potential contestants will have their puzzle-solving skills tested from the comfort of their own home.

If selected, all participants will receive a minimum payment of $1,000.

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