A former Maine television reporter walked away with more than $10,000 after appearing Monday night on the long-running syndicated TV game show “Wheel of Fortune.”

Giovanna Bechard of Portland appeared on “Wheel of Fortune” Monday. Photo by Carol Kaelson

Giovanna Bechard, 42, of Portland won $10,100 but did not make it to the final bonus round. That honor went to a fellow competitor Cheryl Stokes of Wake Forest, North Carolina, who won nearly $49,850 as well as an all-expense paid trip to Maui, Hawaii.

Host Pat Sajak thanked Bechard for making it a close contest – a third competitor won $2,000.

Bechard, a former WGME reporter, grew up watching “Wheel of Fortune” with her family. Over the years, she has continued to watch the show, solving puzzles from her home with her husband and two sons, ages 7 and 10. Bechard is now the communications director for the Maine Education Association.

Sajak and co-host Vanna White talked briefly at the end of the show about the fact that no one name Giovanna has been on the show before. White’s daughter is also named Giovanna.

Bechard was the second Mainer to appear this month on one of America’s best-known TV game shows. Dennis Coffey, a bartender from Old Orchard Beach, won three games on “Jeopardy!” before he was defeated in the game that aired Wednesday night. Coffey’s winnings totaled $52,203.

Unlike “Jeopardy!” where contestants who win return to defend their title, contestants on “Wheel of Fortune” appear only once. The show aired at 7 p.m. Monday on WMTW-TV.



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