Taking a Spin: Owensboro Catholic grad appears on NBC's 'The Wheel'

Jan. 3—On Monday, Dec. 19, NBC hosted the premiere of its adaption of the British television game show, "The Wheel."

And during the show's "two-week takeover," a local face appeared on screen when former Owensboro resident Andrew Murphy showed up as one of the contestants on the Dec. 26 episode.

Currently residing in Los Angeles as a non-profit executive director and education advocate, Murphy's ties to Owensboro remain strong.

"I was born in South Korea and adopted at four months old by Scott and Leanne Murphy," Andrew Murphy, 35, said. "I spent my entire childhood there, graduating from Owensboro Catholic High School in 2005. While I don't still live there, I visit every year."


After graduating from OCHS, Murphy went on to receive a bachelor's degree from University of Louisville, followed by master's degrees from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Seoul National University.

Murphy will graduate with a doctorate in education from Loyola Marymount University in May.

"The Wheel" began in the United Kingdom, first airing in November 2020 on BBC One. In February 2021, NBC announced that it would create an American version, with 10 episodes ordered.

Murphy found out about the casting for "The Wheel" after missing the cut on another program.

"I went through the process for a dating show and ultimately wasn't cast, but the casting producer and I hit it off, so they reached out to me with an opportunity to try out for a game show," he said. "After applying and interviewing, I later was very fortunate to be cast for a game show that I found out was 'The Wheel.' "

Though Murphy had been featured on television before, this was the first time he was involved in more of the entertainment realm.

"This is my first time ever being on a game show. I have given interviews on the news and news programs due to my political involvement, but this was very different," he said. "The main reason I wanted to be cast was to see the inner workings of the entertainment industry, because I live in LA where it's so prominent.

"But also, I really wanted to win the money!"

Murphy said he was not familiar with the original show, but watched a couple episodes and "digested the format" before filming began.

The original show was created by English comedian and BAFTA TV Award winner Michael McIntyre, who also hosts both the British and American versions.

During each hour-long episode, three contestants compete for a chance to win more than $100,000 with the help of six celebrity guests who are designated to have an "expertise" in certain subjects to help contestants answer trivia questions.

The main stage of the show includes a 42-foot-wide spinning wheel with the celebrities sitting in mounted chairs, while the selected contestant is situated in the center.

"Adding the celebrity component really makes this different from any other game show. You have to work together and trust in both your knowledge as well as the expertise of the celebrity guests," Murphy said. "I think the random component of the show with the spinning of the wheel is very unique as well. There's a reason why the show was such a big hit in the UK."

Murphy's episode included some people he was pleased to see.

"I was very surprised to see Terrell Owens and Raven-Symoné. My dad is a huge NFL fan, so we grew up watching T.O.," he said. "And many young adults in my generation grew up watching the show 'That's So Raven.' I've followed Raven's activism since then, so I was a big fan and happy to see her."

Other celebrities on the episode included Carole Baskin from Netflix's "Tiger King," actress and rapper Bre-Z, author Deepak Chopra and actor and comedian Matt Iseman from "American Ninja Warrior."

Murphy said he received "an overwhelmingly positive response, especially from friends and family in Owensboro" after his episode aired.

"It's not often that people you haven't seen in a while reach out and say, 'I was cheering for you on TV,' " he said. "... That was a very gratifying experience and I hope I represented Owensboro well."

Though Murphy didn't win any money on the show, he hasn't ruled out the possibility of making other appearances on the silver screen.

"While I'm not sure if I will be on another game show anytime soon, who knows what the future will hold," he said.

Episodes of "The Wheel" can be found at or through Peacock at