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Robyn O??Brien with Pat Sajak on an episode of ??Wheel of Fortune" that aired in March 2013. / Carol Kaelson

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - If you think you're smarter than most of the contestants on your favorite TV game shows, Robyn Cucurullo O'Brien has some advice for you.

"There's money out there, people, go get it," says the 34-year-old Pleasantville, N.Y., woman, who's been on "Wheel of Fortune" and "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire."

While getting onto two major game shows in less than two years is quite an accomplishment - less than 6 percent of applicants make the cut to become "Wheel" contestants - it's even more astounding that her husband of two years, Jerry O'Brien, has also been on "Millionaire" during the same time.

"This is who we are now," Robyn says. "We've turned into this game show couple. This is our life."

The couple's game show obsession started with an idle chat.

"We're sitting one day watching 'Wheel of Fortune,' and Jerry says to me, 'You're so good at this show. You should get on this show,'" Robyn said. She agreed that it was "a fun idea."

One day she got an e-mail saying, "You've been selected to attend the audition, please call this number to confirm your spot."

Her husband had submitted her name. She went to the auditions in Brooklyn.

"I don't know, I just did extremely well and I moved on to the finals," Robyn said. "A month later I was flying out to L.A."

She appeared on an "Wheel of Fortune" episode that aired in March 2013. Her winnings, including the value of a trip to Hawaii, totaled $48,800.

Jerry, 39, says he got his first taste for competition a dozen years ago when producers of a short-lived show, "The Weakest Link," flew him to Los Angeles for an appearance that never materialized.

But it was Robyn's success that lit a fire under him.

He landed a spot on "Millionaire" and walked off with a cool $68,500 in winnings on an episode that aired just six months after Robyn's "Wheel" appearance.

She countered with an application to "Millionaire."

While waiting for word from "Millionaire," Robyn and Jerry got a call out of the blue from the Game Show Network to audition for a new couples game where they would actually play together as a team.

They impressed the producer at the audition - "we CRUSHED it," Robyn posted on Facebook - but just as they were about to decide whether to tackle the couples show, which hasn't premiered yet, Robyn was accepted for "Millionaire." So they turned down GSN.

Although she's taped her "Millionaire" segment, she can't discuss the outcome until it airs. So stay tuned.

Robyn and Jerry say just about anybody with a dream and a taste for trivia can get onto their favorite show with a little effort and charm.

Most shows start with an application form, followed by a written test. The lucky few who do well on the test move on to multiple rounds of interviews. That's when it helps to have something extra. Jerry added that something extra to Robyn's "Wheel" application: A YouTube video of his wife singing.

"Obviously, they're looking for personality, obviously they're looking for somebody different, you know, not like boring or run of the mill," Robyn says.

Both say there's really no single way to prepare yourself for the game show audition process or the competition.

"You watch the show, you DVR the show, you play the game on your iPhone," Robyn advises.

"You want to bone up on things," Jerry adds. "But for the most part, what you know is what you know."

Once you've done what you can to prepare, follow the advice you probably got before taking the SATs in high school, Robyn says: "Get a good night's sleep, get up that morning, get a good breakfast in you, and just hope for the best."



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Couple has winning strategy for getting on game shows

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