Pa. medic wins big on TV game show

Angela Patla won two vacations, cash and other prizes on the 'Best Time Ever'


By Bob Kalinowski
The Citizens' Voice

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — Angela Patla didn’t tell too many people she was heading to New York City on Tuesday.

So, seeing her in the spotlight on national television came as a surprise to most of her friends and family.

Paramedic Angela Patla on the 'Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris.' (Photo courtesy Virginia Sherwood/NBC)
Paramedic Angela Patla on the 'Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris.' (Photo courtesy Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

Those who tuned in got to see the Wilkes-Barre woman become a big winner on NBC’s new variety show, “Best Time Ever,” hosted by Neil Patrick Harris. Following a current events quiz and an all-or-nothing bonus question, she walked away with two vacations, a new Jeep, $5,000 and a dozen other prizes — worth a grand total of about $56,000.

“I think it’s everybody’s dream to be on a game show and win something,” Patla said Friday. “I don’t have enough adjectives to describe what kind of an experience it was.”

Patla, 42, a paramedic for the City of Wilkes-Barre, said she didn’t tell many people to tune into the show because the odds of being called from the audience were slim. She signed up online to be a potential contestant and was among 100 people who were invited to the show. Only one audience member would be selected for the “Get Lucky” segment where a contestant would take a current events quiz for a chance to win prizes.

To her amazement, she was randomly selected and Patrick Harris called her to the stage.

“I couldn’t believe it,” she said.

Driving to New York with her boyfriend, Patla said she was reading People.com and TMZ.com trying to brush up on the most current music and entertainment news.

“I was like, ‘Am I studying for nothing? What are the chances of actually being picked?’” she recalled.

For the quiz, Patla had a minute to answer as many multiple-choice questions as possible. There were only two options for each question. She answered six of eight questions correctly, which included the name of the recent hurricane and how many marshmallows Jennifer Lawrence recently shoved in her mouth on a dare.

Patla got to pick six of 16 numbered tiles, each representing a prize — from $5,000 and a trip to Aruba to an espresso machine and a group of stuffed animals. She was guaranteed to win six prizes, she just didn’t know which ones yet. She could walk away a guaranteed winner, or lose it all if she guessed incorrectly on a bonus, all-or-nothing question.

NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, the guest announcer, encouraged her to go for it all. She spotted her boyfriend in the crowd and he gave her the thumbs up. The audience chanted, “Play! Play! Play!” She decided to risk it all.

“I went there with nothing. If I didn’t gain anything, it was a great experience. If I won it all, it was a bonus.”Patla said.

Before the final question, Patrick Harris showed her the guaranteed prizes she was giving up: a Vitamix blender, an autographed copy of O’Neal’s new children’s book, a set of ukeleles, stuffed animals, and a trip to New Mexico.

She made a good call, Patrick Harris said, as the top three prizes — $5,000, a trip to Aruba, and the new Jeep — remained on the board.

Harris then asked the bonus question: What is the net worth of Microsoft founder Bill Gates — $67 billion or $76 billion? She correctly guessed $76 billion.

Patla said she immediately looked into the crowd to spot her boyfriend and the look in his eyes resembled the joy in her parents’ eyes in March 1999 when she was crowned Miss Pennsylvania.

“It took me back to 16 years ago, seeing someone so proud of you and so happy for you,” she said.

Patla appeared in the show’s fourth-ever episode. The show is based after the popular British hit “Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway.” After Tuesday’s episode, which had 4.66 million viewers, NBC announced it is moving the show from 10 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays.

Patla noted she still has to pay taxes on her winnings, but she doesn’t mind. One of them, she said, was actually meant to be gag gift — like the “cereal for a year.” NBC didn’t have any cereal to give her, so they replaced the prize with candy bars, she said.

“I have over 1,000 Snickers bars in my house,” she joked.

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©2015 The Citizens' Voice (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.)

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