Sonya Kraus: "Wheel of Fortune" revival has "more glamor"

With the "Wheel of Fortune" RTLzwei brings another game show classic back to the TV screens.

Sonya Kraus: "Wheel of Fortune" revival has "more glamor"

With the "Wheel of Fortune" RTLzwei brings another game show classic back to the TV screens. On January 26 at 8:15 p.m. (also on RTL ), the show will premiere with a new edition. In an interview with the news agency spot on news, the moderation duo of the new edition, Thomas Hermanns (59) and Sonya Kraus (49), reveals how the revival differs from the original and why the two complement each other perfectly. Sonya Kraus, who used to work in the format as "letter fairy" and is celebrating her TV comeback after her cancer with the new edition, also tells how her return felt.

Sonya Kraus: The "Wheel of Fortune" was my luck, because it was my entry into the television industry. But for me it wasn't that legendary and iconic at the time. I didn't understand that it really has such a status in German television culture. For me it was just a job back then, a permanent position with 60 working days. I've always been amazed that people make such a fuss about the show and about me, even though I'm just pacing back and forth a little, making snappy jokes and otherwise clapping hard. It's only at my wise, advanced age that I realize what a cult it was because everyone, from the postman to the taxi driver, is asking me about the comeback.

Thomas Hermanns: I sat in front of the television and remember that all these game shows always fascinated me because they were closed worlds. They all had their own acoustics with lots of jingles and their own colourfulness. I already understood that this transported feeling and the packaging can be addictive. Now when I became a part of it, it was like walking through the time tunnel and ending up on the other side of the canal or the looking glass. I found it amazing that young people who no longer use TV at all can still do something with the format today. It was something you watched as a family and that feeling of comfort is still incredibly strong, even with people who only stream or use YouTube. It's great to be a part of this brand now.

Sonya Kraus: For me, the revival was like coming home to my living room. It was all so learned, familiar and ingrained in my DNA that I probably could have done the show with a blood alcohol content of three. (laughs) The familiarity with the rules and the gameplay was there right away and I have to admire Thomas for adapting to it in such a short time. It's a big show with an audience that also has very strict rules because it's about money.

Hermanns: The candidates really have to concentrate when playing. It also says shut up on the moderation page, which was one of the hardest things for me.

Hermanns: The whole set, the colors. For me, it's these pastel shades. They are good for the soul and especially this year there was nothing nicer than walking into such a pastel-colored set. It's all so soft and beautiful. I think that's why game shows are so successful, because they convey a real sense of well-being. You're playing a good game in a beautiful world with hopefully nice people. It's an oasis for the soul because you don't have to deal with the nasty reality for two hours. It's a pleasant but not stupid world. Because the game is very difficult and so everything is in balance.

Krause: Exactly. It's the case that you're a bit challenged as a candidate or fellow guesser, but you're always comfortably picked up by the good mood and the whole familiarity, which for me is mainly due to the sound effects and the rattling of the wheel.

Hermanns: I found it typical again that you always sit at home and say: That's clear, the word, you can see that. I stood in front of it and would have made those famous mistakes where you have exactly one letter left and don't get it. You are standing in front of this wall and you literally have it in front of your head. I find it's a lot harder than you think.

Kraus: You also underestimate the stress factor when watching the show from the comfort of your couch. The wheel spins and when it comes to a standstill, the letter must be spit out, otherwise it is the next turn. And it's often long sentences and not just one word. It's quite demanding, but it's also about money.

Hermanns: We take turns with our tasks, but I actually only accepted the program so that I could finally get to the wall. My heart beats for the letter turning and the clapping. I also like to moderate on the bike, but my strength lies in modelling, and of course I learned a lot from Ms. Kraus (laughs). I watched her do it then. You live this walk and move on a very special catwalk. I now have different gaits on offer, from Naomi Campbell to dancing across the flower meadow. For me it's a great TV luck that I can do it. Sonya and I are both prime time bunnies. We love the evening show, so upgrading from the daily format to the event one suits us very well.

Hermanns: We deliberately didn't want to have the old picture "Man on the bike, beautiful woman on the wall" anymore. Nowadays it is no longer possible for the woman to be shown as decoration. Thank goodness we left that behind us. It was really great fun that we split it up equally and always jumped back and forth. In the prime-time specials, we play three or four rounds per show, so the change makes everything more varied.

Kraus: We've known each other for a long time and, for example, we did Red Nose Day together, a three-hour gala. We are a well-rehearsed moderation duo and know what we have in each other - for example, we are both geeks. (laughs) That makes it so nice and relaxed, because you can completely let yourself go and rely on the other person. Thomas is an entertainment genius, he also works a lot behind the scenes so I can count on his expertise 100 percent. We also don't think about the fact that one could take the butter off the bread of the other in the moderation. On the contrary, everyone wishes the other a really nice slice of vegan sausage (laughs). We may play the diva, but there isn't one behind the scenes.

Hermanns: There was one thing I liked to envy. At the end we always plan a big costume change because the finale of a prime time show is supposed to be something different than the afternoon program. I changed my jacket and Sonya basically had a container of evening dresses backstage. In my next life I want to come back as Sonya Kraus, then I'll have more choices (laughs). All in all, one can say that we are both veterans of private television. You can send us, we go out together and then it's like we've been doing it for the last 15 years.

Krause: Not at all. I worked and filmed during my toughest chemotherapy. For me, that was part of my therapy. It was so much fun and I was lucky enough to be able to do it. So it wasn't such a comeback for me personally. Above all, I felt honored that I was the only lucky fairy in the big "Wheel of Fortune" world to be able to conquer the wheel.

Hermanns: And of course I was proud, as a man, to be the alphabet fairy. I think only in Brazil has a man ever stood against the wall. However, he was topless and with a six-pack, I couldn't offer that. So I changed my jacket.

Hermanns: I think it's so great. But it doesn't surprise me with Sonya, that's how I got to know her: strong and smart and yet warm and friendly. She does everything excellently. That's why I was so happy that I could at least paint the door at her homecoming.

Hermanns: The retro trend is now so big and so diverse that the individual comebacks have turned out very differently. Not everything worked out. It's more about how you shape that coming back, because not every format lends itself to just doing it the same way again. I think we've got a good mix and balance here: the game, the colors are the same. But through the double moderation and the change of positions, we brought in a modernity. We respect the original, but we don't drift into "everything was better before" and stand there in 90's costumes. I'm curious how the audience will take that.

Kraus: Together we breathed even more glamor into the format and as a comedian and entertainer Thomas brings a bigger wink, which takes the format to another level. Whether that works as a 90-minute show remains to be seen. We had a lot of fun and that's the most important thing for me. From now on, the universe, the viewers or the broadcaster must decide.

Hermanns: I would hope that the feeling of well-being that we produce with the "Wheel of Fortune" will be more widely accepted in other areas of society. And that maybe next year the pastel will not only come back into our lives in the wheel of fortune, but maybe also in other moods.

Kraus: The year 2022 was mentally tough for all of us. If you think about what is happening at the borders of Europe and what the situation is like there and that something like this can happen again at all, it hit us all hard. It always resonates somehow, no matter what you do. Accordingly, I would like a solution to this very quickly. Whether that is very naïve or illusory remains to be seen, but that would really and truly be my heart's desire for 2023.