By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Frantz wheels and deals her way to new car win
O deal 1
Local resident Emily Frantz is animated as she banters with Let’s Make A Deal host Wayne Brady during a taping of the popular game show. She was a contestant several months ago and the episode recently aired; she won a new car playing the game. Photo Contributed

Some might say Emily Frantz needs to take a ride to Vegas and stop in at a few casinos.

The Oakdale High alumni and Oakdale Joint Unified School District substitute teacher has proven that luck is indeed on her side.

Frantz recently appeared on the hit television game show Let’s Make a Deal. Not only was she a selected contestant, but also came away the winner of a 2024 Nissan Sentra.

“You have to audition. So I applied and I got an audition,” Frantz said of her appearance on the game show. “The audition was through Zoom.”

Following the audition, she was notified that she was selected to be on the show and would be allowed to bring one guest who would not be selected for the show. Frantz chose her mom to travel with her.

Before the duo was off to Southern California for taping however, their costumes had to be picked and approved by the show. Frantz shared she had three options she sent in for consideration: a Three Musketeer, a Chef or a Christmas Elf.

“I wanted to go as a Christmas Elf, that was my number one,” she said.

That choice was denied since it was not timely with the episode they’d be filming.

“So that was a little sad. I felt like the Three Musketeers costume was unique and that would be funny,” she added of her choice for the show.

Her mother Mindy went dressed as a Band Conductor.

Arriving at the LA Studio, Frantz and her mother spent the first few hours getting checked in, signing paper work and meeting people, which is an additional part of the audition for the game show.

“There’s like 25 contestants and only 10 of them get to play,” Frantz stated. “So even though I got casted and was going to be there, you still didn’t know if you were going to play or not. My mom and I are convinced that they were watching us that whole time and making notes, because they just want good TV.”

Once inside the studio for taping, the former Mustang shared everything went very fast.

“Then they just filmed the episode very, very quickly. Went through, chose people and then they ushered you out,” she said matter of factly.

Yet before being ushered out of her time on the show – which actually occurred seven months ago but aired just recently – she managed to roll some dice and win a new vehicle.

“We drove away without the car. I drove away like, I won a car, but I don’t get the car yet,” she shared.

According to Frantz, contestants who are cast on the show are given very strict guidelines for maintaining privacy and the integrity of the show. Winners are not to reveal what they have won or post anything to social media prior to the show airing.

“I don’t think they’re worried about you telling your family, but my mom and I didn’t want to risk anything, because I won a car,” she said.

The mother/daughter duo had also planned a watch party with a family friend and felt it would be fun to relive the experience with those close to them as well as create their own fun little game to play along when it aired.

Family and friends who attended the watch party were asked to weigh in on if she lost it all, won a variety of different prizes or played all the way. The winner of the watch party contest was gifted a small toy car.

“It was fun to have the watch party and watch the episode, because I was like, Oh I do not remember that. It was kind of fun to relive it,” she confided.

Once called up to play and as her time on the show progressed, host Wayne Brady made her an offer of $4,000 to walk away from the car. With a somewhat older car at home, with high mileage, Frantz knew she wanted to win the car.

“My thought process was, that’s a lot of money,” she said of the offer. “That would help with student loans and things. But I came here to play big and I might as well, I’m on Let’s Make a Deal.”

From that moment, to the moment she threw a five and a six to get an 11 in a tic tac toe game, everything gets a little fuzzy. She recalls screaming and hearing Wayne Brady yell, “You got the car!”

“It was all kind of a blur. I turned around to look at my mom and she was on the floor,” she chuckled.

Frantz further shared, in a state of shock, she didn’t know what to do. She was directed to go to the car, where she continued to be freaked out. Standing outside of the car smiling and posing, producers were yelling off camera for her to get in the car.

“There were a bunch of cameras in there and I was like, I need to breathe, I have to breathe,” she shared.

Three weeks before the show aired, Frantz was contacted and given a window of time to travel to Southern California to retrieve her winnings.

“I got to the car lot, he literally handed me the keys, I paid the sales tax, he hooked my phone up to Bluetooth and I drove away. It literally took me ten minutes,” she said.

With the car tucked away in a friend’s garage waiting for the big reveal, Frantz’s father and brother began detailing her old car she planned to sell. To further prove the game show winner’s luck, the unthinkable happened.

“The very next day I was involved in a hit and run in the middle of the night and woke up to my car being totaled,” Frantz said of someone hitting her car in front of her home, while she slept.

Waking to a wrecked car with a note left on the windshield by police. Once the car was taken to the shop it became clear the repairs would not be worth it.

“Which kind of worked out perfectly, because I was going to sell that baby anyway,” she said. “It’s going to be the cleanest car at Pick-n-Pull.”

As for the overall experience, Frantz said she loved it and feels incredibly lucky.

While she loved the experience and the memories, not to mention the car, her sights remain on something equally as big.

“For years I have been trying to get on Survivor, because I am an avid Survivor fan,” Frantz said. “I’ve applied for Survivor almost every year.”

O deal 2
Emily Frantz, left, with mom Mindy Johnson, sharing a smile with a cut out of host Wayne Brady during their appearance on the television game show, Let’s Make a Deal. Photo Contributed