Events planner Lori Davis took home $15,000 from her appearance on Wednesday’s season premiere of the ABC game show.
From making an obscene gesture at a sitcom star to walking away with a $15,000 prize, Sarasota resident Lori Davis had an action-packed appearance on the ABC game show “Match Game” on Wednesday night.
Davis, the owner of JustaBasketCase Events in Gulf Gate, was a contestant on the show’s season premiere. Playing alongside celebrities including Caroline Rhea and Niecy Nash, Davis matched her way to a narrow victory in the first round.
A successful match with director and actor Mark Duplass secured her grand prize. Davis told host Alec Baldwin the money would go toward her granddaughter Madelyn’s education.
“It was awesome — it really was,” Davis said in an interview with the Sarasota Observer. “It’s kind of just surreal.”
For most people, the prize money would be the center of attention. But Davis said her friends, family and social media feeds were buzzing about a different moment: When she jokingly gave the middle finger to actor and comedian Joel McHale in a response to a barb from the former host of “The Soup.”
Although Davis didn’t shy away from putting her personality on display during the taping, she was surprised the gesture made the final cut.
“I wouldn’t have done it if I thought they were going to air it,” Davis said. “But it was funny.”
Davis taped the episode in the summer, traveling to New York City after show producers recruited her via Instagram. Until she found out the show’s airdate last month, she had to keep her appearance largely under wraps — though even her husband was skeptical when she told him she won.
“He thought I was just messing with him,” Davis said. “I don’t think he believed me until last night.”
Although most of the feedback she’s gotten has been supportive, Davis has also heard from some “haters” — particularly because of a contentious judges’ ruling that contributed to her victory. (For the curious: “ship” and “yacht” are close enough for a match, despite some viewers’ strenuous objections.)
Despite any detractors, she’s focused on the positives of her opportunity to appear on “Match Game.”
“It was honestly one of the most fun, best experiences,” Davis said. “It was on my bucket list to be on a game show. … I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Davis’ episode is available to stream on ABC’s website.
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