Local DJ Wins Big on NBC Game Show

Contributing Editor


After three months of contractually enforced silence, Shannon Franco can now speak. She can shout the news. From the rooftops!

“I feel as if the weight of the world has been lifted from my shoulders,” she crows.

Shannon, who goes by the name of Sunny Leigh on the KVOO-FM (98.5) morning show, won $153,000 on the television quiz show “1 vs. 100” on Dec. 5, 2006.

One problem! She had signed a 24-page contract swearing her to total silence. The lid should have come off with the airing of the show in January but a fellow named George W. Bush decided he wanted to address the nation that night and the telecast of Shannon’s glorious victory was shifted to March 16.

She had originally planned to be on “Deal or No Deal,” but events intruded In July of last year she went to the Cherokee Casino to take part in auditions for contestants for “Deal of No Deal.” She won, but was asked if she would be willing to change to another program the producers of “Deal or No Deal” were introducing called “1 vs. 100.”

“I asked,” she recalls, “how much I could win. They said $1 million. I accepted.”

The gimmick of “1 vs. 100” is that one lone contestant is pitted against 100 people, most of whom have been taken off the street but with a few ringers. In her group of 100 were veterans of the TV show “The Apprentice,” of the cast of the movie “Grease,” of the 1970s group Sha-Na-Na and of the gold medal Olympic Beach Volleyball team.

“I would be asked a question and would be given the choice of three answers. The ‘mob,’ as the 100 were called, would be given the same question. If I missed a question all the money I’d won would be spread between them. Each member of the ‘mob’ also answered the question and if they missed they were dismissed. By the time I quit playing I had reduced the mob to 16 members.”

The questions, she says, were basically pop culture trivia and her work as a contemporary country radio personality left her well prepared. Still, when she got to $153,000, she felt it was time to take the money particularly since, unlike “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” you can’t walk away from a question. Once it’s asked it needs an answer.”

“The confidentiality contract had a lot of restrictions in it. I couldn’t even tell my grandmother if I’d won or lost and she didn’t want to know for fear she would blurt it out.” You can bet that on March 17th Grandma got a phone call.

Shannon was in Los Angeles three days. The first was to travel and get her feet on the ground, the second was to shoot the show, and the third was to return home. Ironically the day of shooting was the day of her eighth wedding anniversary with her husband, Albert, but he was facing law school exams and couldn’t leave home so she took her mother. Mama had to stay quiet, too.

So what’s she going to do with $153,000?

“We’ve already talked to a tax attorney and he says the government will get half. As for the rest, the check for our portion will be sent in June. We’re going to put a chunk in Nick’s (their six-year-old son) college fund. I have three charities I want to help: Cure Autism Now, the Clearwater (Fla.) Museum Aquarium (where Shannon once worked) and the Humane Society.”

Any personal extravagances? “We did go out and get a couple of plasma TV sets,” she concedes.

And how did they do that when the check to pay for them hasn’t yet arrived?

“We put them on the credit card.”

Updated 06-26-2007

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