LOS ANGELES—Contestants on the television game show Wheel Of Fortune have been hit especially hard at the podiums in recent months due to skyrocketing vowel prices, which reached a record $600 last week. "I remember a time when you could get an 'e' for $250," 46-year-old contestant Samantha Means said after a Wednesday taping. "But as Wheel contestants, we've become so dependent on vowels to solve puzzles that the producers can get away with jacking up prices because they know we'll pay them. We need a legitimate vowel alternative, but I don't think we're ready for that. I know I'm not." According to Wheel Of Fortune show runner Charlie Clark, vowel prices are not likely to come down anytime soon unless America improves its standing in the Middle East.