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Wheel of Fortune (US game show)

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Wheel of Fortune
GenreGame show
Created byMerv Griffin
Directed by
  • Jeff Goldstein
  • Dick Carson
  • Mark Corwin
  • Bob Cisneros
  • Robert Ennis
Presented byHost: Hostess:
Narrated by
Theme music composer
  • Alan Thicke
  • Merv Griffin
  • Steve Kaplan
  • Frankie Blue
  • John Hoke
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodesSyndicated: over 7,000 (as of May 31, 2019)[1]
Executive producers
  • John Rhinehart
  • Nancy Jones
  • Harry Friedman[2]
  • Karen Griffith
  • Steve Schwartz
Production locationsGlendale, California
Running time22 minutes
Production companyMerv Griffin Productions/Enterprises
Original release
ReleaseJanuary 6, 1975 (1975-01-06) –
Wheel 2000
Celebrity Wheel of Fortune

Wheel of Fortune is an American television game show. It was created by Merv Griffin in 1975. The program was first hosted by Chuck Woolery from 1975 until n 1981. Pat Sajak has been hosting it since 1981. Susan Stafford was the co-host who turned the letters from 1975 until 1982. She was replaced by Vanna White in 1982. The program has been aired in syndication since 1983. The 39th season of the program premiered on September 13, 2021

Introduction[change | change source]

On the program, three people compete for prizes. The game combines the game of hangman with a prize wheel.

The wheel[change | change source]

There are 24 spaces on the wheel. When a person lands on a cash space, they may guess a consonant . If that letter is in the puzzle, it is shown and the person is credited the amount of money shown on the wheel for each time the letter is in the puzzle. [3] Rather than spinning the wheel, a person can buy a vowel for $250. The program uses A, E, I, O, and U as the vowels in each puzzle. Only the person who solves the puzzle keeps any money and prizes that they earned each round.

The wheel has both money amounts and special spaces. If a person lands on "Lose a Turn", their turn ends and the next person takes a turn. After landing on the "Free Spin" space, the person must guess a letter. If it is in the puzzle, they earn a free spin token and can take an extra turn. If a person lands on Bankrupt, their turn ends and they lose all of the money and special prizes that they have earned in the current round. They do not lose any "Free Spin" tokens they have and may use a free spin at that time to take another turn. A "Wild Card" is used to guess another consonant for the same cash value that the wheel is on. There are two "1/2 Car" tags on the wheel. When a spin ends on one of these spaced, the person collects the tag. If they win a round with both tags, they win a new car. There is also a prize wedge and a Gift Tag. The prize wedge is a prize announced before the first round. To win it, a contestant has to land on the wedge, call a correct letter, and solve the puzzle. The Gift Tag is $1,000 credit from a company. In the first three rounds, there is a special $1,000,000 wedge. If it is claimed and brought to the bonus round, the person can play for $1,000,000 in the bonus round. If a person lands on "Free Play", they can take an action without any risk. They can buy a vowel at no cost. If they call a letter that is not in the puzzle, they do not lose their turn. They can even try to solve the puzzle, and if they are wrong, they do not lose their turn.

The game[change | change source]

At the beginning of the show, there is a Toss-Up puzzle. During this puzzle, one letter at a time is shown on the board. Any contestant may ring in to solve the puzzle before the last letter is revealed. An wrong answer means that person can not play for the rest of that round. After the puzzle is solved, a second Toss-Up is used to determines who starts the next round of the game.

In round two, two mystery wedges are added to the wheel. One hides $10,000 and the other hides a Bankrupt. When a person lands on a mystery wedge, they guess a letter. The person may take $1,000 for each time the letter is in the puzzle or chose to turn over the wedge. If the $10,000 is under the wedge, $10,000 is added to their amount for that turn. If the Bankrupt is under the wedge, the lose everything they have earned that round and their turn ends. If one wedge has already been turned over, the other acts as a regular $1,000 space.

Round three is the Prize Puzzle round. The person who solves the puzzle wins a prize. An Express wedge is added to the wheel in the third round. If a person lands on this wedge and guesses a correct letter, they can continue playing the game normally or choose to play for $1,000 per letter without spinning. If a contestant chooses to play for $1,000 per letter without spinning and calls a wrong letter, or takes too long to call a letter, it is treated as a Bankrupt.

Starting in Season 37, a "Triple Toss-Up" was added to the game. During this, there are three consecutive puzzles in the same category. The third puzzle determines who starts the next round.

When time runs short, a bell sounds. Starting in Season 39, the person in control spins the wheel. Remaining consonants are worth $1,000 plus the value on the wheel in front of the left-most person. Each person take a turn guessing a letter. A vowel may be called at no cost. Then, the person has three seconds to solve the puzzle.

Bonus round[change | change source]

The person with the most cash at the end of the game plays the bonus round. If the game ends in a tie, another toss-up puzzle is played to chose who plays the bonus round. The person who wins the game gets to pick from one of three categories for the bonus round. They spins the bonus wheel to chose what prize they are playing for. This wheel has 24 prizes, just like the main wheel. The category is then announced and a bonus puzzle is revealed. The person is given the letters R, S, T, L, N, and E. They then chose three more consonants and a vowel. If a contestant has a Wild Card in the bonus round, a fourth consonant is called. Once all the chosen letters have been shown, they have 10 seconds to solve the puzzle. If the puzzle is solved, they win the prize that they landed on. If they cannot solve the puzzle, the board shows the correct answer. The host then shows the prize in the envelope regardless of the result. Prizes include amounts ranging from $35,000 to $50,000 in $5,000 amounts and a top prize of $100,000. If the Million Dollar Wedge is bought to the bonus round, the $100,000 envelope is replaced with a $1,000,000 one. Prior to season 35, a car and $5,000 cash was also on the prize wheel.

References[change | change source]

  1. "Wheel of Fortune: Pat Sajak and Vanna White on retirement, gaffes, their 7,000th show". Wheel of Fortune. Season 36. Episode 7000. 10 May 2019. Syndicated. Retrieved 12 May 2019. 'It's our 7,000th show,' Sajak says to applause at the start of Friday's milestone episode.
  2. "Harry Friedman Named Producer of 'Wheel of Fortune'" (Press release). PR Newswire.
  3. Newcomb, Horace (2004). Encyclopedia of television. CRC Press. p. 2527. ISBN 1-57958-411-X.

Other websites[change | change source]