As it enters its 30th season in syndication, Wheel of Fortune continues to be America’s most popular game show. Created by Merv Griffin in 1975 as an NBC daytime show, Wheel of Fortune is based on the popular game “Hangman.” Pat Sajak and Vanna White have hosted the show since its debut in syndication in 1983. Jim Thornton became the show’s announcer in 2011.
Three contestants compete by spinning The Wheel and calling out consonants for money or prizes. The first contestant to solve the puzzle wins the prizes he/she has amassed in the round, while the others’ banks are depleted.
The contestant who has won the most cash and prizes at the end of the main game is the big winner and plays in the “Bonus Round” for additional prizes. No one leaves Wheel of Fortune empty-handed because whether or not he/she ends up in the bonus round, each contestant walks away with the prizes won by solving puzzles correctly or a minimum of $1,000 cash.
Some of the exciting show elements include:
- New this season is the $5K Every Day Cash Giveaway: $5,000 will be up for grabs each weeknight for Wheel Watchers Club members who see their SPIN ID revealed during each show and log on to WheelofFortune.com within 24 hours to claim their cash.
- “1/2 Car Tag”: During the first three rounds of play, two “½ Car Tags” in the shape of license plates, will be on the wheel giving all contestants the opportunity to win a car, without having to make it to the “Bonus Round.” To win the car, one contestant must collect two “½ Car Tags” and correctly solve the puzzle.
- “Prize Puzzle”: The contestant who correctly solves the prize puzzle will win a prize in addition to his/her winnings for the round.
- “Jackpot”: The “Jackpot’s” dollar amount increases by the value earned with each spin of the wheel. If a contestant lands on the Jackpot wedge and is able to solve the puzzle in the same spin, he/she adds the “Jackpot” amount to his/her total winnings.
- “Mystery Round”: During Round Two, two “mystery” wedges are placed on the wheel, each hiding either a “Bankrupt” or “$10,000” on the face-down side of the wedge. After correctly calling a consonant, a contestant can either take the wedge’s face value of $1,000 per letter in the puzzle or gamble on the 50/50 chance of getting $10,000 or Bankrupt.
- “Free Play”: When landing on this wedge contestants have the choice to buy a vowel for free, call a consonant to earn $500 each or solve the puzzle. If the contestant calls an incorrect letter or does not give the right puzzle solution, they will still be able to continue their turn.
- “Wild Card”: Gives the option to call an additional consonant either in the regular rounds of play or in the “Bonus Round.”
Wheel of Fortune is produced by Sony Pictures Television, a Sony Pictures Entertainment Company. The executive producer is Harry Friedman. It is distributed domestically by CBS Television Distribution and internationally by CBS Studios International, both units of CBS Corp.
September 1, 2012