Currently in its 33rd season in syndication, Wheel of Fortune is America’s Game®. 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. Once a contestant has earned money by spinning The Wheel and calling out a correct consonant, they are able to buy vowels for $250 each.
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; each contestant is awarded a minimum of $1,000 cash.
Some of the exciting game elements include:
- “Million Dollar Wedge”: If a contestant collects the wedge, solves the puzzle and makes it to the Bonus Round without hitting bankrupt, they will be playing for a top cash prize of $1 million on the Bonus Wheel.
- “1/2 Car Tag”: During the second and third rounds of play, two “½ Car Tags” in the shape of license plates will be on the Wheel. One contestant must collect two “½ Car Tags” and correctly solve the puzzle to win the car.
- “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.”
- “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.
- “Express Wedge”: When the “Express Wedge” is landed on, the player will call a consonant. If the consonant is in the puzzle, they earn $1,000 per letter and the player must declare “pass” or “play.” If the player “passes,” play proceeds as usual. If he/she decides to “play,” the player continually calls consonants, earning $1,000 for each one in the puzzle, until he/she is able to solve the puzzle or calls the wrong letter resulting in the player going “Bankrupt.” Vowels still cost $250.
- “Prize Puzzle”: The contestant who correctly solves the prize puzzle will win a prize in addition to his/her winnings for the 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.
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