Wheel of Fortune (U.S. game show)
|Wheel of Fortune|
|Created by||Merv Griffin|
|Directed by||Jeff Goldstein (1975–78)
Dick Carson (1978–99)
Mark Corwin (1999–2013)
Bob Cisneros (2013-present)
Chuck Woolery (1975–81)
Pat Sajak (1981–89)
Rolf Benirschke (1989)
Bob Goen (1989–91)
Susan Stafford (1975–82)
Vanna White (1982–91)
|Narrated by||Charlie O'Donnell (1975–80, 1989–2010)
Jack Clark (1980–88)
M. G. Kelly (1988–89)
Jim Thornton (2011–present)
|Theme music composer||Frankie Blue
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||Nighttime version:
5,000 (as of February 27, 2009)
|Executive producer(s)||Merv Griffin (1975–2000)
Harry Friedman (1999–present)
|Producer(s)||John Rhinehart (1975–76)
Nancy Jones (1976–95)
Harry Friedman (1995–99)
Karen Griffith (1997–present)
Steve Schwartz (1997–present)
Burbank, California (1975–89)
CBS Television City
Hollywood, California (1989–95)
Sony Pictures Studios
Culver City, California (1995–present)
|Running time||approx. 22 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Merv Griffin Productions (1975–84)
Merv Griffin Enterprises (1984–94)
Columbia TriStar Television (1994–2002)
Sony Pictures Television (2002–present)
Califon Productions, Inc.
|Distributor||King World Productions (1983–2007)
CBS Television Distribution (2007–present)
|Original channel||NBC (1975–89, 1991)
|Picture format||480i (SDTV) (1975–2006)
720p/1080i (HDTV) (2006-present)
January 6, 1975 – June 30, 1989 (NBC)
July 17, 1989 – January 11, 1991 (CBS)
January 14, 1991 – September 20, 1991 (NBC)
September 19, 1983 – present
|Related shows||Wheel 2000|
Wheel of Fortune is an American television game show created by Merv Griffin. The show features a competition in which contestants solve word puzzles, similar to those used in Hangman, to win cash and prizes determined by spinning a giant carnival wheel. The original daytime version aired on NBC from January 6, 1975 to June 30, 1989. It was on CBS from July 17, 1989 until January 11, 1991, and returned to NBC from January 14 to September 20, 1991, when it was canceled permanently. The daily syndicated version of the show premiered on September 19, 1983.
The daytime version was originally hosted by Chuck Woolery and Susan Stafford, with Charlie O'Donnell as its announcer. O'Donnell left in 1980, Woolery in 1981, and Stafford in 1982; they were replaced, respectively, by Jack Clark, Pat Sajak, and Vanna White. After Clark's death in 1988, M. G. Kelly took over briefly as announcer until O'Donnell returned in 1989; O'Donnell remained on the daytime version until its cancellation, and continued to announce on the syndicated show until his death in 2010, after which he was replaced by Jim Thornton, who has been the announcer since. Sajak left the daytime version in January 1989 to host the late-night talk show The Pat Sajak Show, and was replaced on that version by Rolf Benirschke. Bob Goen replaced Benirschke when the daytime show moved to CBS, then remained as host until the daytime show was canceled altogether. The syndicated version has been hosted continuously by Sajak and White since its inception.
As of 2009, Wheel of Fortune ranks as the longest-running syndicated game show in the United States, with over 5,000 episodes aired. TV Guide named it the "top-rated syndicated series" in a 2008 article, and in 2013, the magazine ranked it at number 2 in its list of the 60 greatest game shows ever. The program has also come to gain a worldwide following with sixty international adaptations. The syndicated series' 31st season premiered on September 16, 2013.
The core game is based on Hangman. Each round has a category and a blank word puzzle, with each blank representing a letter in the answer. The titular Wheel of Fortune is a roulette-style wheel mechanism with 24 spaces, most of which are labeled with dollar amounts ranging from $300 to $900, plus a top dollar value: $2,500 in Round 1, $3,500 in Rounds 2 and 3, and $5,000 for Round 4 and any subsequent rounds. The Wheel also features two Bankrupt wedges and one Lose a Turn, both of which forfeit the contestant's turn, with the former also eliminating any cash or prizes the contestant has accumulated within the round. Each game features three contestants, or occasionally, three two-player teams; each contestant/team is positioned behind a single scoreboard with its own flipper. The left scoreboard from the viewer's perspective is colored red, the center yellow, and the right blue; which contestant/team occupies which position is determined by a random selection. A contestant spins the wheel to determine a dollar value and guess a consonant. Calling a correct letter earns the value before the corresponding flipper, multiplied by how many times the guessed letter appears in the puzzle. At any time during a turn, a contestant with sufficient money may buy a vowel for a flat rate of $250 until all the vowels in the puzzle have been revealed. Calling a correct letter keeps the wheel in the contestant's control; hitting Lose a Turn or Bankrupt, calling a letter that is not in the puzzle, calling a letter that has already been called in that round, or giving an incorrect answer all pass control to the next player clockwise from the viewer's perspective. The only exception is the Free Play wedge, on which the player may call a consonant for $500 per occurrence, call a free vowel, or solve the puzzle, with no penalty for an incorrect letter or answer.
In Rounds 1–3, the wheel contains three special tags: the Wild Card, which can be used to call an additional consonant after any turn or in the bonus round; a Gift Tag, which offers $1,000 credit toward purchases from the sponsoring company; and two ½ Car tags, which award a car if the contestant wins the round(s) in which he or she claims both. Unlike the other tags, the ½ Car tags are replaced in subsequent rounds unless the car is won. A special wedge in the first two rounds awards a prize which is described by the announcer before the first round. All of the tags and the prize wedge are located over $500 wedges, so calling a right letter on any of them awards both it and $500 per letter. The first three rounds also contain a special wedge which, if claimed and taken to the bonus round, offers an opportunity to play the bonus round for $1,000,000. A contestant must solve the puzzle in order to keep any cash, prizes, or extras accumulated during that round, with the exception of the Wild Card; once this is picked up, it is kept until the contestant either loses it to Bankrupt or uses it. Bankrupt does not affect score from previous rounds, but it does take away the Wild Card, ½ Car tags, and/or million dollar wedge if any was claimed in a previous round.
Each game also features three Toss-Up puzzles, which reveal the puzzle one random letter at a time, and award cash to whoever rings in with the right answer. The first determines who is interviewed first, the second determines who starts Round 1, and the third determines who starts Round 4; respectively, these are valued at $1,000, $2,000, and $3,000. In addition to these, each game has a minimum of four rounds. Rounds 2 and 3 are respectively started by the next two players clockwise from the player who began Round 1.
Round 2 features two Mystery wedges. If a wedge is landed on, a contestant may accept $1,000 per correct letter, or forfeit that amount to flip over the wedge and see whether its reverse contains a $10,000 cash prize or Bankrupt. Once a Mystery wedge is flipped over, the other becomes a regular $1,000 space and cannot be flipped over. Round 3 is a Prize Puzzle, which offers a prize (usually a trip) to the contestant who solves it. Starting with Season 31, an Express wedge is also placed on the wheel in Round 3. A contestant who lands on this space and calls a consonant that appears in the puzzle receives $1,000 per appearance. The contestant can then either "pass" and continue his/her turn normally, or "play" and keep calling consonants for $1,000 each (without spinning) and buying vowels for $250. The Express play only ends when the contestant either calls an incorrect letter, which has the same effect as landing on the Bankrupt wedge, or solves the puzzle. The final round is always played at least in part as a Speed-Up, in which the host spins the wheel to determine the value of each letter by adding $1,000 to the value that stops before the red contestant's arrow, and vowels are free. Contestants call one letter at a time, and are given three seconds to attempt solving if that letter appears in the puzzle. Play proceeds from the viewer's left to right, starting with the contestant who was in control of the wheel at the time of the Final Spin, until the puzzle is solved.
After the Speed-Up round, the total winnings of the three contestants are compared. Contestants who fail to earn any cash and prizes in the game are awarded a consolation prize of $1,000. The contestant with the highest total winnings wins the game and advances to the Bonus Round.
In the bonus round, the winning contestant spins a smaller wheel known as the Bonus Wheel with 24 envelopes to determine the prize. He or she is given a category, and a puzzle for which every instance of R, S, T, L, N, and E is revealed; after providing three more consonants and a vowel, the contestant has ten seconds to attempt solving the puzzle. Regardless of whether the round is won or lost, the host reveals which prize is in the envelope at the end of the round. Prizes in the bonus round include cash amounts ranging from $30,000 to $50,000 in increments of $5,000, a vehicle with $5,000 cash, or the top prize of an envelope containing the top prize of $100,000.
If the contestant has the Million Dollar Wedge, the $100,000 prize is replaced with a $1,000,000 prize. The $1,000,000 prize has been awarded twice: to Michelle Loewenstein on the episode that aired October 14, 2008, and to Autumn Erhard on the episode that aired May 30, 2013. Contestants who win the $1,000,000 may receive it in installments over 20 years, or in a lump sum of that amount's present value.
Originally, after winning a round, contestants spent their winnings on prizes that were presented onstage. At any time during a shopping round, most often if the contestant did not have enough left to buy another prize, a contestant could choose to put his or her winnings on a gift certificate; alternatively, he or she could put the winnings "on account" for use in a later shopping round, but at the risk of losing any "on account" money to a Bankrupt. The shopping element was eliminated from the syndicated version on the episode that aired October 5, 1987, both to speed up gameplay and to alleviate the taxes paid by contestants.
Before the introduction of Toss-Up puzzles at the start of the 18th nighttime season, the player at the red arrow always started Round 1, with the next player clockwise starting each subsequent round. The Wheel used to feature a Free Spin wedge, which automatically awarded a token that the contestant could turn in after a lost turn to keep control of the Wheel. It was replaced in 1989 with a single Free Spin token placed over a selected cash wedge. Free Spin was retired, and Free Play introduced, at the start of the 27th nighttime season in 2009. Between September 16, 1996 and the end of Season 30, the show featured a progressive jackpot wedge, which had been in several different rounds in its history. This wedge started at $5,000 and had the value of every spin within the round added to it; to claim the jackpot, a contestant had to land on the wedge, call a correct letter, and solve the puzzle all in the same turn. In later years, it also offered $500 per correct letter and $500 to the jackpot, regardless of whether or not it was won.
Before December 1981, the show did not feature a bonus round. Under the bonus round's original rules, no letters were provided automatically; the contestant was asked for five consonants and a vowel, and had fifteen seconds to attempt solving the puzzle. Also, bonus prizes were selected by the contestant at the start of the round. The current time limit and rules for letter selection were introduced on October 3, 1988. Starting on September 4, 1989, the first episode of the seventh nighttime season, bonus prizes were selected by randomly drawing from one of five envelopes labeled W, H, E, E, and L. One prize was always $25,000 cash, and the rest were changed weekly; any prize that was won was taken out of rotation for the rest of the week. These envelopes were replaced with the Bonus Wheel on October 22, 2001.
Hosts and hostesses
The original host of Wheel of Fortune was Chuck Woolery. He hosted the show for almost seven years (except for one week in August 1980 when future Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek filled in for him), and left following a salary dispute with show creator Merv Griffin. Woolery's last episode aired on December 25, 1981, and just three days later, he was succeeded by Pat Sajak. Griffin said that he chose Sajak for his "odd" sense of humor; although NBC president and CEO Fred Silverman initially rejected Sajak for being "too local", he was approved as host after Griffin said that he would not tape any more episodes until Sajak became host.
On January 9, 1989, Sajak left the daytime version to host a late-night talk show (The Pat Sajak Show) for CBS. He was replaced on that version by Rolf Benirschke, who had an eight-year career as a placekicker of the San Diego Chargers. Benirschke hosted the program for only six months, until NBC cancelled it on June 30. Bob Goen became the daytime version's host when it moved to CBS the next month, then remained host throughout that version's run on the network, through its return to NBC in January 1991, and until it was canceled altogether in September of that year.
Susan Stafford was the original hostess. She missed a month of episodes in late 1977 after she fractured two vertebrae in her back, with Summer Bartholomew and Arte Johnson filling in for her. After Stafford dislocated her shoulder in a car accident, Bartholomew returned for seven episodes which aired between May 24 and June 1, 1979, followed by Cynthia Washington (then the wife of San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Gene Washington) for the week of episodes airing June 4–8. Stafford left the show in October 1982. Bartholomew, Vicki McCarty (later married to Interscope Records co-founder Jimmy Iovine), and Vanna White rotated as guest hostesses until White was chosen as the permanent hostess in December 1982. Chosen by Griffin himself from over 200 individuals, White became highly popular among the young female demographic, and among adult fans interested in her daily wardrobe.
Sajak and White have hosted the nighttime version continuously since it began, except for very limited occasions. During two weeks in January 1991, Tricia Gist, then the girlfriend of Griffin's son Tony, filled in for the honeymooning White. On an episode in November 1996, when Sajak proved unable to host the bonus round segment because of laryngitis, he and White traded places for that segment. On the episode aired April 1, 1997 Sajak and White played a prank on their fans when they appeared as contestants at the Wheel, playing for the Boy Scouts of America and the American Cancer Society, respectively; Trebek served as guest host, while Sajak's wife Lesly was the guest hostess.
In January and February 2011, the show held a "Vanna for a Day" contest. In this contest, home viewers submitted video auditions to take White's place for one episode, with the winner determined by a poll on the show's website. Katie Cantrell of Wooster, Ohio (a student at Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia) was named the contest winner in late February 2011. Cantrell took White's place for the second and third rounds on the episode that aired March 24, 2011.
Charlie O'Donnell was the program's first announcer until his departure in August 1980, when he left to work on The Toni Tennille Show in wake of the announced but retracted cancellation of Wheel. O'Donnell was replaced by Jack Clark, who continued to work with the show until shortly before his death in July 1988. Los Angeles radio personality M. G. Kelly took over as announcer when the nighttime version's sixth season started in September 1988. O'Donnell returned in 1989, and remained with the show until shortly before his death in November 2010. Don Pardo, Don Morrow, and Johnny Gilbert have occasionally served as substitute announcers. Gilbert, Rich Fields, Jim Thornton, Lora Cain, Joe Cipriano, and John Cramer filled in after O'Donnell's death, and Thornton was confirmed as the permanent replacement in 2011 at the start of Season 29.
Griffin was the show's executive producer until his retirement in 2000. John Rhinehart was the program's original producer until his departure in August 1976, when he became NBC's West Coast Daytime Program Development Director. Afterwards, his co-producer, Nancy Jones, was promoted to sole producer, and served as such until 1995. Jones was then succeeded by Harry Friedman, who became executive producer in 1999, sharing his title with Griffin for his first year. Amanda Stern is the producer, and Karen Griffith and Steve Schwartz, both longtime staffers, are the supervising producers. The show was directed by Jeff Goldstein from 1975–78, and by Dick Carson from 1978–99. Mark Corwin, formerly the show's associate director, took over for Carson upon his retirement at the end of the 1998–99 season, and served until his death at age 65 on July 25, 2013. Jeopardy! director Kevin McCarthy, Wheel associate director Bob Cisneros, and Jeopardy! technical director Robert Ennis Jr. filled in at various points after Corwin's death. On November 19, 2013, it was announced that Cisneros would be promoted to full-time director.
Wheel of Fortune is owned by Sony Pictures Television (previously known as Columbia TriStar Television; the successor company to original producer Merv Griffin Enterprises). The production company and copyright holder of all episodes to date is Califon Productions, Inc., which like SPT has Sony Pictures Entertainment for its active registered agent, and whose name comes from a New Jersey town where Griffin once owned a farm. The rights to distribute the show on American television are owned by CBS Television Distribution, into which original distributor King World Productions was folded in 2007.
The show was originally taped in Studio 4 at NBC Studios in Burbank. Upon NBC's 1989 cancellation of the daytime series, production then moved to Studio 33 at CBS Television City in Los Angeles, where it remained until 1995. Since then, the show has occupied Stage 11 at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City. Some episodes are also recorded on location, a tradition which began with two weeks of episodes taped at Radio City Music Hall in late 1988. Taping sessions usually last for five or six episodes in one day.
Merv Griffin conceived Wheel of Fortune just as Jeopardy!, another show he had created, was ending an 11-year run on NBC. Griffin decided to create a Hangman-style game after recalling long car trips as a child, on which he and his sister would play Hangman. After he discussed the idea with Merv Griffin Enterprises staff, they thought that the idea would work as a game show if it had a "hook". He decided to add a roulette-style wheel because he was always "drawn to" such wheels when he saw them in casinos. He and Murray Schwartz, then the president of Merv Griffin Enterprises, consulted an executive of Caesars Palace to find out how to build such a wheel.
In 1973, Griffin created a pilot episode, which was taped under the name Shopper's Bazaar and hosted by Chuck Woolery. Unlike the actual show, this pilot had a vertically mounted wheel. Edd Byrnes hosted the second and third pilots, both titled Wheel of Fortune. All three contained game elements which were either retooled or dropped by the time production began in December 1974. Woolery was eventually selected to host, the choice being made by Griffin after he reportedly heard Byrnes reciting "A-E-I-O-U" to himself in an effort to remember the vowels. Susan Stafford turned the letters on Byrnes' pilot episodes, a role that she also held when the show was picked up for series.
Anyone at least 18 years old has the potential to become a contestant through Wheel of Fortune's audition process. Exceptions include employees of CBS Television Distribution, Sony Pictures Television, or any firm involved in offering prizes for the show; contestants who have appeared on a different game show within the previous year, three other game shows within the past ten years, or on any version of Wheel of Fortune itself.
Throughout the year, the show's Wheelmobile (a custom-designed Winnebago recreational vehicle) travels across the United States to hold open auditions at various public venues. Contestants are provided with color-coded entry forms (color dependent upon the scheduled hour), which are then drawn randomly. Each contestant whose name is drawn appears onstage, five at a time, and is interviewed by traveling host Marty Lublin. The group of five then plays a mock version of the Speed-Up round, and five more names are selected after a puzzle is solved. Everyone who is called onstage receives a themed prize, such as a baseball cap, T-shirt, or key chain, usually determined by the spin of a miniature wheel. Auditions typically last two days, with three one-hour segments per day. After each Wheelmobile event, the "most promising candidates" are invited back to the city in which the first audition was held, to participate in a second audition. Contestants not appearing on stage have their applications retained and get drawn at random to fill audition vacancies. At the second audition which occurs in the same city the Wheelmobile originally visited, potential contestants play more mock games featuring a miniature wheel and puzzle board, followed by a 16-puzzle test with some letters revealed. The contestants have five minutes to solve as many puzzles as they can by writing in the correct letters. The people who pass continue the audition, playing more mock games which are followed by interviews.
Alan Thicke composed the show's original theme, which was titled "Big Wheels". In 1983, it was replaced by Griffin's own composition, "Changing Keys". Steve Kaplan became music director starting with the premiere of the 15th syndicated season in 1997, and continued to serve as such until killed in a plane crash in 2003; his initial theme was a remix of "Changing Keys", but by the 17th syndicated season, he had replaced it with a composition of his own, which was titled "Happy Wheels". Since 2006, music direction has been handled by Frankie Blue and John Hoke; themes they have written for the show include a remix of "Happy Wheels" and an original rock-based composition.
In addition to "Changing Keys", Griffin also composed various incidental music cues for the syndicated version which were used for announcements of prizes in the show's early years. Among them were "Frisco Disco" (earlier the closing theme for a revival of Jeopardy! which aired in 1978 and 1979), "A Time for Tony" (whose basic melody evolved into "Think!", the longtime theme song for Jeopardy!), "Buzzword", "Nightwalk", "Struttin' on Sunset", and an untitled vacation cue.
Various changes have been made to the basic set since the syndicated version's premiere in 1983. In 1996, a large video display was added center stage, which was then upgraded in 2003 as the show began the transition into high-definition broadcasting. The set decorations change with each weekly set of themed programs. The production is designed by Renee Hoss-Johnson, with previous set designers including Ed Flesh and Dick Stiles.
The first pilot used a vertically mounted wheel which was often difficult to see on-screen. Flesh, who also designed the sets for The $25,000 Pyramid and Jeopardy!, designed the wheel mechanism. Originally made mostly of paint and cardboard, the modern wheel mechanism is framed on a steel tube surrounded with Plexiglas and more than 200 lighting instruments, and is held by a stainless steel shaft with roller bearings. Altogether, the wheel weighs approximately 2,400 pounds (1,100 kg).
The show's original puzzle board had three rows of 13 manually operated trilons, for a total of 39 spaces. On December 21, 1981, a larger board with 48 trilons in four rows (11, 13, 13 and 11 trilons) was adopted. This board was surrounded by a double-arched border of lights which flashed at the beginning and end of the round. Each trilon had three sides: a green side to represent spaces not used by the puzzle, a blank side to indicate a letter that had not been revealed, and a side with a letter on it. On February 24, 1997, the show introduced a computerized board composed of 52 touch-activated monitors in four rows (12 on the top and bottom rows, 14 in the middle two). To illuminate a letter during regular gameplay, the hostess touches the right edge of the monitor to reveal it.
Wheel of Fortune premiered on January 6, 1975, at 10:30 am (9:30 Central) on NBC. Lin Bolen, then the head of daytime programming, purchased the show from Griffin to compensate him for canceling Jeopardy!, which had one year remaining on its contract. Jeopardy! aired its final episode on the Friday before Wheel's premiere. The original Wheel aired on NBC, in varying time slots between 10:30 am and noon, until June 30, 1989. NBC announced the cancellation of the show in August 1980, but it stayed on the air following a decision to cut the duration of The David Letterman Show from 90 to 60 minutes. The daytime Wheel moved to CBS on July 17, 1989, and remained there until January 14, 1991. After that, it briefly returned to NBC, replacing Let's Make a Deal, but was canceled permanently on September 20 of that year.
The daily syndicated version premiered on September 19, 1983, preceded by a series of episodes taped on location at the Ohio State Fair and aired on WBNS-TV in Columbus, Ohio. When it debuted, the syndicated version offered a larger prize budget than its daytime counterpart. Only nine stations originally carried the show, but by midseason it was airing on 50 stations, and by the beginning of its second year was available to 99 percent of television households. By 1984, it had succeeded Family Feud as the highest-rated syndicated show. Its success led to Griffin creating a syndicated revival of Jeopardy! in 1984, with Alex Trebek as its host. By 1986, Wheel had the highest ratings of any syndicated television series in history. As of 2009, the show is the longest-running syndicated game show in American television history and the second-longest in either network or syndication, second to the version of The Price Is Right which began airing in 1972.
The popularity of Wheel of Fortune has led it to become a worldwide franchise, with over forty known adaptations in international markets outside the United States. Versions of the show have existed in such countries as Australia, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
Between September 1997 and January 1998, CBS and Game Show Network concurrently aired a special children's version of the show titled Wheel 2000. It was hosted by David Sidoni, with Tanika Ray voicing and providing motion capture for a virtual reality hostess named "Cyber Lucy". Created by Scott Sternberg, the spin-off featured special gameplay in which numerous rules were changed.
Wheel of Fortune has long been one of the highest-rated programs on U.S. syndicated television. It was the highest-rated show in all of syndication before it was dethroned by Two and a Half Men in the 28th season (2010–11). The syndicated Wheel shared the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Show with Jeopardy! in 2011, and Sajak won three Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Game Show Host—in 1993, 1997, and 1998. In a 2001 issue, TV Guide ranked Wheel number 25 among the 50 Greatest Game Shows of All Time, and in 2013, the magazine ranked it number 2 in its list of the 60 greatest game shows ever, second only to Jeopardy! In August 2006, the show was ranked number 6 on GSN's list of the 50 Greatest Game Shows.
Wheel was the subject of many nominations in GSN's Game Show Awards special, which aired on June 6, 2009. The show was nominated for Best Game Show, but lost to Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?; Sajak and White were nominated for Best Game Show Host, but lost to Deal or No Deal's Howie Mandel; and O'Donnell was considered for Best Announcer but lost to Rich Fields from The Price Is Right. One of the catchphrases uttered by contestants, "I'd like to buy a vowel", was considered for Favorite Game Show Catch Phrase, but lost to "Come on down!", the announcer's catchphrase welcoming new contestants to Price. The sound effect heard at the start of a new regular gameplay round won the award for Favorite Game Show Sound Effect; the "whistle" sound heard when a contestant hits Bankrupt was also nominated. Despite having been retired from the show for nearly a decade by that point, "Changing Keys" was nominated for Best Game Show Theme Song; however, it lost to its fellow Griffin composition, "Think!" from Jeopardy!
Numerous board games based on Wheel of Fortune have been released by different toy companies. The games are all similar, incorporating a wheel, puzzle display board, play money and various accessories like Free Spin tokens. Milton Bradley released the first board game in 1975. In addition to all the supplies mentioned above, the game included 20 prize cards (to simulate the "shopping" prizes of the show; the prizes ranged in value from $100 to $3,000). Two editions were released, with the only differences being the box art and the included books of puzzles. Other home versions were released by Pressman Toy Corporation, Tyco/Mattel, Parker Brothers, Endless Games and Irwin Toys.
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