Wheel of Fortune History Wiki

The 2008 logo.

Game Show Network (known simply as GSN from 2004-2018) is a cable niche channel which debuted on December 1, 1994. The network is generally dedicated to producing original game shows as well as airing classic and more modern reruns of game shows, including Wheel of Fortune.

Wheel Reruns

Wheel of Fortune was among the shows presented on Game Show Network's first day, which began with the 1983 syndicated premiere. The episode was prefaced by an intro by one of the network's on-air personalities, Peter Tomarken (himself no stranger to the genre), which consisted of a brief-but-thorough essay on the show's history while clips of the nighttime premiere played next to him; this included a statement that the daytime series ran for a grand total of 4,215 episodes.


GSN has aired many nighttime episodes, barring Seasons 3-4, 8-9, and 11 for reasons unknown; they have also not aired most of the episodes between Seasons 15-30 and 32-present.


The network began by airing Season 1, adding Season 5 in early 1996, and Season 10 in October 1997. While GSN continued on a rotation of these seasons, they favored Season 10.

On October 5, 1998, all three were replaced by a near-complete cycle of Season 2, which was replaced by Season 13 on July 5, 1999 and Season 14 on April 3, 2000 (with Season 13 running on weekends).


Season 7 was featured on the lineup beginning in November 2000, but jumped back to Season 6 in November 2001 and aired several "cycles" (returning to the season premiere following the season finale) through August 22, 2004. Interestingly, some owners of the 1988 Mattel game reported that the "invisible signals" were still present in the Season 6 reruns.

Beginning March 15, 2004 (when "Game Show Network" became "GSN: The Network For Games"), repeats of Wheel generally omit any sweepstakes rules, consolation prize plugs, and contestant/audience plugs; further, they "crunch" the credits to air promos and typically end the show prematurely. These tactics are generally frowned upon by game show fans, who prefer "complete" airings. This is further compounded by the fact that the omitted portions may have a joke, gag, or other notable incident which ends up being referenced later – references which make no sense without context (such as the 1976 episode that GSN reran in 2007).

Reruns of Season 6 were often time-compressed per the network's standards (usually to egregious degrees), and some closing segments of early episodes had noticeable audio problems that caused everything to sound muted. Although the actual show had begun using closed captioning at that point, Season 6 reruns had no closed captioning track.


After a three-year absence, Wheel returned to GSN on two separate one-off occasions in 2007. On August 18, a five-hour marathon of Wheel was aired in tribute to Merv Griffin, who passed away six days earlier. The marathon featured 10 episodes from both the daytime and nighttime series ranging from 1976-2003 (see below for more details). On November 23, Wheel was one of 20 shows featured in a "Viewers' Choice" marathon, with the network airing the September 12, 1996 episode from Season 14.

On January 7, 2008, Wheel returned to GSN's daily schedule, this time with a lease of Season 12, which aired in its entirety for two consecutive "cycles" and a partial third from January 7, 2008 to January 21, 2010 (the second and third cycles beginning October 1, 2008 and July 6, 2009, with the last episode to air being #S-2280 from March 24, 1995). For the last decade or so, GSN has had similar limited leases of other shows from the Sony library such as Jeopardy! and The $100,000 Pyramid.

Unlike previous airings, the Season 12 reruns contained newly-created closed captioning tracks, which were provided by Captionmax, who provides captioning for most of GSN's programming, both original and acquired.

Following the end of the Season 12 repeats, Wheel would not be seen on GSN again until November 26, 2010, when a six-hour marathon was aired consisting of episodes from Seasons 23 and 24 (see below).


On October 24, 2016, nearly six years after the last appearance of Wheel, GSN brought the show back to its daily lineup, with Season 31 episodes on weekdays at 11:00 and 11:30 AM Eastern, replacing Lingo. Unlike the 2010 Black Friday marathon, the SPIN ID drawings are edited out, and the episodes are presented in a letterbox format rather than cropped to the 4:3 aspect ratio. On GSN HD, the episodes are presented in their original HD format. The closed captioning from VITAC is retained from the original syndicated airings. This is especially noticeable when SPIN ID drawings and plugs are edited out, as the first sentence of Vanna's $5K Every Day spiel and Jim's "Promotional consideration provided by..." often still briefly appear in the captions.

For unknown reasons, six episodes from Season 31 were never aired by GSN: #S-5886 from November 4, 2013, the America's Game episode from the set of Halloween week, and #S-5976 through S-5980 from March 10-14, 2014, the entire Beaches Resorts Family Week. Despite this, Halloween week itself (#S-5881 through S-5885 from October 28 through November 1, 2013) and the America's Game episode from the set of Beaches Resorts Family Week (#S-6006 from April 21, 2014) were aired. Presumably to replace these six episodes, GSN also aired the final six episodes of Season 30 (#S-5845 from June 7, 2013, the final episode of Dad's Week, and #S-5846 through S-5850, the season finale America's Game week from June 10-14), which first appeared on January 26, 2017 and last appeared on July 15, 2019.

In early Season 31 episodes that feature Retro Bonus Rounds (through at least Halloween week), the partial puzzle was left intact, but the solution was omitted (despite Vanna's line, "We'll give you the answer when we come back right after this" still being present). For the majority of the season, as well as in the six Season 30 episodes, the feature was removed entirely, cutting to commercial before the puzzle appears. In Season 31 episodes, the Mystery Round plug was edited out such that Round 2 began at the point where Pat announces the category, but the Season 30 episodes would leave the Jackpot Round plug intact.

For the first year or so, Season 31 was aired mostly in order, followed by the final six Season 30 episodes before returning to the Season 31 premiere. However, some episodes and weeks themed after certain holidays would be withheld and scheduled to rerun on or near the appropriate occasion. Notably, GSN aired all Secret Santa Sweepstakes episodes, which are excluded from the syndicated summer and weekend reruns due to the titular sweepstakes (other sweepstakes are typically added in post-production and can easily be edited out or replaced in reruns, while the Secret Santa Sweepstakes is constantly referenced in-studio). As usual, all references to the sweepstakes were edited out, the theme's name was removed the episode titles seen in TV listings, and the show would abruptly cut to commercial as soon as Pat recapped the final total of the winner of the Speed-Up Round, thus removing most of the final score tally.

On November 21, 2016, the number of episodes aired each weekday doubled from two to four, giving Wheel two hours on the schedule from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM Eastern. At first, both hours followed the same order, though starting December 5, the second hour began airing episodes independently, beginning with the start of the rotation at the Season 31 premiere, except when holiday-themed episodes were aired later that month across both hours. On April 10, 2017, the 11:00 and 11:30 AM weekday time slots were replaced with The Pyramid and Catch 21, respectively, bringing Wheel back down to two airings per weekday at 12:00 and 12:30 PM. Wheel would remain in these time slots for the rest of its time on GSN.

On May 18, 2017, GSN's schedule accidentally showed the September 18, 2012 episode (#S-5657, the second episode of Season 30) in place of the February 11, 2014 episode (#S-5957 from Season 31's Venetian Valentine's Day week, 300 episodes later), which is what actually aired. This was likely due to a misreading of episode numbers. This error did not happen again on subsequent listings of Venetian Valentine's Day week.

On January 1, 2018, GSN aired a six-hour marathon of Wheel to celebrate New Year's Day, which consisted of Season 31 episodes from December and January (see below). This was the first and only Wheel marathon since 2010. It was also the only time since April 2017 that Wheel aired outside of its 12:00 and 12:30 PM Eastern time slots.

Beginning in mid-2018, GSN began airing several "holiday" weeks, including Halloween week and the various Christmas-themed weeks, on random occasions outside of their appropriate months, while the other weeks began airing in a random order rather than in the order they originally aired. Despite this, the "holiday" weeks also aired at their appropriate times, and other weeks not explicitly themed after holidays were often scheduled to air on appropriate occasions, such as Teacher's Week and College Week airing the first week of September in honor of back-to-school season, and Wheel Salutes Our Military week airing on Presidents' Day, Memorial Day, and Veterans Day.

On October 1, 2018, GSN rebranded and reverted to its full name: Game Show Network. While some programs left the schedule during this rebranding, Wheel remained. Game Show Network would continue rerunning the end of Season 30 and most of 31 until September 13, 2019, with the last episode to air being #S-5985 from March 21, 2014, the final episode of Season 31's third America's Game week. On September 16, the 12:00 PM Eastern hour was replaced with Deal or No Deal.

Initially on nighttime repeats (as well as those for sister show Jeopardy!), the King World logo, music, and spiel were replaced by the Columbia-TriStar Television logo, music, and spiel by Charlie O'Donnell. The spiel began with "Distributed by..." (said by either Johnny Gilbert for Jeopardy! or Jack Clark/M. G. Kelly/Charlie/Johnny for Wheel), followed by Charlie's "Columbia-TriStar Television!". The spiel also occurred on other Sony-owned games including Pyramid, The Joker's Wild, and Tic-Tac-Dough.

In November 2000, GSN began leaving the King World logo and spiel intact on Wheel with the Columbia-TriStar logo (minus Charlie's spiel) following it. This was dropped when the network opted to cut shows off early.


The daytime version has remained largely untouched, minus three episodes (see below). A Total Living interview with Chuck Woolery included clips of the March 15, 1978 show with a 2004 GSN logo, suggesting that the network has it as well. They have all daytime episodes from about mid-1985 onward, as confirmed by at least three posts on alt.tv.game-shows in 1996-97.

Wheel 2000

The entire series, which primarily ran on CBS, was also aired by GSN and continued in repeats afterward. While originally having a prominent place among the "Kids' Zone" block, along with network exclusive Jep! and classic child-oriented games (including Joker! Joker! Joker! and the 1970s-80s revivals of Juvenile Jury), it moved around the schedule several times over the ensuing three years.

By mid-2001, the show was put on Fridays at 4:30 AM as part of the "Cable in the Classroom" hour, with Jep! airing at 4:00. The reruns ceased in October 2001.

12 Games of Christmas

The December 25, 1992 show led off one of the network's Christmas-themed marathons of game show episodes that originally aired in December 2000 and was repeated on Christmas Day 2001. Hosted by Betty White, each episode had a play-along question for the home audience, the Wheel one being "What is the Christmas gift Vanna gives to Pat?" (the answer was "A book by Jack Paar").

Oddly, the episode had a TV-PG rating despite nothing in-show warranting it; however, a separate airing from early-mid December 2001 had a TV-G rating.

Merv Griffin Tribute

On August 18-19, 2007, following the death of series creator Merv Griffin, GSN aired several Wheel and Jeopardy! episodes in tribute along with the nighttime premiere of Play Your Hunch (April 15, 1960) and a To Tell The Truth episode he guest-hosted (April 17 or 24, 1961). While the Jeopardy! marathon only consisted of the Million-Dollar Masters tournament at Radio City Music Hall (May 1-14, 2002) and its 4,000th episode (aired on May 15 and taped at the same venue), Wheel fans got considerably more variety:


  • June 7, 1976 (#368: only Woolery episode reran)
  • December 13, 1982 (#2,016: Vanna White's first permanent show)
  • January 9, 1989 (#3,564: Pat Sajak's last daytime show {listed by GSN as #NTD1-3686})


  • September 19, 1983 (#S-001/Premiere: Jeff/Leslie/Linda {listed by GSN as #S-0001})
  • October 5, 1987 (#S-796: Big Month of Cash, Day 1 {listed by GSN as #S-0796})
  • November 14, 1988 (#S-1026: Radio City Music Hall, Day 1)
  • September 24, 1992 (#S-1769: includes clips of the 10th-Anniversary gala)
  • February 24, 1997 (#S-2656: debut of the electronic puzzle board and green/gold W-H-E-E-L envelope holder)
  • April 1, 1997 (#S-2677: Alex Trebek and Lesly Sajak guest-host while Pat and Vanna play for charity)
  • November 10, 2003 (#S-3946: ceremonial 4,000th episode/clip show)

According to this post, the airing order was 368, 2016, S-0001, S-0796, S-1026, S-2656, S-3946, S-2677, NTD1-3686, S-1769.

Black Friday Marathon

In an unexpected move, GSN aired six hours of Wheel on November 26, 2010. Strangely, while all 12 episodes were new-to-GSN, the marathon consisted of two shows from Season 23 and ten from Season 24.

Season 23

  • February 27, 2006 (#S-4411: Soap Stars Week, Day 1)
  • February 28, 2006 (#S-4412: Soap Stars Week, Day 2)

Season 24

  • November 13, 2006 (#S-4531: Family Week, Day 1)
  • November 14, 2006 (#S-4532: Family Week, Day 2)
  • November 15, 2006 (#S-4533: Family Week, Day 3)
  • November 16, 2006 (#S-4534: Family Week, Day 4)
  • November 17, 2006 (#S-4535: Family Week, Finale)
  • May 14, 2007 (#S-4661: Armed Forces Week, Day 1)
  • May 15, 2007 (#S-4662: Armed Forces Week, Day 2)
  • May 16, 2007 (#S-4663: Armed Forces Week, Day 3)
  • May 17, 2007 (#S-4664: Armed Forces Week, Day 4)
  • May 18, 2007 (#S-4665: Armed Forces Week, Finale)

GSN's schedule PDFs indicate the Season 24 shows were aired in their proper order, followed by the Season 23 ones. As with the Season 12 reruns, closed captioning was re-done. Originally produced in HD, all Season 24 shows were cropped to the 4:3 aspect ratio. Oddly, the SPIN IDs were not edited out of these episodes.

New Year's Marathon

GSN aired a six-hour marathon of Wheel on January 1, 2018 between 8:00 AM and 2:00 PM, consisting of Season 31 episodes within the same lease that the network aired regularly at the time. The following episodes were aired:

  • January 27, 2014 (#S-5946: Winter Hideaways, Day 1)
  • January 28, 2014 (#S-5947: Winter Hideaways, Day 2)
  • January 29, 2014 (#S-5948: Winter Hideaways, Day 3)
  • January 30, 2014 (#S-5949: Winter Hideaways, Day 4)
  • January 31, 2014 (#S-5950: Winter Hideaways, Finale)
  • December 30, 2013 (#S-5926: New Year's from Las Vegas, Day 1)
  • January 6, 2014 (#S-5931: America's Game II, Day 1)
  • January 7, 2014 (#S-5932: America's Game II, Day 2)
  • December 31, 2013 (#S-5927: New Year's from Las Vegas, Day 2)
  • January 1, 2014 (#S-5928: New Year's from Las Vegas, Day 3)
  • January 2, 2014 (#S-5929: New Year's from Las Vegas, Day 4)
  • January 3, 2014 (#S-5930: New Year's from Las Vegas, Finale)


GSN has done several promos for Wheel, including a commercial parodying the wrestling company then known as WWF with Pat "Powerhouse" Sajak. Conversely, both Wheel and Jeopardy! promoted the network in short ads during the credits in the late 1990s, and also used part of the Radio City Music Hall intro footage from the 1988 shows as part of a promo for Press Your Luck when acquired by GSN in 2001.

Another Wheel-esque promo was part of the network's semi-generic 2007 "Get in the Drama" promotion. The faux Wheel included $0, $1,250, $2,000, $10,000, Bankrupt, a Jackpot wedge somewhat resembling its 1986-88 daytime version, and several other wedges not seen in regular gameplay; the wedges all had white borders, resulting in Bankrupt looking much like it did from 1974-75. Interestingly, an early-1976 episode held by the Paley Center for Media has white borders around all the wedges on all three Wheel layouts.

Other promos in the "Get in the Game" campaign were Action, Challenge, Fun (featuring Chuck Woolery and Bob Goen), and Thrills.

After Wheel returned to GSN in 2016, a promo was made featuring a montage of contestants' letter calls spelling out the show's title.

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