Wheel of Fortune History Wiki

Evolution of a slate: 1973...

January 1983...

July 1983...

August 1988...

January 1997...

July 1997...

September 1998...

November 2004...

December 2012...

...and February 2013.

Daniel Benfield (that would be me :) is a Co-Administrator and semi-frequent contributor of the Wheel of Fortune History Wiki who was born on August 23, 1988 and lives in Deerfield Beach, Florida – hometown of October 1994 contestant Scot, winner of $49,385; no, I don't know him. :P

I had thrown around the idea of a Wheel timeline in July 2009 and got support from the WOFL board, but a lack of familiarity with Wiki software and general confusion on my part led to only a partial Season 26/daytime being done (long since redundant) before I gave up.

Around March 2011, when TenPoundHammer posted on the Sony Boards about his timeline on Angelfire, I quickly realized that such a page would be an absolute pain to edit (not to mention keep track of what had been changed or added) and sent TPH a PM suggesting he put it on Wikia.

And so here we are with probably the #1 source of Wheel info on the Internet. :)

(By the way, you can find me on YouTube and Twitter. These used to be at the end, but who reads that far? :P)

Other Game Show Wikis of Note

Video Archives
Because the Video Archives here aren't the only ones around.

What I'm Looking For

  • The rest of Byrnes' second pilot (although I've heard most of the final segment).
  • Any and all Variety articles on the show.
  • The 1975 Celebrity Sweepstakes episode with Chuck Woolery that's held by Archival Television Audio, Inc.
  • The A&E Biography episodes on TV Game Shows, Vanna White, and Merv Griffin.
  • A full copy of the show's E! True Hollywood Story - I have a partial (approx. first 30 minutes, ends just after mentioning the scathing reviews Vanna got for Goddess of Love) copy thanks to a Buy A Vowel (BAV) user, which is great and provided some pics for this Wiki...but I'd love to see the whole thing.
  • From April 12, 2013, "I wanted to go somewhere else, if it's alright."

Created Pages



Other Notes

As a personal rule, I follow every article, picture, and user page on this Wiki to stay up-to-date on any changes. I began following the IP-address editors on November 26, 2011.

One of my favorite Sajak quotes was during a Final Spin, when he landed on Surprise: "I may have to spin again because the host can't get a Surprise; he already has enough of those."

On January 6, 2011, during the Vanna for a "Day" contest, I recommended the only person I could think of: Susan Stafford.

I received the First Edition (1975) board game on Christmas Day 2011, and the Second Edition just under three months later. :)

The Peabody Awards Collection Archives (which I discovered in mid-September 2012) hold three Wheel episodes: #S-1730 (May 8, 1992), #S-2001 (November 15, 1993), and #S-2149 (September 8, 1994).

Old WOFL/BAV Signatures

  • Over one hundred thousand words just waiting to be read on the Wheel Of Fortune History Wiki!
    • (Gift certificates do not include sales tax.)
  • Over one million words just waiting to be read on the Wheel Of Fortune History Wiki!
    • (Signing-up isn't required, but encouraged.)
  • The famous Wheel is spinning, spinning, spinning! And our users are winning, winning, winning! Because there's lots of facts and some fabulous articles just waiting to be read on The Wheeeeeel Of Fortune History Wiki!
    • "...you know, we're not above spreading misinformation." -Pat Sajak admits what we all knew, 12/15/95.
  • What's killing the budget? If you said "the garlicky breath of Mr. Sajdak", please seek medical assistance. Or go to The Wheel Of Fortune History Wiki. Either way, you learn stuff. :)
    • "...you know, we're not above spreading misinformation." -Pat Sajak admits what we all knew, 12/15/95.
  • Category: What's killing the Wheel budget? Incorrect guess: THE GARLICKY BREATH OF MR. SAJDAK.
    • The Wheel Of Fortune History Wiki: the only place you'll find strawberry lip girls at their cat's end...I frickin' hope. Plus Abraham Bincoln, Brad Haisley, pill-pushers, and an ugly child – desi, dem, and dose guys.
    • "...you know, we're not above spreading misinformation." -Pat Sajak admits what we all knew, 12/15/95.
  • The Wheel Of Fortune History Wiki: the only place you'll find strawberry lip girls at their cat's end...I frickin' hope. Plus Abraham Bincoln, Brad Haisley, pill-pushers, and an ugly child – desi, dem, and dose guys.
    • "...you know, we're not above spreading misinformation." -Pat Sajak admits what we all knew, 12/15/95.
  • The Wheel Of Fortune History Wiki: the only place you'll find strawberry lip girls at their cat's end...I frickin' hope. Plus Abraham Bincoln, Brad Haisley, Regis Philbrin, pill-pushers, an ugly child, and our editors trying to kill the vampire with the Earth bird, fish love, and a self-potato at the wishing bowl.
    • Desi, dem, and dose guys.
  • The Wheel Of Fortune History Wiki: a veritable cornucopia of the ups, downs, and all-arounds of America's Game. Did I mention the videos? :D
    • "We'll put another Wheelmobile wedge on the Wheel, and after that...we'll just smack each other around with it." -Pat being his usual goofy self even in the world of dreams, 11/26-27/12.
  • The Wheel of Fortune History Wiki: a veritable cornucopia of the ups, downs, and all-arounds of America's Game. Did I mention the videos? :D
    • "We'll put another Wheelmobile wedge on the Wheel, and after that...we'll just smack each other around with it." -Pat being his usual goofy self in a dream I had, 11/26-27/12.
  • The Wheel of Fortune History Wiki: a veritable cornucopia of the ups, downs, and all-arounds of The World's Game. Did I mention the videos? :D
    • "What are we gonna gripe about tomorrow? See, we're finding flaws in this show! Just because it's a big hit doesn't mean it doesn't have flaws!" -June 1, 1995: After he and Vanna voice their gripes, Pat eerily predicts how I've felt about the show since late 2010. Dafuq?!

Behind-the-Scenes Videos

  • August 1983/2000s?/October 31, 1983 (blooper reels, nighttime/nighttime/daytime)
  • May 1, 1985 (T.G.I.4 {KRON series}, nighttime; has no Winter decorations, while the Wheel has $700, $800, $900, and the wide-font $1,000)
  • October 1986 (KDSK, daytime; has the third sunburst backdrops and post-"walls" host backdrop; interestingly, part of the first report uses the 1983 "Changing Keys")
  • November 28, 1986 (20/20, nighttime; despite the airdate, the clips come from Season 3 {more specifically, October 1985 with Charlie O'Donnell announcing}; about four episodes are shown, but only two have names legible: Dave/Stephanie/? {female} and Stephen/Deborah/Marcia)
  • February 1987 (WCTI?, regards a train tour done by Pat and Vanna; begins with the report as-aired, followed by the unedited interview)
  • 1987 (KAMC, daytime; appears to be part of a series {the next report would involve one of the show's biggest winners, but it isn't online; the first person that springs to mind is Judy Bongarzone, who was the biggest winner at that point})
  • December 1987? (KATU, nighttime; the main behind-the-scenes clips are definitely from Christmas '87, as the set is decorated for the holiday and the original $25,000 sign is present; clips are also shown of Lois Wainer's nighttime appearance {October 1983-February 1984, with the light-up white trees})
  • November 12, 1988 (CBS special, nighttime; taped in October, prior to the Radio City tapings, as it previews those episodes by showing unfinished parts of the set {although the last part before the credits was done the day of the tapings})
  • July 17-18, 1989 (The Pat Sajak Show, daytime)


A few players I really can't find much info on, for one reason or another.

  • One player is the basis of a documentary by Shauna Dillavou called The Luckiest Shauna – Dillavou was born on November 28, 1979 and was named after a Wheel champ named Shauna (who also played on at least the 29th). Among other things, Dillavou got stories about how other people were named; she later went to Los Angeles to attend a Wheel taping and watch the 1970s episodes held by Paley Center, where she learned there actually used to be returning champs on the show (which is highly depressing).
    • Interestingly, this is a case where what circulates is beneficial: namely, December 4 (a Tuesday), where Ginger was returning for her second day with $3,000. November 28 was a Wednesday, and as the limit was three days (and had been since at least July 5, 1977) Shauna likely retired on the 30th. That said, given one recollection of how ties were handled in those days and the fact that the returning game didn't count toward the limit (or at least after the Bonus Round debuted), it's possible there were a couple of low-scoring games and Ginger beat Shauna.
  • Tom Koch played in 1980.
  • John Lafontant? played somewhere around Christmas sometime during Chuck's tenure, likely before 1981. He ended up winning a gold necklace from Tiffany's, which he gave to his mother (Jewel, a Chicago attorney) for Christmas.
  • An unknown female played in the 1980s ("Her highest-profile event must've been a spot on "Wheel of Fortune" in the '80s.").
  • Mark Richards (yes, him) played sometime prior to about 1983 (source: Paul Gilbert, then-contestant coordinator for Wheel), and "you weren't one of our best contestants" – which, I'm guessing, is the nice way of saying "You sucked, and sucked hard." It's probably why Mark hasn't put up said appearance on his YouTube channel (nor anything of him doing Starcade, but that was probably because Ted freaking Turner said he sucked at it).

Variety Extracts

What I've been able to get out of the free search engine, because I'm not going to pay a lot for these articles. Any changes are to add article links, while my personal comments are in [brackets]. Also, "web" refers to the networks, albeit a pretty frickin' weird term for it.


  • 7/31/74 (Daily, Page 7): "New Game Show Murray Schwartz, president of Merv Griffin Prods., reports the company will produce a new game- show pilot for NBC tentatively titled "Shopper's Bazaar." John Rhinehart produces and Marty Pasetta directs." [...Well, that'd explain where the whole "1974 pilot was Shopper's Bazaar" came from...]
  • 9/12/74 (Daily, Page 8): "Columnist Susan Stafford has been set as hostess of "Wheel Of Fortune," new gameshow pilot being produced for NBC by Merv Griffin Prods. Stafford will cohost with previously set Edd Byrnes." [...So they still wanted Edd even two weeks after he taped the second and third pilots?]
  • 12/11/74 (Weekly, Page 30): "Other NBC daytime changes due that day are the debuts of gameshows "Wheel of Fortune" and "Blank Check" earlier in the day and the permanent extension of the "Another World" serial into hourlong length during the 3-4 p.m. timeslot."
  • 12/13/74 (Daily, Page 10): "Chuck Woolery has been named to host NBC-TV's new game show, "Wheel Of Fortune," which debuts Jan. 6. Hostess is Susan Stafford." [...Wow, they were really pushing the deadline there, weren't they? From this and the above, it seems NBC picked up the show before getting rid of Byrnes.]
  • 12/20/74 (Daily, Page 15): ""Wheel Of Fortune," half-hour NBC-TV game show, created by Merv Griffin, is slated to bow Jan. 6 in the 9:30 a.m. time slot. Chuck Woolery and Susan Stafford are host and hostess. John Rhinehart is producer and Jeff Goldstein directs."

The show debuts

  • 1/15/75 (Weekly, Page 62): "WHEEL OF FORTUNE NBC-TV Supplier: Merv Griffin Prods. Director: Marty Pasetta 30 Mins., Mon.-Fri., 10:30 a.m. With Chuck Woolery, Susan Stafford" [...Wait, Pasetta? Pretty sure that's an error based on outdated info.]
    • "New from Merv Griffin Productions on the NBC-TV daytime sked, "Wheel of Fortune" impressed as a workmanlike gameshow that might build a moderate regular following. Little more than a tv variation of the gambling wheel long a staple on carnival midways, the game has a couple of qualities that are in its favor" [I'll quote that again – "might build a moderate regular following". Bit closer to "might blow its competition out of the water and air daily for the next 40+ years", don't you think?]
    • "First of all, there are "bankrupt" slots on the wheel that "wipe the contestant out - and did on debut show, caught Jan. 6. Then, there are no cash outlays to winners, only a chance to shop for gifts within the extent of their winnings. Last but not least, host Chuck Woolery is personable and inclined to root for his contestants - a nice touch."
    • "The show's visual graphics are functional rather than neondazzly, which should help for the long run." [...And then they got all flashy in the 2000s. By the way, this is the full article.]
  • 2/26/76 (Daily, Page 11): "NBC'S HIGHEST RATED DAYTIME GAME SHOW [-] MERV GRIFFIN productions "Each week for past 4 week NIELSEN Ratings ..." [This is a one-page ad I'm guessing Merv put out.]
  • 3/17/76 (Weekly, Page 71): "NBC'S HIGHEST RATED DAYTIME GAME SHOW [-] MERV GRIFFIN productions [-] Each week for past 6 week NIELSEN Ratings ..." [This is a one-page ad I'm guessing Merv put out.]
  • 4/13/76 (Daily, Page 5): "John Rhinehart To Exit MGP's Wheel' [-] Producer John Rhinehart is departing Merv Griffin Prods.' "The Wheel Of Fortune Show," on NBC-TV. Rhinehart exit is a" [...A what? A saving grace? A relief? A shake-up? A dollop of Daisy?]
    • [Page 57 of the 4/14 Weekly issue says about the same thing: "Producer John Rhinehart is departing Merv Griffin Productions' "The Wheel of Fortune Show," on NBC-TV. He will remain with the show until a new producer is named, said MG Prez Murray Schwartz." Also, yes, they actually called it The Wheel of Fortune Show. (facepalm)]
  • 4/29/76 (Daily, Page 8): "Jones Named Producer Of Wheel Of Fortune'" [...Wait, what?]
    • "[Merv Griffin?] has elevated Nancy Jones to the post of producer on "The Wheel Of Fortune" NBC-TV game show, replacing John Rhinehart, reports Murray Schwartz, MGP president. Jones originally joined the "Wheel Of Fortune" staff as an associate producer when the program bowed in January of 1974." [... Okay, lemme get this straight: the show's been on for almost 17 months, and yet you still managed to give the wrong date for its beginning?! I wish that trend had stopped here...]
  • 5/14/76 (Daily, Page 4): "Rhinehart Named To NBC-TV Daytime Development Post [-] John Rhinehart has been appointed NBC-TV Coast director, daytime program development" [This is slightly restated on Page 52 of the 5/26 Weekly issue as "John Rhinehart named west coast director of daytime program development for NBC-TV".]
  • 8/25/76 (Weekly, Page 44): "Nancy Jones named producer of NBC-TV "Wheel Of Fortune" daytime gameshow, succeeding John Rhinehart, recently named daytime program development director, west coast, for the web."
  • 10/26/76 (Daily, Page 181): ""Wheel of Fortune." NBC's highest rated game show - Starring Chuck Woolery and Susan Stafford - Produced by Nancy Jones - Directed by Jeff Goldstein." [Interestingly, this was meshed with info about The Merv Griffin Show, whose director was...Dick Carson.]
  • 8/10/77 (Daily, Page 13): "27,000 Sq. Feet Added To TAV's Vine Street H.Q. (Continued from Page J, Column I) original facility on N. Vine Is also being redesigned and redecorated to take care of MGP's production staff of "Wheel Of Fortune," game show on NBC TV." [Not really anything much, but it might have resulted in some moving of the set for a little while.]
  • 2/2/78 (Daily, Page 16): "ROSELON INDUSTRIES CREATORS OF Silesta Commends The Staff Of ["Wheel" logo] On The Excellence Of Their Fashion Presentation For a "BRIDES WEEK" Airing Feb. 6-Feb. 10 on NBC, 10 A.M. Pacific Time[;] Prod.: NANCY JONES[;] Dir.: JEFF GOLDSTEIN[;] Assoc. Prod.: DAVID S. WILLIGER[;] Art Dir.: DICK STILES[;] STAFF[:] PAUL GILBERT[,] ROBIN KENNER[,] COLLEEN GRIFFIN[,] SUSU MAJURE[,] RICH LYONS[,] GINGER ROTH[,] SCOTT PAGE[,] ANNE SIEGAL[,] NANCY ROBBINS [...] R. R. Adams[,] President Roselon Ind.[;] Tom Dove[,] V.P. Merchandising" [Goldstein departed the show shortly afterward, with Dick Carson taking over for the next 21 years.]
  • 3/29/78 (Weekly, Page 41): "["High] Rollers" series, which departed from NBC's daytime sked a couple of years ago when the ratings tailed off. It pushes "Wheel Of Fortune" to 11:30 a.m. to replace "Knockout," which is finishing a poor third in the time period (a 5.0 rating and 22 share over 92 telecasts to date) behind ABC's "Family Feud" game (8.6 and 37 share)" [This is about the schedule shuffle when High Rollers returned on April 24. As for Knockout, I'm not going to fault it for failing against Feud as the latter had been on just 14 months when the former debuted.]
  • 8/30/78 (Weekly, Page 52): "The ABC[-]owned station loses the market leadership at 10:30 a.m. to KNBC's "Wheel of Fortune[,"] but gets it back with a vengeance at 11 via "Family Feud." with a high mark of 11.1 out of a HUT level of 22.8, "Family Feud" is the only double-digit daytime program in L.A."
  • 9/13/78 (Weekly, Page 52): "Lois Moreno, the director of program merchandising for NBC-TV in Burbank, can't remember the last time an NBC gameshow gave away a prize as lavish as a yacht. Moreno says she looks for unusual prizes, and is convinced that a show such as "High Rollers" is enhanced by offering antique furniture or that "Wheel Of Fortune" gets[...]"
  • 2/7/79 (Daily, Page 2): "New am sked starting March 5 is marked by a reshuf fling of some shows into different time slots, and opens with "Card Sharks," then "All Star Secrets," "The New High Roll-ers" and "Wheel Of Fortune," followed by "Password Plus" and "Hollywood Squares," then three[...]" [Regarding the post-Jeopardy! schedule.]
  • 2/14/79 (Weekly, Page 82): "HOLLYWOOD Actress Susan Stafford will be cohosting on three web stations over the next 30 days: "It Takes All Kinds" on KNXT, "Wheel of Fortune" on KNBC and KABC-TV's "AM Los Angeles""
  • 5/16/79 (Weekly, Page 100): "Summer Bartholomew and Cynthia Washington will sub a week each for Susan Stafford as hostess of NBC-TV's "Wheel Of Fortune" daytime gameshow series until Stafford recovers from recent auto accident injuries"
  • 7/16/80 (Weekly, Page 57): "[...] to such a disastrous Nielsen start (. Variety, July 9) that NBC will slice a half-hour out of its 90-minute running time as of Aug. 4. The "Wheel of Fortune" gameshow, originally slated to be cancelled, will stay on the air at 11 a. m. Also on Aug. 4, NBC will introduce a new soap opera, "Texas," which will run weekdays from 3 to 4 p. m" [This is, of course, referring to The David Letterman Show.]
  • 7/23/80 (Weekly, Page 101): "[...] in an effort to tighten the daily morning talkvariety series which has had severe ratings problems since its June 23 premiere. Bob Sarlatte will leave the show and Valri Bromfield will have a more limited participation schedule. On that same date, the reprieved "Wheel Of Fortune" will air from 11 to 11: 30 a. m." [Again referring to The David Letterman Show, which shrunk from 90 to 60 minutes on August 4.]
  • 7/25/80 (Daily, Page 31): "'Wheel Of Fortune'Will Spin Again For NBC-TV [-] "Wheel Of Fortune," which was axed by NBC-TV in May to make way for its new David Letterman [Show]" [Um, it wasn't canned in May...unless that was when Silverman announced its demise would be August 1, which would be dark given that Chuck and Susan spent the last segment of May 7 saying that Wheel wasn't going anywhere in the foreseeable future.]
  • 12/14/81 (Daily, Page 18): "Pat Sajak, weather forecaster on KNBC, takes over as host of "Wheel Of Fortune," on NBC-TV's game show, replacing Chuck Woolery, who departs the skein on Dec. 25. Sajak joins the show on Dec. 28." [Page 42 of the 12/16 Weekly issue notes that Sajak was not only a weatherman at KNBC but also hosted a public-affairs show on that station.]
  • 12/22/81 (Daily, Page 6): "Nancy Jones, Pat Sajak, Susan Stafford, to Hawaii." [Slightly later mention than Pat's appearance on Password Plus, although this is all I can extract. Amusingly, Page 55 of the January 8, 1982 Daily issue says "Nancy Jones, Pat Sajak, Susan Stafford In from Hawaii."]
  • 2/3/82 (Weekly, Page 102): "Noon anchor Dave Stanley interrupted "Wheel of Fortune" for a pick-up from Walt Hunter at 11:10 a.m. Wednesday (27)." [The "27" most likely refers to January 27, the previous Wednesday.]
  • 9/29/82 (Weekly, Page 75): "Susan Stafford, co-host of NBC-TV's "Wheel Of Fortune' series since 1975, is leaving the show in November to do p. r. and technician work studies at Houston's Dr. John Stehlin Cancer Foundation" [She left on 10/22; close enough.]
  • 10/27/82 (Weekly, Page 43): "But in daytime programming shares are the most important numbers, and "Texas" can't hang onto the 21 share posted by "Wheel Of Fortune" which precedes it at 10:30. "Texas" is blown out regularly by "The Price Is Right"" [Page 98 of the 7/14 Weekly issue gives another possible reason for Texas failing so badly, noting that KYW opted to air Card Sharks reruns instead and had previously aired Hawaii Five-O repeats instead of Letterman's show.]
  • 12/26/82 (Daily, Page 26): "Vanna White has become hostess of "Wheel Of Fortune," on NBC-TV, filling the job vacated by Susan Stafford last October."
  • 8/10/83 (Weekly, Page 46): "NBC had two shows in the top 10 during the week. "Wheel of Fortune" (11-11.30 a.m.) with a 7.2 rating and 30 share and "Days Of Our Lives"[...]"
  • 10/18/83 (Daily, Page 5): "The highest rated NBC series was "Wheel Of Fortune," which brought in a 5.8/29" [The next sentence mentions the debut of Press Your Luck, so I'm guessing this was for the week ending September 23.]
  • 3/21/84 (Weekly, Page 110): "NBC's "Wheel Of Fortune" is a respectable 8.1/31 for a 6 share improvement over the same two months of 1983."
  • 2/26/86 (Weekly, Page 47): "The strip ABC-TV will cancel for "Lifestyles [of the Rich and Famous]," "[Bruce Forsyth's] Hot Streak," averages only a 2 rating because it's up against the two most popular gameshows in network daytime, NBC's "Wheel Of Fortune" and the first half-hour of CBS' 60-minute "The Price Is Right."" [...And this is entirely ABC's fault because they slotted an unproven format by a relatively-new-in-the-States production company with a British host who was unknown to most of America but legendary in the UK against the two biggest games on the schedule at the time. I can kinda understand you'd want to have the ratings pie split three ways, but it's like ABC deliberately killed Hot Streak in favor of mindless drivel...]
  • 6/16/88 (Daily, Page 12): "Afternoon Slot Deejay M.G. Kelly has left KIIS FM after only six months in the afternoon-drive slot, which will be taken over by Bruce Vidal, who was bumped into the latenight seg when Kelly joined the station. According to KIIS, Kelly is leaving to focus on his syndicated radio shows and other outside activities" [Considering the timeframe, this was shortly before he started taping for Wheel.]
  • 1/4/89 (Weekly, Page 54): "Chargers placekicker Rolf Benirschke replaces Pat Sajak as host of "Wheel Of Fortune" on NBC-TV's daytime sked. Sajak continues to host syndie version."
  • 2/1/89 (Weekly, Page 130): "Wheel Of Fortune" hosts Vanna White and Rolf Benirschke will audition contestants during March at Resorts." [Pretty sure this is Merv's resort in Las Vegas.]
  • 5/24/89 (Weekly, Page 2): "'Golden Girls' to replace 'Wheel' on NBC's daytime sked [-] NBC, in the first of what's expected to be several forthcoming adjustments to its daytime schedule, will replace "Wheel Of Fortune" with "The Golden Girls." The show will appear on the schedule beginning July 3, per NBC's new v.p. of daytime programs Jacqueline Smith" [Didn't work. Neither did Let's Make A Deal or To Tell The Truth, for that matter.]
  • 5/31/89 (Weekly, Page 53): "[...] with the "Today" show's 4.2/21 (3.6/17), KRON swamps scattered opposition with "Geraldo" at 4.4/23 (4.0/20), "Wheel Of Fortune" at 4.9/27 (3.4/17) and "Concentration" at 4.6/25 (4.0/21)."
  • 6/21/89 (Weekly, Page 52): ""Wheel Of Fortune," which departs its daytime sked June 30 (headed for CBS-TV), with reruns of "The Golden Girls" in the 11: 30 time period Monday through Friday. "Girls" will begin airing July 5 (the web has Wimbledon tennis in that time period July 3 and 4)." [...So NBC initially replaced daytime Wheel with...Wimbledon tennis. That was worth it.]

The move to CBS

  • 7/7/89 (Daily, Page 10): "Goen To Host 'Wheel' As It Moves To CBS [-] Bob Goen has been selected as the new host of "Wheel Of Fortune," which joins CBS-TV's daytime lineup at 10:30 a.m. July 17."
  • 8/4/89 (Daily, Page 8): "The web has also gained some ground on the a.m. sked with "Wheel of Fortune" (2.8/12), which has picked up a few tenths of a rating point over what "Now You See It" was averaging when viewers could see it in that 9:30 a.m. slot."
  • 8/16/89 (Weekly, Page 57): "Move will also put Finn closer to Hollywood where he still has hopes of landing a spot as a gameshow host. He was a finalist to replace Pat Sajak on "Wheel Of Fortune."" [Finn? As in Pat Finn? Huh.]
  • 10/25/90 (Daily, Page 2): "Rachins' character, Douglas Brackman, fulfills a dream — by meeting Vanna White and playing the "Wheel." It's quite a change from tonight's seg in which he deals with a sexual surrogate" [A synopsis of the L.A. Law episode "Vowel Play", which begins with daytime Wheel. Sure they were on different networks, but they weren't two-and-a-half months later!]
  • 12/21/90 (Daily, Page 3): "KEEPS ON TURNING 'Wheel' Rolls Back To NBC's Sked Dec. 20). Bob Goen and Vanna White will remain as hosts." [...Except it was actually 1/14. Was 12/20 the first taping for the NBC return?]

The return to NBC (while taping at Television City)

  • 3/11/91 (Daily, Page 6): "[...] for reviving the locally produced "Kelly & Gail." a 30-minute female-oriented talkshow strip hosted by anchor Kelly I.ange and Gail Parent that performed poorly in the period. It also hurts the daytime version of "Wheel Of Fortune." which was relegated to 3 am from 9:30 a.m. when "Donahue went" [...Went what? To the bathroom? Also, holy crap was daytime Wheel treated badly in '91.]
  • 8/19/91 (Weekly, Page 1): "DOSE OF REALITY K [-] The number of game shows on the networks' daytime schedules has fallen to an alltime low, and some experts predict that ABC, CBS and NBC are about to abandon the format altogether. NBC just canceled its last two game shows, "Wheel Of Fortune" and "Classic Concentration," and earlier this summer, ABC axed ["Match Game."]"
  • 8/19/91 (Weekly, Page 62): "[...] two of the best game shows on the air in 'Wheel of Fortune' and 'Concentration' but they skewed too old [and] advertisers weren't rushing in to buy them. We're now looking for programs in the reality/talk/information vein." But NBC won't replace the two games with network programming. Instead, it'll give the 10 [a].m. hour back [to the affiliates.]" [...So in the end, it wasn't ratings that killed daytime Wheel – it was "bad" demos and a lack of advertisers.]


Beginning in 1984, the listings become harder to distinguish between.

  • 2/9/77 (Weekly, Page 45): "Firmed to start, but not for prime access, is Winchester's "Jim Nabors Show" daily variety skein, which Syndicast will barter. Off-Web Games [-] There are some new gameshows available, led by nighttime versions of "Wheel Of Fortune," "Tattletales," "Family Feud"" [This would appear to be Merv's first attempt at syndie Wheel, but it was the only one of these three games that didn't get to...at least not yet.]
  • 11/29/78 (Weekly, Page 48): "[...] which have an overall production outlay of about $7,000,000, he is involved in a number of gameshow projects, such as "Name That Tune," "Celebrity Sweepstakes" and "Wheel Of Fortune." He packages the pilots, then departs the show, gaining a royalty for his participation, said the producer-director" [This may not have much to do with anything, but Tune and Sweepstakes both had syndicated runs, the latter doing so twice before ending for good in '77. This might be regarding a syndie Wheel.]
  • 2/20/80 (Weekly, Page 52): "Twentieth Century-Fox TV, feeling left out because it came to NATPE as just about the only major distributor with no gameshow strip to sell,-announced on Sunday ([2/]17) that it has just bought the syndication rights to "Wheel of Fortune" from Merv Griffin Productions"

The attempt that worked

  • 1/13/83 (Daily, Page 38): ""Wheel Of Fortune," the eight-year NBC daytime game-show, is being offered as an access strip for the 1983-84 season by King World Productions. The Merv Griffin Prods, series will consist of 39"
  • 2/2/83 (Weekly, Page 92): "Wheel Of Fortune' In lst-Run Syndie From King WorldKing World Productions has begun syndicating a proposed firstrun-syndication five-a-week version of the ongoing NBC daytime-tv strip "Wheel Of Fortune." Wheel," an eight-year veteran of the NBC daytime schedule, continues as the highest-rated gameshow on the network." [And no, that isn't a typo by me – the blurb says "lst-Run", as in Last-Run.]
    • "The hosts are Pat Sajak and Vanna White."
  • 2/16/83 (Weekly, Page 105 advert): "Introducing a Wheel with Legs. \ bu want a fresh new access strip because your current show is slipping. And yet you want a no-risk access strip. "Wheel of Fortune" fills both demands. Beautifully. It's a new entry in the access arena ready for a September '83 start. And it's"
  • 2/23/83 (Weekly, Page 67 advert): "Introducing a Wheel with Legs. \ bu want a fresh new access strip for Fall '83 because your current show is slipping. And yet you want a no-risk access strip. The new "Wheel of Fortune" fills both demands. Beautifully It's 39 weeks of first-run originals ( to carry you through" [I'm not copying the thing, mind you; the thumbnails of the 2/16 and 2/23 ads actually show the text was changed.]
  • 3/16/83 (Weekly, Page 43): "King World's "Wheel of Fortune" also gets high marks because it's feeding off NBC's only successful daytime series. But as part of the contract with NBC, King World is pretty much restricted to selling it in prime-access time periods, and the question is whether there'll be enough of an access marketplace to allow "Wheel""
  • 3/23/83 (Weekly, Page 43): "Because the fourth quarter of 1983 and the first quarter of the 1984 look bullish for national and local spot, two new strips being offered for cash only, with no barter time taken out by the syndicator - King World's "Wheel Of Fortune" and Metromedia Producers Corp.'s "The New Pantomime Quiz" - were getting" [...Getting what? Getting little to no attention? Getting bad publicity? Getting jiggy with it?]
  • 4/13/83 (Weekly, Page 46): "King World has given an official go to strip syndication of "Wheel Of Fortune," for release in September of 1983. "Wheel" thus becomes the seventh new firstrun strip assured of a go for the 1983-84 syndication season." [Based on these and a few adverts from this time, I'm beginning to doubt whether the ratings really did go into the danger zone during 1982-83.]
    • "Pat Sajak will be the host of both versions. In syndication, King World is offering "Wheel" on cash-only deals."
  • 4/13/83 (Weekly, Page 69 advert): ""Wheel of Fortune" is the only fell access game that will carry them through the May '84 sweeps with all-new, first-run stripping (39 and 13). Stations also know "Wheel of Fortune" is the only new access strip with a 9-year hit record of network daytime success (NBC's Number One show). And no network daytime hit has ever foiled[...]"
  • 8/10/83 (Weekly, Page 54): "WBNS-TV plans to air more than 40 hours of programs from the Ohio State Fair, including two syndicated shows that will be taped at the station's pavilion. The noon editions of the news will air live from the pavilion on weekdays during the fair; the syndicated gameshow "Wheel Of Fortune" will be taped there on Aug. 18-19 and "The 20-Minute Workout" will be taped there on Aug. 9-10." [I'm pretty sure this is hard evidence the Ohio State Fair week did in fact actually happen, which only got more confirmed when photos finally surfaced in 2014.]
  • 8/17/83 (Weekly, Page 46): "'Wheel Of Fortune' Gets A New Chance On WPVI-TV Philly [-] King World Productions "Wheel Of Fortune" strip, the only new primetime-access five-a-weeker slated to begin in the fall of 1983, has landed the key 7:30-p. m. time period on WPVI-TV, the No. 1-rated station in Philadelphia. The deal is unusual in that KYWTV, the Group W[...]"
  • 8/24/83 (Weekly, Page 41): "And from 1976 to 1982, Colbert commissioned King World to sell Colbert's shows. Colbert and King World parted ways last year when King World bought the syndication rights to "Wheel Of Fortune," putting it in conflict with "Tic Tac" and "Joker's." Dick Colbert says he's now thinking[...]"

After the show's debut

  • 9/7/83 (Weekly, Page 60): "WKBW-TV has moved "Wheel Of Fortune" into the weeknight 7 p.m. access slot."
  • 11/2/83 (Weekly, Page 97 advert): ""Wheel of Fortune" is a smash hit in all four of its early metered markets! KXAS Dallas, WDIV Detroit, WPVI-TV Philadelphia and WDVM-TV Washington!" [The advert also appears on Page 61 of the 11/9 Weekly issue.]
  • 11/9/83 (Weekly, Page 46): "[...] affiliate in San Francisco, has bought King World's "Wheel Of Fortune," the prime-access version of the hit network gameshow on NBC. Station started stripping it Oct. 31 at 7 p.m. The loser in this transaction is Telepictures Corp.'s "Love Connection." KRON will shift "Love Connection," which wasn't getting competitive ratings, [...]"
  • 11/23/83 (Weekly, Page 91): "The first Nielsen report card of the tv-syndication season is in and the highlights include: - King World's new syndicated version of the NBC gameshow "Wheel Of Fortune" is chalking up solid ratings in all its markets so far and looks as though"
  • 11/30/83 (Weekly, Page 81): "WPVI-TV regained a commanding 7:30 p.m. lead in October for the first time since November 1980, via an 18/ 31 Nielsen for "Wheel Of Fortune.""
  • 12/7/83 (Weekly, Page 39): "Prime Access In prime access time, 7:30-8 p.m., WDIV's recent buy of "Wheel Of Fortune" has proved itself in the timeslot, leading the market with a 20/30 in the ARB and 19/31 on Nielsen."
  • 12/14/83 (Weekly, Page 69): "KSDK has booted "Entertainment Tonight" out of access time, ticketing "Wheel Of Fortune" for a spin in that slot."
  • 12/28/83 (Weekly, Page 27): "Syndie Race Syndication takes over at 7 when WUAB, with "Mash" has 15/25. WEWS with its "Wheel Of Fortune," 14/25, just ahead of "That's Entertainment," 13/25"
  • 12/28/83 (Weekly, Page 30): "[...] in syndication, King DL World's "Wheel Of Fortune" came along this fall and quickly established itself as an instant winner, the hottest new access show since Viacom expanded "Family Feud" into a strip four years ago (Variety, Nov. 23)."
  • 3/2/88 (Weekly, Page 86): "The syndicated "Wheel Of Fortune" confirmed reports it will become an interactive game with viewers at home via Mattel Toys. Plan is to have "Wheel," highest rated first run syndie strip ever, become "Television Play-Along Wheel Of Fortune" this fall, which starts the show's sixth season. The "play-along" feature is possible by" [Searching for "invisible" in this issue pulls up this blurb, so I'm guessing the article used "invisible signals". The fact it specifically mentions Season 6 would explain why the game still worked when those shows reran on GSN.]
  • 9/28/88 (Weekly, Page 64): "syndicated "Wheel Of Fortune" spins in Gotham Oct. 26 and 27 with tapings at Radio City Music Hall." [This is re-confirmed on Page 74 and again in the October 26 Weekly issue.]
  • 1/4/89 (Weekly, Page 27): "You could call this connectivity. Tip of iceberg Interactive Systems helped devise the technology for the "Wheel Of Fortune" game marketed by Mattel, which retails for roughly $70."

Lin Bolen

Unlike the Wikipedia article on her (apparently edited by Bolen herself), contemporary Variety has her there in June 1975 but gone by March 1976...and possibly September '75, suggesting that the end of Jackpot! (due to her forcing Bob Stewart to overhaul it from big-money riddles to low-budget Q&A) was the catalyst. It's also possible that the September blurbs refer only to her schedule changes in the past tense, which would explain a bit.

  • 9/24/75 (Weekly, Page 54): "Under Bolen, the morning gameshow changes accelerated at a dizzying (and, it seemed at the time, pointless) pace, but eventually the move of "Celebrity Sweepstakes' to 10 o'clock network lead-in spot [on January 6, 1975] made the NBC morning game-and-quizshow block jell."
    • "CBS led by more than the combined efforts of NBC and ABC together in six of them. The expansion of the two afternoon serials ("Days" and "Another World") to one-hour formats was the stroke that turned NBC around during 1975."
  • 12/16/75 (Daily, Page 10): "NBC daytime programming veepee Lin Bolen specifically characterized the type of questions viewers will ask as, Should I sunbathe In the nude, even though my husband accuses me of being an exhibitionist? or Should I marry a woman who refuses to tell me about her past romances?"

Susan Stafford

Blurbs relating to Susan and her career before and during Wheel.

  • 3/17/72 (Daily, Page 20): "Plan Syndicating Susan Stafford Show Cleveland, March 16-Susan Stafford, entertainment editor for McLendon radio stations through out U.S., has been signed by 50,000-watt WGAR, marking step in syndic plan for her broadcasts. Miss Stafford is now heard five times dally on KOST and XTRA, L.A. and San Diego, WWWW, Detroit"
  • 4/5/73 (Daily, Page 16): "Second round of a Sugar Ray Robinson interview airs Sunday on KOST on The Susan Stafford Show, while Ms. Stafford is set as guest hostess on Mario Machado's "Noontime" on KNXT through the end of the week."
  • 6/29/73 (Daily, Page 12): "Susan Stafford, syndicated broadcast columnist, has been named entertainment editor for KMEX-TVs NFB (news, finance, business), according to NFB programming director James Newman."
  • 10/18/73 (Daily, Page 9): "Stafford In Love [-] Radio-tv commentator Susan Stafford will guest in the "Love And The Awkward Age" episode of ABC's "Love, American Style.""
  • 9/12/75 (Daily, Page 16): "Susan Stafford, cohost of NBC-TV's daytime game show, "Wheel Of Fortune," has been cast in "The Covenant" episode of ABC's "Marcus Welby." and in "The Adventures Of Auld Lang Syne" stanza of NBC's "Ellery Queen.""
  • 7/16/80 (Weekly, Page 68): "CBS Tries 'My Line' [-] CBS has ordered and will air three "That's My Line" programs out of Goodson-Todman Productions as a summer tryout series. Program apparently will have overtones of "Real People." Bob Barker will host with Susan Stafford as cohost. Tiu Leek also will be a regular." [I know the show happened, and ran for two seasons from 1980-81, but I don't think Susan was involved...was she?]

Mike Lawrence

Present in an attempt to figure out just who the crap this guy is.

  • 1/8/64 (Daily, Page 14): "Mike Laurence signed by producer Wilbur Stark to announce ABC-TV's "The Object Is" series."
  • 12/11/64 (Daily, Page 9): "MIKE LAURENCE Past: WARM-UP & SHOW ANNOUNCER "The Object Is" -ABC-TV[,] "Laugh: For Sale"-ABC-TV[,] "You Don't Say" -KTLA TV[,] "By The Numbers" -KTLA-TV[;] Present: BILLBOARDS "No Time For Sergeants" -ABC TV" [Likely a resume, as it's preceded by "Location Daily, Hourly or Monthly Rates MELROSE PLACE OL 3-9379". It's definitely our Mike Lawrence, but the KTLA YDS? Frickin' By the Numbers?!]
  • 3/28/73 (Weekly, Page 32): "Best Dell In Town [-] Mike Lawrence[,] who's in charge of hospitality arrangements for NBC, once again has turned the company's suite into the best Deli in town." [Huh. Might be how he got noticed by Merv.]
  • 3/14/74 (Daily, Page 1): "Newly elected to the board were Alice Backes. June Foray, Tom Brown, Mike Laurence. Charlie O'Donnell, Susan Donovan, Rulh Ashton Taylor and Larry Burrell AFTRA contracts be brought up to the level of those of Screen Actors Guild, and are refusing any net-work offered compromises."
  • 2/27/80 (Weekly, Page 55): "Babette Lawrence, 46, wife of actor-announcer Mike Lawrence, died Dec[...]" [Might be the same guy; not sure.]


Various odds, ends, and weird crap.

  • 8/19/75 (Daily, Page 6): "Births Jo Ann Pflug and Chuck Woolery, a girl, Melissa Kelly, Aug. 13, Cedars of Lebanon Hospital. Mother's the actress; father's host of NBC's "The Wheel Of Fortune."" [I only note this because I've been looking for Melissa's birthdate for quite some time.]
  • 5/3/76 (Daily, Page 8): "Chuck Woolery, host of NBC-TV's "The Wheel Of Fortune," will be a presenter for the LA. local Emmy Awards show, taping May 13 for airing on CBS-TV"
  • 8/11/76 (Daily, Page 6): "Chuck Woolery, host of NBC TV's "Wheel Of Fortune," has been signed to an exclusive recording contract with Warner/Curb Records." [This appears again in the 8/25 Weekly issue, Page 56.]
  • 11/1/76 (Daily, Page 9): "CHUCK WOOLERY Nugget, Sparks Songs 35 Mins. The host of NBC's "Wheel Of Fortune" is aiming for a club career and Nevada debuts as the opener for Rowan & Martin in the Nugget Celebrity Room. He is presenting mainly an act in progress, each night seeing revisions and replacements. Woolery has an excellent voice, one flexible enough to shine on both a slow "If" and a twangy. self-penned "Lone Star Hotel[...]" [Some of this appears again in the 11/3 Weekly issue, Page 70.]
  • 12/15/77 (Daily, Page 1): "John Rhinehart, who was daytime program development director, a free-lance producer before he joined NBC, will return to production."
  • 5/25/79 (Daily, Page 14): "tant to the producer on "Wheel Of Fortune."" [Not sure what this is referring to; it's listed among some birth notices.]
  • 12/31/79 (Daily, Page 4): "Weatherman Sajek Hosting 'Press Your Luck' Pilot [-] Pat Sajek. KNBC weather-man, will host "Press Your Luck," pilot being produced by Stu Blllett In association with Ralph Edwards Prods. John Rhinehart is the producer and Bill Carruthers [will direct]"
  • 9/3/80 (Weekly, Page 51): "Nine of the shows are scripted and going into production, the remaining three are in production. The initial programming list includes:- "Hittin' Home," a 60-minute strip talk-variety show, coventured with Post-Newsweek and produced by Michael Krauss. The show is to be hosted by Chuck Woolery of "Wheel of Fortune" fame. If the show works, Viacom will pick it up for syndication." [I'm honestly not sure what the first sentence refers to, although an advert for Hittin' Home is in the January 7, 1981 Weekly issue.]
  • 8/17/83 (Weekly, Page 75): "It will be hosted by Chuck Woolery, formerly of NBC's "Wheel of Fortune." "America's Music Tracks" is following close on the heels of "Night Tracks," a 12-hour-a-week show (six hours on Saturday, six on Sunday) which WTBS debuted on June 3."
  • 7/10/85 (Weekly, Page 51): "Wheel Of Fortune" toppers Pat Sajak and Vanna White will host "The Great Circus Parade" on WTBS-TV on Sunday (14), on late[-]night tape delay"
  • 5/14/86 (Weekly, Page 65): ""Wheel At Home" has been added to "Wheel Of Fortune" on KDKA to allow home viewers to play along at home and win prizes if they guess the correct answer before the player on the show."
  • 5/21/86 (Weekly, Page 99): "Jamie Baron is the Job-like character who goes through life cursed because he got one letter wrong on "Wheel Of Fortune."" [Not sure if this is an analogy, but noted just in case.]
  • 11/12/86 (Weekly, Page 70): "Wheel Of Fortune's" Pat Sajak will host NBC-TV's "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade" coverage for third time."
  • 11/4/87 (Weekly, Page 50): "From Nov. 1-7, "Wheel Of Fortune" hosts N.Y. Contestant Week, wherein everyday will feature Gotham contestants, one of whom is a police officer, Heidi Podgorsky, a top winner" [First, a "week" is just five shows, not seven; second, I'm not sure what version this is, but quite possible that this was a special set of five/seven shows made specifically for the New York market (nighttime Win, Lose, or Draw did several shows specifically for certain markets with various local radio/TV personalities playing); both the week itself (the first right after the Big Month of Cash) and precedent regarding [City] Weeks suggest the daytime show.]
  • 7/6/88 (Weekly, Page 52): "Scottish TV tee-off on commercial web with British version of gameshow "Wheel Of Fortune," July 19, for 13 weeks, in 8:30 p.m. slot Tuesdays."
  • 5/31/89 (Weekly, Page 5): "Target age group for most of Sharedata's computer games is 10-15. Sharedata product line includes "Jeopardy" and spinoffs "Sports Jeopardy" and "Junior Jeopardy," three "Wheel Of Fortune" versions and second editions of "Concentration" and "Family Feud.""
  • 6/20/89 (Daily, Page 2): "The Pat Sajak/Vanna White-vintage taped segs from "Wheel Of Fortune," which were ko'd from last night's reruns on Sajak's late-niter, included footage from Vanna's audition for "Wheel," Pat's first day as host plus bloopers." [And so, I boo Merv Griffin Enterprises. You jerks.]
  • 12/19/89 (Daily, page 20): "Hazie (Rosemary Forsyth), 45, works as a waitress at a coffee shop with the much younger Rhonda (Laura Skill), who also rents a room from Hazie. Because Hazie is weak as a character and great at escaping, she avoids conflict."
    • "Her kids Dottie and Drew, in contrast, though unlikable, are thoroughly fascinating. Daley's Drew is a slick-haired slimeball who treats his wife just like his kid sister — someone who irritates him and gets in the way of a sixpack and a game."
    • "Hazie's whiny daughter Dottie (Laurel Green), her good-for-nothing 30-year-old stepson Drew (Andy Daley) and his bitchy pregnant wife Candy (Mary Scheer). Technical aspects are satisfactory: set design by Daley; lights by Dana Kilgore; sound by Todd Hughes."
    • "Hazie wins a chance to appear on "Wheel Of Fortune," [the taping to be shown Christmas Day,] and her kids immediately make up lists of things they want, in anticipation of money[.] Rhonda, in contrast, urges Hazie to follow her dream: get rid of the kids, quit the coffee shop, become an artist."
    • [This is Happytime Xmas, a stage play redo of Changing Channels done at the Cast Theatre and redone in at least 1991, 1997, and 2001. Interestingly, it ends not with Hazie realizing the spirit of giving/preciousness of family/putting the Christ back in Christmas, but instead leaving her old life behind. Didn't see that coming.]
  • 6/26/91 (Daily, Page 24): "Kevin Dobson and Joan Van Ark of "Knots Landing" and Vanna White of "Wheel Of Fortune" have been added as presenters for the 18th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, skedded for June 27 from 9 p.m.-11 p.m. at New York's Marriott Marquis Hotel[.] CBS-TV will carry it live."

Memories (not mine)

Stuff I've found in various places (ATGS for 1994-2002 and The Game Show Forum for 2003 onward unless otherwise noted). They may not be completely accurate, especially on older events, but I'm noting them anyway. Anything in [brackets] are my own personal comments or changes to clarify, partly so I don't have to quote a whole long post; the only other change was to add personnel links.


  • davemackey on BIX, 5/12/94: Incidentally, as far as announcer fill ins were concerned. I think they've used Johnny Gilbert, Don Morrow, and even John Harlan.


  • Aaron Sica, 4/22/96: Also, while I'm on a WOF rampage, does anyone remember watching this ep? It was in July of 1984 on the NBC daytime version (may have been a repeat of a one earlier in the season) and two players wound up being tied at the end of round 3 and there was not enough time to break the tie. I never DID get to see what happened after that..It's the only time I ever saw a tie on WOF...
  • Jake Tanner, 4/23/96: I always admired the contestants who had the guts to put their money "on account"...I recall only one occasion where it really worked out...A gentleman contestant won Round 1 and requested ALL of the money go "on account"...he then won Round 2, again requesting all of his money "on account"...then wouldn't you know he won Round 3 and bought the car!!!
    • For me, even with today's big dollar amounts, that was the most excited episode of WOF that I've ever seen...the tension was incredible and it was so cool to see his gamble pay off!
  • Brad William Francini, 5/8/96: We've gone into this before, but I'll just briefly restate that although Susan was no Miss America, she at least was more than a token object for Chuck to point at. She danced while she pulled the letters, she'd turn them before they were lit (unlike picky Vanna...have you seen that GSN Promo??!!), and she'd sometimes just start breaking into a strut just for the heck of it. And speed up rounds were always fun with her; she was more of a co-host than a hostess (if that makes sense).
  • Mandel Ilagan, 5/8/96: Also, does anybody remember when Susan Stafford appeared on Oprah with Pete Best and other "could-have-been-superstars?" This was about a couple of years ago. This is where I remember talking about her work with third world countries doing missionary work.
  • C Alliaume, 5/10/96: I do remember a woman named Vicki McCarty, who was a Playboy Playmate in September of 1979, did the show for a week (they had on-air tryouts). Not a typical Playboy model in terms of ridiculously endowed [...] Her Playmate-ness was not mentioned on the show[.] Pat had to coach her through her role, since she had a hard time figuring out what letters to turn. Haven't heard anything about her since.


  • (unknown), around 1/10/97: Did ya'll notice Wheel of Fortune messed up today? They placed the "$10,000" space the wrong way, which ment no bankrupts on either side. The man in the middle landed on it, but did not pick it up. But instead, the $10,000 was added to his bank! Another time was when they kept messing up on the puzzle board, causing all the lights on the board to turn off.
  • calliaume, 1/10/97 {in response to above}: Pat mocked this throughout. By the way, with all the balloon stars on stage -- is this a tribute to Merv's much-hated set from "Reach for the Stars," which debuted 30 years ago around this time? First thing I thought of.
  • Zach Horan, 1/15/97: The lowest winning total that got a player to the bonus round I have seen was $575(daytime)and $600(nighttime). The highest daytime winning total was about $26K or so(including a $22K cash jackpot in 1987), the highest nighttime winning total was $59,013 in 1987.
  • Randy Amasia, 3/18/97: They played two, 3-round games with two different sets of contestants (the returning champ played in the first set.) The winners of the two halves competed in a "head-to-head all-cash showdown," where the top dollar value on the wheel was $2,500 (or was it $2,000?).
  • David Hammett, 6/26/97: I just recently saw an audition tape of John Gabriel trying to host the show... let's just say that Gabriel made Rolf look like Bill Cullen. :)
  • Chris Holland, 6/27/97: Rolf's arrival was not (wholly) to blame for Wheel's departure from NBC. From January 3rd, 1983 until July 8, 1988, Wheel and TPiR's first half hour were dead even (on the average). Many weeks, Wheel overcame Price Power by a nice margin. Even after Sajak's departure, Wheel retained its audience and was doing significantly better than ABC's Home. Even though its audience stayed, Price's audience grew tremendously from that time until 1993. It should be noted that reruns of Golden Girls (which replaced Wheel) never did better than Wheel, nor did To Tell the Truth. And Wheel's audience dropped more sharply from the day it reappeared on CBS than any point on NBC.


  • John Brocato, 6/29/98 {on the subject of "Why WOF 2000 did not succeed"}: A very weird house minimum rule. If a contestant solved the puzzle with 0-249 points, his/her score was increased to 500 for the round. However, if a contestant had 250-500 points, their score was unchanged. This odd rule quirk affected the outcome of at least one match.
    • Another thing that didn't make sense. Obviously, many of these contestants have watched the regular version of WOF for years. Several weeks ago [a repeat, obviously], a contestant lost the bonus round, and asked to see what he would have won and Sidoni refused to open the envelope. If Pat Sajak can show that a contestant lost $25000 or a luxury car, certainly the contestant could have at least found out if he would have won limo rides to school.
  • Jeremy Soria, 6/30/98: Apparently the kids knew how Wheel operated more than David did.
  • Adam Seigel, 10/9/98: From what I have heard, [GSN] ha[s] the NBC and CBS daytime WoF's from 1985 on.
  • Mequirino, 12/19/98: [Alex's 1980 sub for Chuck] was [his] first time working for Merv Griffin (as Alex would later be successful with Merv in Sept. '84 on J!). When Alex introduced Susan Stafford, she came out of the gold curtain and then she went up to Alex and she kissed him.


  • Mebranden, 12/4/99: But I recall the daytime wheel of the 1970s having "$275" on the wheel in the first round and even "$375" showed up for a time on the third-round wheel (which then had a top amount of $1500).
  • Jason Wuthrich, 12/4/99: That blue $175 (next to the $750) was on the round 1 wheel for a long time after NBC adopted the 750-1000-2000 top-dollar value progression. It even showed up on the syndicated Wheel for the first week or two!
  • Zach Horan, 12/5/99: The $175 was on the Syndie WOF for the first season, and the first few months of the second. Then they replaced it on the Syndie with $800.


The car in question.

  • Foster-Gray, 8/3/00: Not to argue or anything, but the wagon shown in that [Woolery] clip [in the 3,000th nighttime show] looked like a Ford Fairmont/LTD wagon. I didn't think those were made till the late 70s. Were they made in the mid-70s or was that a totally different station wagon?
    • [Wikipedia says the Fairmont was introduced for the 1978 model year, while the LTD had a station-wagon style for its third and fourth iterations {1973-82}. I asked at Yahoo Answers, and the basic response was "mid-1970s Fairmont". Based on this, I say it's the January 18, 1978 show held by Paley Center.]
  • Card Shark, 11/26/00: Just out of curiosity, does anyone know how far in advance Wheel taped when it moved to CBS in 1989. I was in the audience for the first of about 5 shows that taped on July 17, 1989. They made a big deal out of things because the show was slated to premiere on CBS that day. But, I was just curious as to how far in advance they taped so I can figure out about when the show I attended actually aired.
  • torcanada28, 11/30/00: There was a time during the NBC run of daytime "Wheel" where contestants could stay up to 5 days. When it first started the limit was 3, then after a couple of years they raised it to 5. A few years after that it was back down to 3 again.
  • Mark J., 11/30/00: Actually, it was five days when the show started. A few years into the run, when they actually got letters saying that the champs were winning *too much,* they shortened it to three days.
  • Zach Horan, 12/1/00: I think [the record for the Bob Goen era] was in the $40K-$50K range. The 1975-89 record on NBC was $65,271, set in Rolf's tenure. [He also stated the Benirschke record on 8/20/00.]
  • [As of 12/10/00, there were two and a bit Chuck-and-Susan episodes circulating, including five minutes of December 25, 1981; I'm not sure what the two full episodes were, as I thought April 6-7, 1978 were the most plausible but Eric Paddon stated on 8/16/07 that they were June 20 and November 6, 1980. Regardless, there's about 20 circulating today.]


  • Christopher Bogart, 4/29/01: I see on GSN's webpage that Rolf Benirschke also hosted wheel.
  • John Holder, 4/29/01: I remember watching an interview with Goen at the time in which he said he'd taped his first show on a Friday three days before it aired.
    • Also, I think the show left NBC for the last time on Sept. 13, 1991, not the 20th, because I have (and recently watched) a tape of a Goen ep. from early Sept., with a commercial plugging the show that would replace WoF on the local station as of Monday the 16th. (WoF was the last show to air on the network at 10 AM Eastern; NBC gave the 10-11 time slot back to its affiliates thereafter.)
    • When the show moved to CBS, it was known that [Rolf] would *not* be hosting it well before it was known who *would* be. (The TV Guide ad for the CBS debut didn't give Bob Goen's name -- it just said "New Host" -- because it apparently went to press before Goen was hired.)
  • Brian M. Bell, 5/6/01: I think it finally left NBC on 9/20/91, but some affiliates cancelled it earlier.
  • Don Del Grande, 6/19/01: I remember that the earliest episodes had maximum values of 250-500-750; the second round added a Bankrupt (replacing Buy A Vowel, I think), and the third added a Lose A Turn (replacing Free Spin). There might have been a 250-500-1000; there was definitely a 500-750-1000, then a 500-1000-1000, and the hour-long version was 500-1000-1500 (with the final puzzle having a 2000 space). I can't remember how long the "Buy A Vowel" space lasted (it was gone by the time they had the hour-long version). [$500/$750/$1000 was probably a holdover from the 1974 pilots, the 7/15/75 show seems to support the $500/$1000/$1000 layouts, and $500/$1000/$1500 was definitely in use by the All-Star Dream Machine week in '76. "$250/$500/$750" and "$250/$500/$1000" are dead wrong.]
  • Dan Berger, 6/30/01: Their was one time during the post game segment in '99 when Pat looked into a knight's suit on the set [dunno the name of the theme week off-hand] and jokingly asked if Chuck Woolery was in it.
  • Mark J., 7/6/01: The winner [of the playoff round in the hour-long shows] was declared the day's champion and returned to play in the first half of the next day's show. And despite what's described elsewhere, the puzzle choices before the playoff round (done in front of the puzzle board set to read WHEEL OF FORTUNE) weren't by difficulty, but by category (there were three bowls marked, say, PERSON, THING and PHRASE).
  • Streaming Wizard, 7/30/01: "On one of the Halloween episodes (1998, if I recall correctly), Pat and Vanna entered the stage from a "dungeon" and Pat said, "It was nice visiting with Chuck and Susan, wasn't it?"
  • John Holder, 11/27/01: But as far as the ratings go, the daytime show was on the verge of cancellation when the syndicated version launched in 1983 -- King World saw the evening version as a way to keep the show alive after they expected NBC to drop it. It was only because the nighttime show did so well that NBC kept its version on for a few more years. While Rolf Benirschke didn't help the ratings, the decline began well before Rolf got there. [...] I've read that the main reason the show left NBC in 1989 was that the network and Griffin couldn't agree on license fee payments. (The network wasn't willing to pay that much for a show that was doing relatively poorly in the ratings -- the daytime WoF was the second-highest-rated network game show on the air at the time, but that was a very distant second behind TPiR.)
  • Zach Horan, 11/27/01: According to the 1987 paperback book called Wheel of Fortune, a lady on the show in 1976 won over $64K in prizes, for a time when players were allowed to appear on five shows. [Judy Bongarzone.]
    • Yes it was flagging ratings-wise in 1982 and early 1983, but after that, the show was still the number three game show in daytime for a large chunk of the 80s(behind both half hours of TPIR).
  • Zach Horan, 12/28/01: During special weeks of shows on the NBC Daytime run when there were ties, they played a speed up round to determine the winner. That was also the case for the 1989-91 CBS and back to NBC Daytime version.


  • Zach Horan, 2/14/02: Alex also filled in for one daytime episode in August 1985 for Pat.
  • Card Shark, 2/17/02: I attended a [Goen] taping, that just happened to be on the [CBS] premiere date. They were making a very big deal about it. I being only 12 at the time was very confused as to how WOF suddenly jumped to CBS and how many different networks aired it (being confused on syndication, etc). I hadn't watched the daytime version in years by that point, since it aired during school hours, but I knew that I had never seen $50 spaces on the wheel. Of the many things that happened prior to the tape rolling, (including Vanna White "yelling" at me for wearing a Price Is Right shirt in the audience), they were testing out the sound effects for the buzzer, bell, etc. I remember thinking how weak the buzzer sounded at this new location. But, what can you do? But, it was an enjoyable experience to finally attend the taping of a game show.


  • TraderRob, 11/7/03: My earliest remembrances where of the Chuck & Susan era of Wheel of Fortune. For those old enough to remember back that far, Susan Stafford was involved in a very bad accident sometime between 1978-1980 and was off the show for several weeks while she healed from her injuries. Fill-ins were used for that period and I remember how bad they all were, even though I was only 5-6 years old.
    • One time Chuck was ready to introduce the next puzzle and the letter turner hadn't finished tilting the trilons forward so they go to a camera shot of the woman frantically trying to line up all the trilons and Chuck making fun of her. :-) I want to say he said something along the lines of "This wouldn't be happening if Susan were here." Looking back, I'm surprised it actually made it to air.
  • scully24, 11/28/03: On WOF, I was the winning contestant on Susan Stafford's final show [October 22, 1982]. They did a big send-off for her during the last few minutes, cutting the game play a little short that day. And so then I was the returning winner when they tried out her first replacement, who was Summer Bartholomew! Summer did a week's worth of shows, and I think they tried a few other women before they settled on Vanna White.
    • [Kevin was also on Whew! in 1979 {at the age of 19}; Go! for two episodes during the week of October 24-28, 1983 {playing a Double Jackpot and sharing part of $2,100}; winner on a "Lucky Rollers" pilot {what appears to be Lucky Numbers in 1985}; The $1,000,000 Chance of a Lifetime in 1986; Jackpot! in 1989; and Pyramid on December 8, 2003 {winning $25,000} and the last taped week {recorded March 1-3, 2004}.]
  • zachhoran, 12/10/03: I remember a $600 winning total in the first or second syndie season, and a $575 on the NBC daytime run in the 80s.
  • scully24, 12/10/03: Re: WOF, I was a wining contestant on the daytome version in 1982, and my day's winnings were $2600 (in prizes.)
    • I came back to play on a second day and won the first round for an additional $900. So my two-day total was $3500.
    • At about the same time my fiancee [wife] was on the show and she didn't even win the whole day, but she got $4400 for one round--more than I got for two days!
  • scully24, 12/10/03: Between my fiancee's prizes and the ones I won, I get them mixed up, because we ended up sharing them. But I believe I won a 5 pc bedroom set, and Sylvania TV. Funny, I remember the small stuff more than the big stuff--the Tang horse, and the dartboard cabinet. Oh I remember now, I won this pine wood food pantry that was huge and I sold to my sister, and I had to help her lug it around on three subsequent moves. Other prizes won between me and my fiancee--designer bedding, a dishwasher, a set of china--I just can't exactly remember who won what.
    • [His Bonus Round was a Thing, PINCH OF SALT, for a trip to the Bahamas; with only the N, S, L, and T showing, he didn't solve it.]
  • scully24, 12/10/03: The money won on that episode of Wheel was even less then usual because it was Susan Stafford's last show, and so in order to save a few minutes for a farewell sendoff at the end, they made all the game material very short that day--all two and three word puzzles, so the opportunity to accumulate money in the game play was somewhat reduced, as was the playing time.
  • scully24, 12/10/03: I remember the whole staff came out on the stage at the end for the farewell, and the producer Nancy gave Susan a bunch of roses. THe only one grumbling was Tony, our contestant coordinator, because he had to "dress up" that day for his one minute on camera.
  • GSWitch, 12/17/03: I remember in a mid 80's NBC Wheel episode had a lady & two gentlemen (one a 2 time champion) in which all three contestants stayed on for three episodes.
    • There were two ties that happened, so no Bonus Round. But on the 3rd show, the returning champion won & became a rare 5-time champion (when Wheel first started, there were 5 time champions before it was reduced to three).
    • And it even happened on Wheel 2000 (Cyber Lucy)! Two kids were tied, so they played an extra Speed-Up. The extra final spin was edited, David landed on 5,000 points!
  • gsnstooge, 12/18/03: I remember watching one episode of Wheel of Fortune with Bob Goen. Bob give the wheel its final spin and it kept on landing on Bankrupt, Lose a Turn, or a prize space so many times he had Vanna spin the wheel.
  • gameshowguy2000, 12/18/03 {post right after the above}: That's more like it. I remember the time when [Goen] spun the wheel, and it landed on a prize space, and it landed there the second time, so he took it off.


  • zachhoran, 1/13/04: Nancy Jones did a turn at the puzzle board on a few syndicated episodes, with Pat, Vanna, and Charlie O attempting to solve the puzzle for money for an audience member IIRC.
  • zachhoran, 1/14/04 (regarding the above): Early 90s, I recall seeing them during the Summer reruns, but not during the first-runs the season that it aired(they must have been using these spots to replace references to a home contest or something along those lines)
  • zachhoran, 5/10/04: DUring the 1989-91 CBS/NBC daytime version, a Speed Up round would break a tie. I believe the same applied pre-1989 on the daytime version if it was a special week of shows. On at least two occasions, there was a tie for third place during a Teen Week(top three players would return on Friday on Teen Weeks), and a speed up puzzle was played at the top of the Friday show between those players tied for third. Saturday Morning Cartoons was one of the puzzles, and Dire Straits was the other.
  • GSWitch, 5/10/04 {post right after the above}: I also witnessed a second speed-up round on Wheel 2000 (Cyber Lucy!).
    • Back in 1987 in the good old NBC daytime days, there was a 2-time returning champion who went on to become a 5-day undefeated champion! That's because there were two ties in a row! All three contestants got to stay for 3 days.
  • uncamark, 5/11/04: And before the bonus round was introduced on the daytime show, a tie meant that there were co-champions the next day. Just like "J!"
  • BrandonFG, 5/16/04 {in response to a question asking about the All-Star Dream Machine show held by MT&R aka Paley Center}: -Scoring displays looked a bit different (don't remember if they had five or six spaces)
    • -When the category was displayed, it was done with an orange art card, Helvetica font. The category display was MUCH bigger than it is now
    • -The show actually opened with an overhead shot of the wheel, with the WoF logo superimposed (like in the early syndie years), but I think that was just for that tournament [...So it's definitely before June 7. By the way, the entire topic is about game show stuff held by the then-MT&R, and it's a good read. Outdated, but still interesting.]
  • zachhoran, 7/4/04: It was reported in ATGS that a contestant in the Woolery era managed to win every round, put his money on account before he picked any prizes, and bought the car in the last round. [This and the below are from the same topic, regarding the shopping rules. Also a good topic to look through in its entirety.]
  • Michael Brandenburg, 7/5/04 {post right after the above}: The official rule on the show was that you could put any amount of your winnings from a round "On Account" at any time while you were "shopping" -- in fact, I recall one episode in which a contestant put part of her winnings "On Account" before buying anything else during her "shopping spree."
  • sshuffield70, 7/5/04: [T]hey couldn't put it on a gift certificate until after the dog, since "on account" could be used at any time.
  • ChuckNet, 7/5/04: [D]uring the early yrs, Chuck would always precede each shopping spree w/the question "Do you want to put your $$$ on account or go shopping?" (Except during the final round, where both he and the rule said "It's the final round, so you have to go shopping").
  • Ian Wallis, 7/6/04 {post right after the above}: I remember watching some early shows during the spring break from school that year [1975], and contestants always had odd amounts that they won. I think it was sometime during that summer that contestants were given the option. Once that option was introduced, putting money "on account" was rare.
  • clemon79, 7/7/04: [T]he option was either to put the whole schmiel On Account, or shop until you could shop no mo', and then put the remainder On Account or on a gift certificate.
  • uncamark, 7/7/04: [S]ometim[e] during the first six months, they were allowed to pick whatever platforms they wanted to shop at first (I assume they had everyone rate the platforms 1-2-3). This was when the curtain replaced the doors behind Woolery. By the time we got to Sajak and the turntable, they may've lost the choice completely, or the first round winner's first choice was first and they then went in the order the turntable spun (although if there was a fourth round, they went back to the platform that was the least bought during the game).
  • Steve McClellan, 7/7/04: I distinctly remember seeing an episode on GSN where a guy was down to his last $300 or so. Pat started to tell him to take the Dalmation (or an equally undesirable small prize), but the contestant cut him off and said he wanted to put the rest on account, which was done.


  • Ian Wallis, 1/31/05: I never saw the final show before they went to reruns (although I've been on the hunt for it). Did they ever do a "goodbye" on the last show, or was it just a regular "see you next time"?
  • zachhoran, 1/31/05: I remember seeing the final first-run Goen WOF on 8/30/91, which I didn't know until finding out on ATGS a few years later was the last first-run episode. There was no goodbye, just like on the Rolf finale.
  • SRIV94, 1/31/05: There may not have been an official goodbye on the Rolf finale, but sharp-eyed viewers might've noticed a longer than usual credit roll (including camera operators, which NBC almost never credited on its daytime games). From 1984 (GO!) to 1990 (SCRABBLE), most NBC daytime game exits included extra credits.
  • Jimmy Owen, 2/1/05: On Rolf's last WOF, Vanna advised Rolf to "wear your sunscreen" which roughly translated means "Have a nice life."
  • ChuckNet, 4/8/05: And between [Dawson Feud] and Pyramid, [Kathy] Najimy also appeared on nighttime WoF in 1984 (GSN actually aired her ep a few yrs ago, in fact). [I know Kathy appeared on The Pat Sajak Show and showed a photo of her appearance, but I don't know which season it was. Snowpeck doesn't seem to have it, which is a bit shocking.]
  • That Don Guy, 6/7/05: Hollywood Squares had a $100,000 tournament involving the top two contestants of NBC's four game shows at the time. [The only times NBC had four games on the schedule were November 3-7, 1975; December 1, 1975-January 16, 1976; and July 24-September 29, 1978. His placement in that topic suggests that they came after the Daytime Gigantic Game Gala. If Don meant "four other game shows", then...]


  • Don Howard, 8/3/06: WHEEL OF FORTUNE was once a Password Puzzle on Password Plus. [I have no idea. Total guess, but the two shows did air back-to-back from March 5-August 10, 1979. Kinda weird, though, that neither Chuck nor Susan appeared on that show.]


[While attempting to gather links, searching for various portions of the 1/28-31 posts turned up...this page. Weird.]

  • Don Howard, 1/18/07 (amid a bunch of silly "logic"): Chuck guested on a week of Romance Theatre [host was Louis Jourdan] shows.
  • Kevin Prather, 1/28/07: One of the episodes Jamie put up a while back had Chuck accidentally starting his "Remember when you solve the puzzle..." spiel.
    • "...once you buy a prize, it's yours to keep, and remember...to take a look at the first puzzle."
  • Ian Wallis, 1/29/07 (08:53 AM): There was also an addenum to that spiel for a while which went something like "...you must solve the puzzle exactly the way it's stated on the puzzle board".
    • That all came about from the puzzle "Tweedledum and Tweedledee", in which a woman solved in reverse. After a couple of seconds of thinking about it, they gave it to her. Shortly after that Chuck started stating that it must be solved in the proper order. It went on for several months and then was dropped from the spiel - it never seemed to be an issue after that.
  • SRIV94, 1/29/07 (10:39 AM): I've mentioned this before, but there was an ep of SCRABBLE in which Woolery opened the show with his WoF spiel in honor of April Fool's Day (complete with Geoff Cooper or whoever running SFX playing the WoF puzzle cue at the end). I want to say it was 1989, but I'm not sure.
    • Woolery then remarks to one of the contestants about his surprise at how much of the spiel he remembered.
  • Don Howard, 1/31/07 (in response to the above): It was on April Fool's Day 1987, in fact.
  • Ian Wallis, 7/8/07: The very first time I watched the show - which was probably spring break in 1975 - players were forced to put any unused money On Account after every round. Some of the early winners had odd dollar totals. Shortly after that (can't remember exactly when) they offered the choice of the gift certificate. That rule seemed to come into effect pretty quickly. As we know, just about everyone took the certificate.
    • I remember one time in the '70s, a male player in the third position won something like $700 in the first round and elected to put it all On Account. Chuck was surprised and almost tried to talk him out of it in case he hit a bankrupt. He ended up winning the next round too, and was able to buy a much nicer prize.
  • BrandonFG, 7/8/07: I was kinda let down when I noticed the ON ACCOUNT light was nothing more than a basic Helvetica font. :-)
  • Don Howard, 7/9/07: I personally will award a Todd Russell Jackpot of a two-dollar bill if one of you invokes Todd's name during a WOF appearance.
  • Jimmy Fiono Coyne, 8/18/07: TV Guide aired a special on 'Wheel' which included clips from another episode that appeared to come from 1979 or 1980, so perhaps GSN has that one as well? [No idea what Jamie Locklin {this guy} is talking about here. It'd be really interesting if said clips aren't from any of the existing/circulating episodes.]
    • They've always been sitting on Woolery's Shopper's Bazaar pilot, however. [Jamie has myriad connections, so he'd know about as much as anybody, but the pilot's surfacing in 2012 gave a plausible reason why GSN hasn't shown it: music rights.]
  • Ian Wallis, 8/19/07: There's no [in-show] reference [to #S-001 being the premiere] because at that time (fall 1983) shows could still be "bicycled", meaning they could have run out-of-order in different markets. Although in my area, they ran in the exact same order 2 weeks apart - WKBW actually started airing it in late August, and two weeks later WHEC picked it up and ran it in the exact same order starting from the first episode.
    • I believe it was the following fall where all stations started getting it via satellite, and running the same episode on the same day.
  • uncamark, 8/21/07: One of the things I noticed which get me off track on trying the date the Woolery show was Susan coming out with the hand mike at the top of the show--at the beginning of the run, she intro'd the contestants with a hand mike at the top, standing to the right of the set, but soon they were just having her do the bow and turn. I'm wondering if she was unhappy that they had run out of time at the end too many times lately and wanted to make sure she got her talking time in.
    • And then there were no prize mentions at all in the opening, which had been the one constant in all "Wheel" openings until the early 90s--just "Just look at this studio filled with fabulous prizes--valued at over..." Interesting since it seemed to me for years that "Wheel" was the only game show where the opening got longer over the years rather than shorter (until the late 90s, of course).
  • mmb5, 8/21/07: Facts I was able to discern via NewpspaerArchive. Other people may be able to fill in gaps[.]
    • Feb 24 1988 - first announcement of Sajak's CBS show
    • May 1988 - Pat still taping daytime shows (from an article about a contestant) [He was likely still recording into mid-August, since that's when #S-1000 was done.]
    • Jul 27 1988 - Jack Clark dies
    • Nov 11 1988 - article mentions Tim Brando as a possibility
    • Dec 13 1988 - first announcement of Benirschke
    • Dec 14 1988 - first taping of Benirschke
    • Jan 9 1989 - first airing of Benirschke [Actually the 10th, proven numerous times over the years.]
    • May 28 1989 - a UPI article mentions that Roger Twibell was the #2 choice for the WOF job after Benirschke.
    • June 5 1989 - NBC announces cancellation of Wheel [Actually, they did so on May 22; CBS announced its return the next day.]
    • June 30 1989 - last airing of Benirschke, one article mentions new host possibilities include Pat Finn, John Davidson, Chuck Henry and Bob Eubanks
  • uncamark, 10/8/07: And due to bicycling, [#S-001] wasn't the first episode in some markets. Since they would tape five episodes with the same prizes in each session and mix them with four other taping sessions in the scheduling, it may've not even been scheduled as a Monday episode.
    • (I also suspect that the CBS daytime run and the second NBC daytime run started numbering from scratch, too.) [They did: "#C" for the CBS run, "#DT" for the NBC '91 era. Thanks to UCLA and Paley Center for the info. :]


Jack's index cards (October 1986).

  • Randy West, 2/26/08: I had the pleasure of sitting with Jack during one tape day. He was in a little utility room just off the studio floor with a 3x5 card for each of the prizes spread out in front of him. As the players bought prizes he grabbed the correct cards, and read the copy from that deck of cards. Nice, nice guy.
  • davemackey, 2/26/08: Jack was eventually moved to an area just in front of the audience seating area to get him out in the open. It was interesting to watch him work the cards the day I saw Wheel tape at NBC.
  • JasonA1, 7/22/08: Some '88 WOF episodes aired on GSN WITHOUT the sweetening, and it was strange to say the least.


  • vtown7, 10/16/09: Just to attest that the system does work - someone I met at my Wheel tryout got on the show in '98, and she told me this:
    • Anyway, the game show lawyer re-appeared in the contestant prep room and tapped one of the contestants on the shoulder and told him he wanted to see him outside the room. This guy disappeared forever. We all found out later that he had appeared on Wheel of Fortune once in the 70's - and you are not allowed to appear twice.
  • curtking, 10/16/09 {post right after the above}: Holy crap, that seems a little harsh.


[Searching for various portions of the below post only turns up this page. Odd.]

  • Eric Paddon, 2/10/10: There are by my count, four Pat/Vanna episodes with "Big Wheels" accounted for. This one [the May '83 show completely in monochrome], Vanna's debut episode as permanent hostess from 82, the "Teen Week" finale from [April 1,] 1983 and another May 1983 episode ten days before this one where the second half is in B/W on the source recording due to reception trouble (the same person also taped a "Battlestars" in the trade circuit where the first half is B/W and the second half in color).
    • [The 12/29/82 show and another from that week also circulate; the airdate of the completely-monochrome episode depends on whether Paddon meant "business" or "calendar" days – if the former, it's May 20; if the latter, it's the 16th. I don't think the Wheel would be updated like that during a taping session, though, so I'd go with the latter...except I don't recall anybody promoting the Vacation Bonanza Contest on that episode; then again, 1) I probably saw that episode once before it got removed from YouTube, 2) that ad was blurry at the top, and 3) I'm pretty sure I didn't know about said contest when I saw said episode.]


[Searching for various portions of the 5/27 post turns up...this page. Odd.]

  • Ian Wallis, 5/27/11: In the earliest episodes, you had to put any remaining money on account. It wasn't until a few months into the run they gave the option of that or a gift certificate for the rest. After that option became available, it was rare to see anyone put anything on account.
  • bradhig, 7/12/11: Anyone remember the episode in which Pat Sajak says "Time to lock up my valuables[."] and locks Vanna White in a vault prop on the stage? I believe it was around 1987 or 1988 they still had the shopping spree on the night time versions. [Nighttime shopping was dropped on October 5, 1987.]
  • That Don Guy, 7/26/11: KGO in San Francisco had a local Wheel of Fortune with two-player teams from the Bay Area (the only celeb I remember from that episode was Warriors center Nate Thurmond), back when they did a week there (I'm pretty sure that was the "Vanna's Pregnant Round 2 Missing" week).
    • (At least I think it aired only in SF; the first puzzle was "Clara Barton" (founder of the American Red Cross), if anybody else remembers seeing it.)
  • trytobecharming, 7/29/11 {Golden-Road}: A Goen episode had six maingame rounds and played a tiebreaker speed up to break a tie(on the Chuck/Pat/Rolf, or at least Pat/Rolf daytime show, if it was not a special week of shows, the three players would return on the next show to determine a champion)
  • gameshowlover87, 8/27/11: I also found out recently, that when WOF began taping at CBS Television City, they began by taping several weeks worth of Goen shows, then alternated between taping that version and the syndicated version with Sajak as early as the following month (August 1989).


[Searching for various portions of the 3/10 and 6/8 posts turns up...this page. Odd.]

  • Ian Wallis, 3/10/12: I remember when [the Bankrupt slide whistle] was first added - you could always count on a funny reaction from Chuck. The first time he heard it, he said "WHAT was THAT?" and started laughing.
  • Unrealtor, 5/28/12 {in response to a question asking what he found dull about the Woolery era}: For me, the combination of a looser [W]heel, shorter puzzles, and light/no editing mean that a lot of time was eaten up while contestants kept spinning and guessing incorrect consonants. Sometimes, Chuck could get some humor out of that (ISTR one puzzle that was full of unlikely letters, something like "ANTIQUE JUKEBOX", that had him mocking the writing staff after the second or third time around the horn) but it could drag, as well.
  • mmb5, 6/8/12: [Byrnes hosted a]t least two [Wheel pilots]. And boy is he tipsy in the second one.
    • From what I've been told we haven't been exposed to the worst. In the tryouts to replace Pat in 1989, one of the host candidates always said the value on the first player's indicator even if it wasn't his turn, meaning 2/3rds of the values he said did not match the close up on the screen. He was not hired. [Given the 1997 remark about John Gabriel doing so badly he made Benirschke look like Cullen, this may be who's being referred to here. It seems to be right, based on a post six months later.]
  • CardSharks8689, 12/8/12 {GSN boards}: There was some reference to Chuck Woolery on a syndicated Wheel of Fortune episode at one point. I think it was in the 1990s, ... and it was a CLUE puzzle being "FIRST WHEEL OF FORTUNE HOST" (or along the lines). The player never had a clue on the answer, and Pat mentioned it was Chuck Woolery.
  • CaseyAbell, 12/8/12 {GSN boards}: Not so many years ago on WoF Sajak got into a GSN-bashing mood and was joking about how Chuck had seventeen shows on the network. At the time, Woolery really did have a lot of shows on GSN. Now he's nowhere to be seen on the network. [See also Abell's blog.]
  • JasonA1, 12/19/12: We talked previously on the board about John Gabriel's audition. Perhaps I'm giving Tim credit based on that. You could forgive John for spinning the wheel the wrong way in his introduction. You could not ignore his calling of the blue player's spins by whatever came up on the red arrow. In his little talking to Vanna segment, he was quick to mention his previous work and association with the King brothers.
  • That Don Guy, 12/23/12: I heard "swans" and "swimmin". I don't know exactly when they suddenly decided to get tight on pronounciation, but it's more strict under Sajak than under Woolery.
    • I remember one bonus round where the puzzle was MILAN ITALY, and the contestant pronounced Milan "MY-lun" and was ruled incorrect. [January-February 1989, nighttime, while M.G. Kelly was announcer.] On the other hand, back in the Woolery days, "Green-witch Village" was accepted for GREENWICH VILLAGE. (In fact, the host reminding the players to solve the puzzle "exactly as it appears" started the day after somebody said "Tweedledee and Tweedledum" for TWEEDLEDUM AND TWEEDLEDEE and got credit for it.)
    • Another one from the Sajak days (although it's a legitimate call): being called wrong for saying "The Atlanta Falcons" for ATLANTA FALCONS. [Daytime, apparently December 1987.]
  • dazztardly, 12/30/12: When the show first went to air, when it was time to go shopping....the doors would open up to show the prizes for that round. When the shopping was over, the doors would close up, and the "hookers"(stagehands with large hooks) would yank the platform with that round's prizes out of the way. Then they would setup for the next round.
    • Merv wanted more prizes seen on stage, so eventually the doors were thrown out in favor of the curtain.
    • At one point, they even offered a Cessna jet airplane as a prize. It was so huge, they had to take the wings off the plane just to fit it through the soundstage, then reattach them!
  • BrandonFG, 12/31/12 {post right after the above}: A lot more information I didn't know, so thanks Dan[iel Benfield] and Dan [Dazztardly]. As for this...
    • [Quote of me saying "As such, I think there was an "interim" period where they got rid of the doors and went back to the '74 method until the curtain was introduced."]
    • ...I believe you're correct. I remember watching episode 3,000, which featured a clip from a pilot and sliding puzzleboard. I noted how odd that was on ATGS, and someone responded that the show indeed used that method in the early years.


What, you expected links down here? :P