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A timeline for Season 15 of Wheel of Fortune, which aired in first-run from September 1, 1997 through June 12, 1998.

Season Changes

  • The opening graphic of Sony Pictures Studios is changed slightly, as is Charlie's opening narration: The intro no longer involves the circular Wheel graphic, and Charlie's opening is slightly altered to: "From the Sony Pictures Studios, it's America's Game! (on special weeks Charlie's narration is changed to "It's {insert theme} week on...") On a light blue starry background, a new logo similar to the traditional logo appears, but with the Wheel inside, no dots on the sides, and "O" in "of" is regular like before. Each word pops up during the opening chant. The background and logo then wipe away sideways to reveal a cut to the studio.
  • "Changing Keys" is rearranged again, this time by Steve Kaplan. It has a similar melody to the "big band" version, but a faster tempo and electric guitar solo. In addition, there is now opening music before the chant.
    • The opening music cue is a six-note fanfare followed by a timpani roll that plays over the chant.
  • The puzzle-solve cue is updated.
  • Throughout this season, Pat sometimes introduces the Jackpot round with "Charlie, put down that/those [random object(s)], it's time for the Jackpot round!"
    Wheelgraphic.jpg
  • The base of the Wheel is now blue with four long, golden spikes. The top light layer is replaced with a new layer similar to the old one, but with smaller bulbs, one of which simply flashes during the chase pattern as the Wheel spins.
  • Some episodes have an ad for Game Show Network during the credits, a practice which remains through Season 18.
  • The credits and www.sony.com URL are done in Times New Roman, which remains until the end of Season 17.
  • On weekend repeats of this season from 1998-99, a www.wheeloffortune.com URL replaces the aforementioned Sony URL.
  • On some shows with a commercial break between Rounds 1 and 2, $2,500 and $3,500 are introduced in Rounds 2 and 3 respectively, resulting in $5,000 not being used if the game ends after only three rounds.
  • Four locales are now used on road shows.

September 1997

  • The weeks of September 1 and 8 are taped at the Ohio State Fair in Columbus, Ohio. For these weeks, for the first time since the Radio City Music Hall episodes in 1988, the audience does the "Wheel! Of! Fortune!" chant instead of the pre-recorded chant.
  • On one of the Ohio State Fair episodes, a Speed-Up round is discarded due to the wrong letter lighting up.
  • September 1 is Family Week. During this week:
    • The three-round structure is used.
    • Surprise is not used, so a Prize is added in Round 3 instead.
    • The Jackpot does not have a sponsor.
    • The three cars in the Bonus Round appear in the studio: Ford Explorer on Monday and Tuesday, Dodge Ram on Wednesday and Thursday, and Buick Park Avenue on Friday.
  • On September 1:
    • Pat walks out on his own and jokes that Vanna is late because she had to tend to her second child. She then drives onstage in a Hummer H1 worth $71,719, which she says will be awarded as an extra if the winner of the Friday Finals wins the Bonus Round.
    • Both contestants on the yellow team are named Juliette.
    • The Round 2 Prize is a $10,940 trip to Las Vegas.
    • After Round 2, Charlie announces the prize that will be awarded to the winner of the Friday Finals: a trip for 10 to Hawaii worth $24,620.
    • Round 3 begins as a Speed-Up, resulting in the Jackpot, the Round 3 Prize, and the second Bankrupt not being used and $3,500 staying as the top value.
      First S15 W-H-E-E-L Prop.png
    • The W-H-E-E-L envelope holder is slightly altered to align the letters evenly.
    • The winning contestants (Art and Jack) finish with only $4,750.
    • John Sweeney, then-president of the AFL-CIO, makes a guest appearance in the final segment.
  • On September 2:
    • The Round 3 puzzle is not revealed, nor do the chimes sound, until after the first spin.
    • No letters are revealed in Round 3 until the sixth turn.
  • On September 3:
    • The Round 2 prize is a $10,344 trip to Washington D.C.
    • Contestants Christine and Patty spin over the Final Spin bells. They are allowed to complete their turn, after which Pat does the Final Spin.
    • Pat's final spin lands on $3,500.
    • Round 3 (FOLK HERO JOHNNY APPLESEED) is inexplicably categorized as Nickname instead of Proper Name.
  • On September 5:
    • Contestants Steve and Rebecca compete in the Friday Finals after having won only $5,000 on their first episode. This is a tie for the lowest known score for Friday Finals competitors in teams.
    • Round 2's Where Are We? puzzle uses three clues.
    • Although contestants Chris and Kevin lose the Bonus Round, Pat has their family come on stage anyway.
  • On September 4 and 5, Chris and Kevin call their vowel first in the Bonus Round two times in a row.
  • All five Bonus Rounds are lost on the week of September 1.
  • The week of September 8 is Bravo's Wheel & Win Sweepstakes. Game cards with puzzles matching those used on Wheel that week are eligible for prizes of up to $1,000,000.
    • ​A promo for the sweepstakes takes place in a restaurant where a man, apparently with Wheel on his mind, sees his table letter "H" light up. He looks down at his plate to see his food styled like the Wheel on the show. His thoughts get the best of him as he spins his table and shouts "Is there an H, Pat?" The scene cuts to the then-current Wheel layout, albeit filled with Universal Studios wedges. Interestingly, this Wheel also has a wedge worth One Million Dollars (not to be confused with the eventual Million-Dollar Wedge's reverse) placed where the Jackpot wedge would be in Round 3.
  • On September 8:
    • The Round 1 puzzle ED & TRIXIE NORTON (Fictional Characters) is followed by a trivia question asking for Ed's career on The Honeymooners. Contestant Debbie provides the correct answer of underground sewer worker. This is also the only time this season a "bonus" question is used in Round 1.
    • The Jackpot round begins to be sponsored by Bravo Card.
    • The Ohio State Fair animals make a guest appearance in the final segment.
  • On September 9:
    • The Round 1 puzzle AMUSEMENT-PARK FUN HOUSE is improperly hyphenated.
    • Star & Role is once again an active category, although for no particular reason, Classic TV still continues to categorize some puzzles whose answers is a famous person and a fictional character that he or she portrayed.
  • On September 10, contestant Angie sweeps the game but loses a trip to Tahiti in the Bonus Round.
  • On September 11:
    • After contestant Sandy lands on $250 in Round 1, she says "Damn!" because she is looking at the wrong arrow and thinks she has landed on Bankrupt. Pat then corrects her and quips that "a little editing there and no one will know." She asks to solve, but Pat tells her to call a letter first; after doing so, she asks again to solve, and Pat says "We wish the hell you would!"
    • For the first time, a cycle of three lost turns is edited out despite not being "null"; the first lost turn is an incorrect A from Sandy in Round 2, evidenced by her score instantly changing from $2,500 to $2,250. Pat later references this by telling her that A had already been called despite no prior lost turns being aired.
    • Round 4 (BAKE SALE) is a rare instance of a puzzle shorter than ten letters.
  • On September 12:
    • Three females play in the Friday Finals.
    • Once again, a cycle of three lost turns is edited out despite not being "null"; the first lost turn is an incorrect vowel from contestant Debbie in Round 1, which Pat later references by saying she currently has $1,850 instead of $2,100.
    • George V. Voinovich, former governor of Ohio, makes a guest appearance in the final segment.
  • September 13 is the debut of Wheel 2000, a special children's version hosted by David Sidoni. Further information on this show, including its own timeline, can be found on its article.
    • Pat and Vanna are known to have discussed this version at the end of at least one episode this season.
  • On September 15:

    Looks positively naked, now.

    • The W-H-E-E-L envelope holder is altered for the final time: there are no lights except the letters, resulting in a comparatively bare-bones prop.
    • Surprise is on $350 in Round 1. This is corrected in Round 2.
    • An unknown male models the Round 2 Prize, a set of exercise equipment from NordicTrack.
    • The Round 2 puzzle HANK AARON BREAKS BABE RUTH'S HOME-RUN RECORD is improperly hyphenated.
    • Contestant Skip solves the Round 4 Speed-Up POOP DECK OF CARDS on the buzzer, after which Deanna solves and Pat explains that the judges need to check the tape. Before the Bonus Round, Pat has both Skip and Deanna stand onstage before telling Skip that he solved on the buzzer; his score is then shown onscreen before he departs.
    • Skip finishes in second place with $20,800, all of which is won in the above round.
    • Neither Thing nor Phrase is used in the main game.
    • During the closing chat, Vanna shows off her newborn daughter, Giovanna.
  • On September 16:
    • Round 1 begins with a "null" cycle that is edited out, as evidenced by the wide shot of the first spin heading for the red $900 only for the closeup to show it landing on the orange-yellow $300. Pat references the cycle by saying "We do have some L's." despite it being only the first aired turn of the game.
    • Contestant Susan finishes with only $3,750.
  • On September 17:
    • For no particular reason, Charlie does not say "From the Sony Pictures Studios, it's America's Game!" during the intro.
    • There are two contestants named Steven, although one goes by Murphy.
    • There is a $7,000 Jackpot win.
    • Murphy finishes second with $21,195.
  • On September 19:
    • Vanna wears a suit.
    • The first incarnation of the Prize Puzzle debuts. This version is used exclusively for Friday Finals and only in Round 1, and the only categories used for it are Event, Place(s), and Thing(s), which is explicitly stated by Pat on November 28. The first puzzle used is EXPLORING MODERN CHINA (Event), which offers a trip to Shanghai.
      • During the original Prize Puzzle's lifespan, the Round 3 Prize is not used on Friday Finals.
    • Unusually for the era, there is no audience reaction when contestant Deanna hits $1,000 in Round 1.
    • The Round 2 Prize is a Triumph Thunderbird motorcycle.
    • The Round 2 puzzle BROADWAY’S LONGEST RUNNING MUSICAL (Show Biz) is followed by a trivia question asking what musical the puzzle references. Deanna provides the correct answer of Cats.
    • There is an unclaimed Jackpot of $23,250, a likely record.
    • Ten wrong letters are called in the Speed-Up.
    • Pat and Vanna do not sign off.
  • All five Bonus Rounds are lost on the week of September 15, part of a eight-day losing streak.
  • On September 23:
    • Vanna wears a suit.
    • After contestant Toni fails to provide the missing word for Round 2's Fill In the Blank puzzle ? MAN ? SELLER ? WISHES, Pat remarks that for the first time in the category's existence, he could not figure out the missing word either. Contestant Josh then asks if he can provide it ("best") anyway, and Pat lets him.
    • Neither Thing nor Phrase is used.
    • Round 3 and the Bonus Round are Person.
    • All of the puzzles are very short, with Round 4 (NEWBORN & HUSH PUPPIES {Same Name}) being the longest at only 18 letters.
    • Contestant Toni says the word "fart" when trying to talk out the bonus puzzle GUARDIAN, a moment that has been recalled by several viewers over the years.
    • Toni finishes with only $3,545.
  • On September 25:
    • There is a cold open in which Vanna checks on Pat in his dressing room, after which he is seen saying various gameplay phrases before his mirror. This clip has been seen in several retrospectives.
    • Once again, Vanna wears a suit.
    • After the Speed-Up puzzle BUGS BUNNY POSTAGE STAMP is solved, a picture of said stamp appears onscreen.
    • An extra $500 is added to contestant John's total before he solves Round 4.
    • John sweeps the game (except for the Slogan in Round 2) but loses a trip to Hawaii and a Toyota RAV4 in the Bonus Round.
  • On September 26:
    • For the first known time, three males play in the Friday Finals.
    • The Prize Puzzle is SUN-DRENCHED BEACHES OF MEXICO (Places), offering a trip to Cancún. This is the only time the Prize Puzzle is not categorized as Event.
    • Round 2 (Classic TV) is a factually incorrect answer of THE NEAT NEW SPAGHETTI YOU CAN EAT WITH A SPOON (should be "round" instead of "new").
    • There is a $12,700 Jackpot win.
  • On September 29:
    • The Jackpot wedge is recolored light blue, and gains a new logo encased in a semicircle. Also, NordicTrack becomes the sponsor.
    • The Prize is a $2,500 shopping spree at Pier One Imports.
    • Six rounds are played.
    • There are two sets of repeated categories: Phrase in Round 3 and the Bonus Round, Occupation in Rounds 4 and 6.

Jackpot Nordic Track.JPG

October 1997

  • On October 3:
    • The Prize Puzzle is WHITE WATER RAFTING IN IDAHO (Event), offering a trip to Idaho.
    • Prize Puzzles now have an on-screen graphic: the category strip is now extended to the left, encompassing a golden rectangle with "PRIZE PUZZLE" written in the same font and color as the rest of the strip, albeit in small caps; previously, there was no visual designation.
    • There is an unclaimed Jackpot of $22,050.
    • Pat's Final Spin lands on a Prize wedge.
    • Contestant Shannon fills in the bonus puzzle KNIFE completely.
  • On October 6:
    • The cue for correctly answering a "bonus" question is changed to the final part of the opening.
    • A new set of contestant backdrops is introduced. These consist of three hexagonal sparkly blue or purple "crystals", with a golden bow tie shaped-protrusion between each of them and at the ends. As is normal practice at the time, these are added to the then-current rotation of alternating backdrops.
    • Prize wedges begin using unique designs, typically with a graphic related to the prize. However, a few through the end of the season instead use white Clarendon text on a gradient background.
    • Vanna models the Round 2 Prize, a Bang & Olufsen stereo system. The footage was previously used for the same Prize on December 13, 1996.
    • There is a $7,650 Jackpot win.
  • On October 7:
    • The Jackpot wedge is re-colored sparkly red; it is not known why this change was not made on a Tuesday instead of a Monday, although a likely explanation is the additional changes to the set and Prize wedge designs resulted in it not being finished in time.
    • Pat's Final Spin lands on Surprise.
    • No vowels are bought in Round 4.
  • On October 8, Round 5 (TOM & JERRY) is a rare instance of a puzzle shorter than ten letters.
  • On October 9:
    • There is a cold open when Pat teases Vanna about doing endorsements, and then turns to the camera to reveal that he has milk on his upper lip (a reference to the then-popular "Got Milk?" advertising campaign). This was seen in the 25th and 30th anniversary flashbacks.
    • Pat and Vanna do not sign off.
  • On October 10, the Prize Puzzle is DEEP-SEA DIVING IN HAWAII (Event), offering a trip to Hawaii.
  • During the week of October 13, the Prize wedges are dark green Clarendon text on a glittery greenish-brown background, suggesting that this week may have been taped before the week of October 6.
  • On October 13:
    • When Round 2 is solved, the cue for correctly answering a "bonus" question is accidentally used instead of the puzzle-solve cue.
    • In the closing segment, Vanna draws a mustache on Pat's face with a marker, a moment which has been seen in many retrospectives.
  • On October 14:
    • The Round 1 puzzle YOU CAN COUNT ON ME TARZAN is factually incorrect (the phrase "Me Tarzan" does not occur in any adaptation of Tarzan).
    • Twelve turns are lost in Round 3, including a streak of six with only the Y missing in the puzzle ANIMAL EXPERT JOAN EMBERY.
  • On October 15, Pat's Final Spin lands on Bankrupt.
  • On October 16, Vanna talks to a cardboard stand-up of Pat during the closing segment.
  • On October 17:
    • There is a cold opening where Pat claims that he and Vanna are not married, while both of them act like a stereotypical married couple. This was seen in several retrospectives.
    • Three males play in the Friday Finals.
    • The Prize Puzzle is PAMPERED AT A WORLD-CLASS SPA (Event), offering a trip to La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, California.
  • During the week of October 13, all five winners are male.
  • October 20 is Broadway Week. During this week:
    • All of the Prize wedges use Clarendon text on gradient backgrounds.
    • The crystal backdrops are used.
    • Various show tunes play during the post-Round 2 and post-Round 3 bumpers.
    • Broadway stars do bumpers at the top of the show, and before and after Round 3:
      • At the top of the show: Maria Jo Ralabate, Nadine Isenegger, and David Hibbard (Cats) on Monday; Brittny Kissinger (Annie) on Tuesday; Marilu Henner (Chicago) on Wednesday; Gwen Stewart (Rent) on Thursday. No bumper is done at this point on Friday.
      • Before Round 3: Brittny Kissinger on Monday and Friday; Faith Prince (The King and I) on Tuesday; Thomas James O'Leary (The Phantom of the Opera) on Wednesday; Ross Lehman (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) on Thursday.
      • After Round 3: Marilu Henner on Monday; Ross Lehman on Tuesday; Larry Keith (Titanic) on Wednesday; Peter Lockyer (Les Misérables) on Thursday; Maria Jo Ralabate, Nadine Isenegger, and David Hibbard on Friday.
  • On October 20:
    • The Round 2 puzzle is not shown, nor does Pat say the category, until after the first spin.
    • Against normal practice, the buzzer sounds on a repeated letter in Round 3.
    • Neither Thing nor Phrase is used in the maingame.
  • On October 21:
    • The Round 2 Prize has it's text printed on the wedge side by side.
    • Round 2's Where Are We? puzzle uses three clues.
    • Pat and Vanna do not sign off.
  • On October 22:
    • The Round 2 puzzle JOSEPHINE THE PLUMBER & MADGE THE MANICURIST (Classic TV) is followed by a trivia question asking for either of the products sold by the respective characters; contestant James gives one of the correct responses of Palmolive. Strangely, Pat does not acknowledge the other correct response of Comet until the end of Round 3. This is the last time that a bonus question has more than one correct response.
    • The puzzle-solve cue and "bonus" question cue are accidentally switched in the above round.
    • The letter dings accidentally sound on the first turn of the Speed-Up.
  • On October 23:
    • Round 2's Fill In the Blank puzzle ? SERVICE ? TEMPERATURE ? FOR IMPROVEMENT (Home) does not have its question marks aligned underneath each other, even though such an arrangement could have fit on the board.
    • When Round 2 is solved, the cue for correctly answering a "bonus" question is accidentally used instead of the puzzle-solve cue.
    • Contestant Millicent sweeps the game (except for the Fill In the Blank in Round 2) but loses a Lexus in the Bonus Round.
    • The bonus puzzle is a redundant answer of BABY CRIB.
  • On October 24:
    • The Prize Puzzle is CRUISING THE CARIBBEAN (Event), offering a cruise trip to the Caribbean.
    • There is a $12,400 Jackpot win.
    • The letter ding accidentally sounds on the first turn of the Speed-Up.
    • Contestant James finishes second with $16,256.
    • Millicent retires with $58,349 despite losing both Bonus Rounds. This is the highest known total for an undefeated champion who lost all of their Bonus Rounds.
  • October 27 is Halloween Week. During this week:
    • The set is decorated with animatronic gargoyles, smoke and lightning effects, and fake tombstones. This also begins the tradition of Halloween sounds replacing the chime when a Bonus Round envelope is selected.
    • For the first known time, the Bonus Round cars are not on-set during a Culver City episode.
    • The Bonus Round envelopes are decorated with Halloween pictures.
    • Due to the Halloween decorations, Pat and Vanna enter through a gate from stage left.
  • On October 27:
    • A cycle of three lost turns is edited out despite not being "null"; the first lost turn is an incorrect vowel from contestant Sarah in Round 1, as her scoreboard displays $1,100 instead of $1,350 the next time she is shown. Her arrow can also be seen near the $1,000 wedge even though her most recent aired spin landed on $350. This cycle also affects the final score (but not the outcome) as Sarah solves the puzzle without hitting Bankrupt.
    • There is a $9,550 Jackpot win.
    • Vanna's son Niko and his best friend Alex appear in Halloween costumes at the end of the show.
  • On October 29:
    • Round 1 (LAKE ERIE) is a rare instance of both a puzzle shorter than ten letters, and one with only three unique consonants.
    • No vowels are bought in Round 2.
    • The Bonus Round window does not appear.
  • On October 30, there is a cold open in which Vanna tries to decide what dress to wear.
  • On October 31:
    • The Prize Puzzle is RELAXING POOLSIDE IN THE VIRGIN ISLANDS (Event), offering a trip to the Virgin Islands.
    • When Round 2 is solved, the cue for correctly answering a "bonus" question and the puzzle-solve cue are reversed.
    • The Speed-Up chime is replaced by a doorbell.
    • Pat's Final Spin lands on Lose a Turn and then the Prize; the doorbell also sounds when Pat hits Lose a Turn.
    • Contestant Sue sweeps the game but loses a trip to Frankenstein's castle in the Bonus Round.
    • As Pat and Vanna do the closing chat, the camera cuts to the puzzle board, which reads HAPPY HALLOWEEN!! center-aligned. This is the first use of an exclamation point on the electronic puzzle board, although none seem to have been used in actual gameplay until May 2004.

November 1997

  • November 3 is Celebrity Week. Except for the November 2, 2000 Halloween episode, this is also the last time until Celebrity Wheel of Fortune in January 2021 that any celebrities compete without being accompanied by contestants. During this week:
    • Pat and Vanna introduce each celebrity after walking out.
    • Each celebrity plays for charity with a minimum of $10,000, and the Bonus Round is played for $25,000.
    • Except on Thursday, the celebrities do not wear name tags.
    • The three-round structure is used, with no Friday Finals.
    • The crystal contestant backdrops are used.
    • During the interviews, commercial clips are shown for each celebrity's charity.
    • After each interview, a clip is shown of that celebrity in a work that he or she is known for where applicable:
      • November 3: Vanessa Marcil on General Hospital, Ian Ziering on Beverly Hills 90210, and Tracy Bingham on Baywatch
      • November 4: Richard Simmons in his workout tape Get Down the Pounds, still photos of Kerri Strug at the 1996 Olympics, and Alan Rachins on Dharma & Greg
      • November 5: Alicia Witt on Cybill, LL Cool J on In the House, and Paula Poundstone on her 1996 HBO comedy special Paula Poundstone Goes to Harvard
      • November 6: Debbe Dunning on Home Improvement, William Shatner on Star Trek: Generations, and Julie Pinson on Port Charles. Perhaps due to Shatner departing mid-game, no footage of Angie Everhart is shown.
      • November 7: Jane Seymour on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman; no footage is shown of Lindsay Wagner or Robert Guiallume
  • On November 3:
    • The Free Spin comes loose in Round 1; this is fixed in Round 2.
    • The wide shot of the Final Spin appears to have been added in post-production, as it is done on the Round 1 template.
    • Ian finishes with only $1,350, the lowest known total for the nighttime show since the retirement of shopping.
  • On November 4:
    • In Round 1, Richard places the Free Spin on his forehead after claiming it.
    • Also Round 1, Richard calls a B before spinning and is held to his call; strangely, the buzzer does not sound when Pat tells him that there is no B.
    • Against normal practice, the buzzer sounds on a repeated B in Round 1.
    • Richard changes vests during each commercial break.
    • The Jackpot is not adjusted after a "null" cycle, as it jumps from $5,250 to $6,150 on Richard's first turn.
  • On November 5:
    • For the first known time, Vanna's outfit includes gloves.
    • During Alicia's interview, footage is shown of her on the Teen Week of September 3, 1990. As a result, she is the first known person to have competed on Wheel as both a civilian and a celebrity.
    • Paula calls an A after spinning in Round 1, but changes it to V. Against precedent, she is credited with the V.
  • On November 6:
    • The celebrities wear sparkly name tags.
    • No vowels are bought in Round 1.
    • William Shatner leaves after Round 2 due to scheduling conflicts caused by an abnormally long taping session; Julie Pinson takes his place for the rest of the episode. Perhaps due to her coming in at the last minute, Julie does not wear a name tag.
    • Round 3 begins as a Speed-Up. As a result, the Jackpot and second Bankrupt are not used.
  • On November 7:
    • Round 1 (ROLE MODEL) is a rare instance of a puzzle shorter than ten letters.
    • No vowels are bought in Round 1.
    • In Round 2, Lindsay accidentally calls a vowel on $250; although this is edited out, Pat can still be heard saying "we need a consonant" and then asking her if she still wants to buy a vowel.
    • The Jackpot starts at $5,000 on Friday for the only time this season.
    • There is a $7,950 Jackpot win.
  • The weeks of November 10 and 17 are taped at The Temple Hoyne Buell Theatre (part of Denver Center for the Performing Arts) in Denver. During these weeks:
    • The Prize Puzzle is not used.
    • There is a sign at center stage shaped like a rainbow, with "DENVER" written in flashing letters.
    • The Bonus Round window has the word "Denver" written on the top.

Jackpot with the Aquafresh logo (1997).

  • On November 10:
    • The Jackpot wedge has lights added to the semicircle.
    • The Jackpot begins to have a different sponsor each week.
  • On November 12:
    • Vanna wears a suit.
    • On contestant Robbin's second spin of Round 3, the overhead shot is clearly dubbed in from another episode, as it shows the red arrow instead of the yellow one.
  • On November 13, there is a cold opening where Vanna walks into a hotel and surprises contestant Teresa.
  • On November 14:
    • The Denver Broncos do the "Wheel! Of! Fortune!" chant in the opening.
    • The Round 2 Prize is accidentally placed on $450.
  • All five Bonus Rounds are lost on the week of November 10.
  • November 17 is College Week. During this week:
    • All of this week's contestants do the opening chant. During the introduction, each contestant runs onstage and introduces himself or herself while accompanied by the University of Colorado cheerleaders.
    • The Bonus Round window has the words COLLEGE WEEK written on the top and bottom.
    • The University of Colorado marching band plays "Changing Keys" during the intro, albeit with the 1983-94 melody.
  • On November 17:
    • The Round 2 Prize is a $2,500 gift certificate to REI.
    • The Round 3 puzzle BAZOOKA BUBBLE GUM is a rare instance of a puzzle with none of the five common consonants; no letters are revealed until the sixth turn.
    • The Round 4 puzzle I'LL HAVE WHAT SHE'S HAVING in inexplicably categorized as Phrase instead of Quotation.
  • On November 18, the bonus puzzle VOICE MAIL is misspelled (it should be one word).
  • On November 19, the Free Spin comes loose, covering the dollar sign on the green $300.
  • On November 20:
    • When Round 2 is solved, the cue for correctly answering a "bonus" question is accidentally used instead of the puzzle-solve cue.
    • The Round 2 puzzle ALPHA BETA GAMMA & DELTA (Things) is followed by a trivia question, asking for the last letter of the Greek alphabet. Paige does not provide the correct answer of omega.
  • November 24 is Best Friends Week. The fourth Jackpot wedge is used during this week, suggesting a tapedate prior to the Denver episodes.
  • On November 24:
    • One team includes the show's first known deaf contestant (George), whose teammate (Darren) doubles as a sign language translator. Clips of their interview are later used in the ceremonial 3,000th and 4,000th episodes, as well as Seasons 25 and 30.
    • The Round 2 puzzle TAXI'S ALEX TONY & REVEREND JIM (Classic TV) is followed by a trivia question asking who played Alex. Contestants Rick and Darryll give the correct answer of Judd Hirsch.
    • When Round 2 is solved, the cue for correctly answering a "bonus" question and the puzzle-solve cue are accidentally switched.
    • Pat and Vanna do not sign off.
  • On November 26, Vanna gives Pat gooseberry pie during the closing chat.
  • On November 27:
    • Both contestants on the yellow team are named Ricky.
    • The ding is accidentally used on the first turn of the Speed-Up.
  • On November 28:
    • The Prize Puzzle is used for the eighth and final time: specifically, the Event puzzle GEARING UP FOR THE GREAT OUTDOORS offers a camping package. It does not return until September 11, 2003.
    • During the Bonus Round, the letters revealed by the winning team's three more consonants and a vowel light up much slower than usual.

December 1997

  • On December 1:
    • Round 1 (AL PACINO) is a rare instance of a puzzle shorter than ten letters.
    • The Round 2 puzzle BATMAN BATTLES JOKER PENGUIN & RIDDLER (Classic TV) is followed by a trivia question asking who is Batman's butler. Contestant John does not provide the answer of Alfred.
    • There is a $12,250 Jackpot win.
    • A transition is added between the shot of the $5,000 space and the shot of the Round 4 puzzle; the wedge now "zooms" out of the Wheel and turns on its side to form the shot.
  • On December 3, Pat and Vanna do not sign off.
  • On December 4:
    • On contestant Tim's last spin of Round 1, the overhead shot is clearly dubbed in from another episode, as it shows the yellow arrow instead of the red one.
    • During the closing chat, Pat asks Vanna how her strapless dress stays on; a clip of this was seen on the ceremonial 3,000th episode.
  • On December 5:
    • Two consecutive spins by contestant Bruce in Round 1 are stopped in mid-spin by Pat, due to the Wheel slipping out of his hands.
    • The Round 2 Prize is accidentally placed on $450; neither it nor $350 is hit.
    • As the Round 2 puzzle is solved, a stagehand can be seen walking behind the puzzle board.
    • Round 4 (WISH LIST) is a rare instance of both a puzzle shorter than ten letters, and one with only one vowel.
  • December 8 is Puerto Rico Week. During this week, the floor is blue.
  • On December 8:
    • The Wheel's outer frame is misaligned throughout the first two rounds. It is fixed before Round 3.
    • No vowels are bought in Round 1.
    • Rounds 1 and 5 are both shorter than ten letters (LAW & ORDER and CAMELOT respectively).
    • Six rounds are played.
    • Contestant Barbara fills in the bonus puzzle GARAGE completely.
  • On December 10, Pat forgets to remove contestant Brenda's prize after she hits Bankrupt, he removes when it's her turn. Pat also forgets to remove her Surprise after the end of Round 4.
  • On December 11, contestant Jacki leaves with only $2,250.
  • On December 12, three females play in the Friday Finals.
  • During the week of December 8, all five winners are female.
  • For the week of December 15, the crystal backdrops are used.
  • On December 15:
    • The $10,000 Wedge comes loose from the orange-yellow $300 during Round 2 and covers roughly one third of the adjacent red $600 space. None of the affected spaces are hit.
    • Contestant Ben solves the bonus puzzle PIGGY BANK just after the buzzer. Pat does not open the envelope, explaining that the answer will be checked during the commercial break and joking that because Ben is an attorney, they don't want him coming at them. It is verified during the post-game chat that the buzzer beat him, after which Vanna opens the envelope.
  • On December 16, the Bonus Round window doesn't appear until the timer starts.
  • On December 18:
    • Contestant Leonard wins the SAAB convertible and runs up and jumps into it, after which his friend and Pat both jump in as well. This clip was shown on the ceremonial 3,000th episode.
    • Neither the convertible's total nor Leonard's winning total is shown onscreen.
  • On December 19, after contestant Roland solves Round 4, Pat turns to him and says, "I'm just in the mood, I don't know. Call me wacky." This was seen in several retrospectives.
  • December 22 is Happy Holidays Week. During this week:
    • The Surprise wedge is green, with "SURPRISE" written out horizontally in gold-outlined pink letters and a gift box below. When the Surprise is claimed and won, the box is opened to reveal a card that says "I've won [name of prize]. Tell me about it, Charlie!" which then segues into the prize description. The concept is very similar to the Prize Box on Wheel 2000, which at this point is still in first-run.
    • Various Christmas songs play during the post-Round 2 bumper.
    • Except on Friday, the Prize is $2,500 credit to a company: Blockbuster Video on Monday, Target on Tuesday, Rand McNally Store on Wednesday, and Nature Company on Thursday.
    • One of the bonus prizes is a "Christmas stocking", whose contents are not revealed unless it is won.
    • The $25,000 envelope has a picture of Santa Claus and reindeer flying.
  • On December 23:
    • Round 5 (TICKETHOLDER) is misspelled, as it should be two words.
    • Neither Thing nor Phrase is used in the main game.
  • On December 24:
    • Unusually, contestant Carole wears a Christmas sweater and reindeer slippers.
    • The ding sounds on the only letter revealed in the Speed-Up.
    • Contestant Russ solves the Speed-Up puzzle BETTER THAN EVER by adding "Just Like Wheel of Fortune" before the actual answer.
    • Russ finishes with only $4,500.
  • On December 25:
    • Contestant Mike makes balloon animals during his interview, and Vanna ends up wearing one of them during Round 3.
    • The sparkly green $1,000 wedge comes loose, partially exposing the yellow $1,000 underneath. This is fixed after Mike's second spin.
    • Round 5 (PET SHOP) is a rare instance of a puzzle shorter than ten letters.
  • On December 26:
    • No vowels are bought in Round 1.
    • Round 2's Where Are We? puzzle uses three clues.
  • All five Bonus Rounds are lost on the week of December 22, part of a six-day losing streak.
  • Reruns air during the week of December 29.

January 1998

  • January 5 is Wheel into 1998 week. During this week:
    • All of the Prizes are themed to New Year's resolutions in some manner.
    • The crystal backdrops are used.
  • On January 5:
    • The Round 2 Prize is maid service for a year from Scott's Liquid Gold.
    • No vowels are bought in Round 2.
    • Contestant Susan solves the bonus puzzle HANG ON before the timer can start.
  • On January 6:
    • There are two contestants named Bob.
    • The Prize includes a trip to Seattle, which is accompanied by a picture of the Wheel painted atop the Space Needle in 1995.
    • No vowels are bought in Round 2.
    • Pat shouts "It's the third time you've landed on this, Bob!" to Bob Meek after he hits the Prize Wedge on his first spin in Round 5, although it is only the second time he is shown hitting it, indicating that a cycle of lost turns was edited out of an earlier round.
    • Bob Meek spins over the Final Spin bells. He is allowed to complete his turn, after which Pat does the Final Spin.
    • Pat's Final Spin lands on Bankrupt.
    • Contestant Tara finishes with only $4,100.
  • On January 7:
    • There is a rare instance of a contestant losing their turn with only vowels remaining: with only the vowels missing from the Round 1 puzzle CHESHIRE CAT, contestant Jennie buys A and I, leaving her with no money, and still fails to solve the puzzle before getting buzzed out.
    • The Round 2 Prize includes a fitness course taught by Donna Richardson, along with fitness videos and a copy of her workout book Let's Get Real! The Prize uses Clarendon text on a blue gradient background.
    • No vowels are bought in Round 3.
  • On January 8, contestant Noel and Pat show off their lucky charms to each other. A clip of this was seen in Season 25.
  • On January 9:
    • Noel sings the solution to the Round 2 puzzle HERE I COME TO SAVE THE DAY.
    • Six rounds are played.
    • Contestant Linda finishes second with $15,000.
    • Noel wins by $50.
    • In the post-game chat, Pat and Vanna inhale helium from on-set balloons. This is seen in several retrospectives.
  • January 12 is California week. During this week, the backdrop is a composite of sailboats used during the San Diego taping in May 1997.
  • On January 12:
    • Round 1 (THE FIGHTING IRISH) is the last appearance of Nickname on the actual show; however, it is confirmed to have been used at an audition as late as 2002.
    • Contestant Joanna's first spin in Round 1 is stopped by itself due the Wheel slipping out of her hand.
    • After Beverly hits Bankrupt next to the green $500 in Round 3, the overhead shot seems to be dubbed in, as it shows the other Bankrupt instead.
    • Eleven turns are lost in Round 3.
  • On January 13:
    • No vowels are bought in Round 3.
    • Round 5 (GUEST ROOM) is a rare instance of a puzzle shorter than ten letters.
  • On January 14, the Round 2 puzzle MILLION BILLION & TRILLION (Things) is followed by a trivia question asking how many zeroes are in a billion; Contestant James provides the correct answer of nine.
  • On January 16:
    • Vanna's outfit includes gloves.
    • No vowels are bought in Round 1.
    • The Round 2 puzzle THIS TAPE WILL SELF-DESTRUCT IN FIVE SECONDS (Classic TV) is followed by a trivia question asking what the next line is. Contestant Judy does not provide the answer of "Good luck, Jim". It is also not known why the puzzle was not categorized as Next Line Please.
  • January 19 is NFL Players Week. During this week:
    • After each puzzle is solved, the shot zooms out to show a CGI graphic of a football player dancing in the lower-right hand corner.
    • The crystal backdrops are used.
    • The winner of the Friday Finals receives a trip to Super Bowl XXXII in San Diego.
  • On January 19, contestants Mona and Edgar Bennett's post-game total is not shown on screen.
  • On January 20, Round 4 (NO SWEAT) is a rare instance of a puzzle shorter than ten letters.
  • On January 21:
    • Round 1 (SNACK BAR) is a rare instance of both a puzzle shorter than ten letters, and one with only one vowel.
    • The Round 2 Prize is a chance to have dinner with an NFL player along with a Panasonic TV; when the latter is shown, it displays the opening from one of the Dallas road shows in 1994.
    • There is a $7,700 Jackpot win.
  • On January 22:
    • NFL player Daryl "Moose" Johnston wears a neck brace.
    • The second Bankrupt is accidentally placed on the Wheel in Round 4 despite it beginning as a Speed-Up.
    • For no particular reason, the bonus puzzle displays on the top two rows.
  • On January 23, the NFL Players do not wear name tags.
  • From January 21-23, all three teams are male-female combos.
  • On January 26:
    • After the Round 1 puzzle THE GERBER BABY, a stagehand gives Pat a jar of Gerber baby food. Pat then eats two spoonfuls and jokes "Now I need to change my Pull-Up", which causes Charlie to laugh before he begins the Round 2 Prize copy.
    • No vowels are bought in Rounds 2 and 5.
    • Round 5 (PIZZERIA) is a rare instance of both a puzzle shorter than ten letters, and one with only three unique consonants.
    • Fourteen turns are lost in the above round.
  • On January 27:
    • There is a $7,050 Jackpot win; strangely, the "fireworks" effect does not appear.
    • Round 3 is Events, and Round 4 is Event, while Round 5 is Thing and the Bonus Round is Things.
    • Six rounds are played.
    • The first E in the W-H-E-E-L holder is burnt out when contestant Woodie's guests come on stage to celebrate his win.
  • On January 28, contestant Leisa finishes with only $4,700.
  • On January 29:
    • In Round 1, Vanna accidently touches the wrong side of the monitor when trying to reveal the second T in THE KEY TO HAPPINESS.
    • The $10,000 Wedge is placed on the green $500 in Round 2, and the second Bankrupt is placed there in Rounds 3 and 4.
    • Pat and Vanna do the closing chat from the puzzle board, and Vanna uses the letters ABC to demonstrate how it works.

February 1998

  • The weeks of February 2 and 9 are taped at the Las Vegas Hilton. During these weeks:
    • There is a cold open where Pat and Vanna stand in front of a picture of the Las Vegas skyline. Vanna says "From the entertainment capital of the world..." and Pat continues, "...it's Wheel of Fortune from Las Vegas!" During the second week, Pat and Vanna switch lines and "from Las Vegas" is said at beginning instead the end.
    • The Bonus Round window has the words "Las Vegas" written on the top.
  • February 2 is Family Week. During this week, the three-round structure is used.
  • On February 2:
    • A then-unknown Zak Bagans is a contestant, teamed with his sister Meredith.
    • The Oak Ridge Boys make a cameo after their name is the Round 2 puzzle. Pat interviews group member Joe Bonsall, who promotes their TNN variety show The Oak Ridge Boys Live from Las Vegas. Their song "Elvira" plays as they walk onstage, and again under Charlie's post-Round 2 plugs.
    • Lance Burton does a bumper after the above.
  • On February 3:
    • There is a cold open where Vanna stands in front of a Mustang and everyone behind her does the opening chant.
    • Penn & Teller make a guest appearance.
    • The winning contestants (Zidonia and Zenobia) finish with only $4,750.
  • On February 4:
    • The Round 1 puzzle THE SPICE GIRLS uses three rows despite being small enough to fit on two; in addition, the group's name does not officially have "the" in it.
    • The Round 2 Prize has "VIDEO" in white Clarendon text on a magenta background, as opposed to a graphic. It is also placed on the orange $300, but it is picked up, so the placement of the Jackpot wedge is not affected.
    • Contestants Jennifer and Joanne win with $5,000, earned entirely from a single letter called in the Speed-Up.
  • On February 5:
    • There is a cold open where Vanna is at Hoover Dam.
    • Lance Burton makes a guest appearance.
    • Neither Bankrupt nor Lose a Turn is hit.
  • On February 6:
    • Six females play in the Friday Finals for the only known time.
    • Jennifer and Joanne compete in the Friday Finals after having won only $5,000 on their first episode. This is a tie for the lowest known score for Friday Finals competitors in teams.
    • Pat forgets to ask contestants Michelle and Julie if they wanted to use their Free Spin in Round 2.
    • Michelle and Julie opt to turn in their Free Spin in Round 3, but before they can do so, Jennifer and Joanne begin to spin the Wheel. Pat then spins the Wheel backward to reset it for Michelle and Julie.
  • During the week of February 2, all ten winners are female.
  • All five Bonus Rounds are lost on the week of February 2, part of a six-day losing streak.
  • On February 7, Wheel 2000 airs its last first-run episode.
  • On February 9, contestant Arnie sweeps the game but loses a Chevrolet Corvette in the Bonus Round.
  • On February 10:
    • There is a cold open where Vanna stands in front of a Mustang and a crowd behind her does the opening chant.
    • David Cassidy makes a guest appearance after the Round 2 puzzle THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY. "I Think I Love You" by the Partridge Family plays instead of the puzzle-solve cue as he walks out, and again as the bumper.
    • Rick Thomas does a bumper before Round 3.
    • The ding is accidentally used on the first turn of the Speed-Up.
    • All of the puzzles are very short, with Round 2 being the longest at only 18 letters.
  • On February 11:
    • Debbie Reynolds makes a cameo after her name is the Round 2 puzzle. "Singin' in the Rain" plays in place of the puzzle-solve cue as she walks out, and again as the bumper.
    • Contestant Albany accumulates $45,000 in the Speed-Up but does not win it. This would have tied the one-round record had it been claimed.
  • On February 12:
    • There is a cold open where Vanna is at Hoover Dam.
    • The blue contestant, whose real name is Quentin, is referred to as Q throughout the show.
    • The Before & After puzzle BEFORE & AFTER-DINNER DRINK is a very rare instance of the category also being in the answer.
  • On February 13:
    • Contestants Albany and Courtney, who competed against each other on February 11, both compete in the Friday Finals. This is the sixth of only ten known times where the same two contestants compete against each other twice.
    • Albany later appears in several retrospectives due to her excited demeanor.
    • No vowels are bought in Round 1.
    • The Round 2 Prize is a Kawasaki personal watercraft.
    • Round 2 is a very rare instance of a "bonus" category being multiple-choice: after the Clue puzzle THIS LANDMARK IS PICTURED ON THE NICKEL, Pat offers Albany a choice of the White House, the Capitol, or Monticello, and she picks the correct response of Monticello.
    • For no particular reason, Surprise is used on a Friday Finals. In addition, a second prize (an $11,750 Elvis Presley jukebox) is added in Round 3.
    • Albany solves the Speed-Up puzzle I'M SO EXCITED with only the M and S showing.
    • The bonus puzzle is DAILY DOUBLE.
  • February 16-27 is the Come Spin and Win Sweepstakes, sponsored by Sears. Each week has a special "Play to Win" puzzle after Round 3, to which more letters are added throughout the week, and home viewers can submit the answer for a chance to win $1,000,000 in cash or $500 Sears gift certificates. The puzzles are FOUR SCORE AND SEVEN YEARS AGO and SHOW ME THE MONEY.
    • The crystal backdrops are used.
    • The Round 2 Prize (with one exception) is a $3,500 Sears gift certificate.
    • Viewers can find game pieces in TV Guide, at Sears stores nationwide, or in their Sunday paper. Each night, more letters will be added to the puzzle.
    • For answers, viewers may send a self-addressed stamped envelope to: "Play to Win" Sweepstakes Answers-Week (number), P.O. Box 9136, Bridgeport, New Jersey 08014 and must be received by March 6. Washington and Vermont residents may omit postage.
    • For entries, viewers may either submit their entries at a Sears store by February 28, or mail by March 13 to "PLAY TO WIN" SWEEPSTAKES, P.O. Box 9005, Bridgeport, New Jersey 08014.
  • On February 16, contestant Bill sweeps the game and wins a Chevrolet Tahoe in the Bonus Round.
  • On February 17:
    • Rounds 1 and 2 are played entirely by the contestants who began them, although the Free Spin is used in Round 1.
    • There is a $6,500 Jackpot win.
    • There is a tie after Round 5, which as usual for the era is broken with a second Speed-Up.
    • The second Bankrupt and prizes are all removed from the wheel during the Tie-Breaker Round.
  • On February 18:
    • During the Prize copy, a Nintendo 64 and two Game Boy Pockets are shown, but the television accompanying the former displays Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, which is a Sony PlayStation title.
    • The Jackpot round is sponsored by the Tiger Electronics portable Name That Tune game, a very rare instance of a non-Sony game show being promoted on Wheel.
  • On February 19, the Round 2 prize is a trip to the DieHard 500 (now the GEICO 500) at the Talladega Superspeedway and a pair of DieHard racing jackets, valued at $2,500. This is the only prize during the Come Spin and Win Sweepstakes which is not a Sears gift certificate.
  • On February 23, the category strips do not appear in Round 5 until after it goes to Speed-Up.
  • On February 24, the Round 2 Before & After puzzle is YOU'RE MAKING MY HEAD SPIN THE WHEEL.
  • On February 26:
    • All three of contestant Tammy's spins in Round 4 land on the orange $900.
    • No vowels are bought in Round 4.
  • On February 27:
    • Contestants Mike and Melissa, who competed against each other on February 24, both compete in the Friday Finals. This is the seventh of only ten known times where the same two contestants compete against each other twice.
    • The puzzle board lights flash in Round 1 before Tammy reads the puzzle.
  • During the week of February 23, all five winners are female.

March 1998

  • On March 2:
    • A "null" cycle is edited out of Round 2, as evidenced by Pat acknowledging a repeated T despite the first call having been part of the cycle.
    • Thirteen turns are lost in Round 4.
  • On March 3:
    • Rounds 1 and 5 are both shorter than ten letters (MORK & MINDY and YARD SALE respectively).
    • No vowels are bought in Rounds 1 or 5.
    • The Round 2 Prize is $2,500 toward purchases from TravelSmith.
  • On March 4:
    • Vanna wears a suit.
    • There are two contestants named Frank.
    • Clips of contestant Frank Darlow's interview later appear in several retrospectives due to him being a mortician and clown.
    • Frank Darlow accidentally calls T, L, and R in the Bonus Round.
  • On March 5, the Round 2 puzzle RICH MILK CHOCOLATE & VELVETY NOUGAT (Things) is followed by a trivia question asking what candy bar describes itself this way; contestant Kelli provides the correct answer of 3 Musketeers. As the editors of this Wiki have been unable to prove that this was ever used as a description for that candy bar, this is the second known instance of a "bonus" question having a factually incorrect answer, although it does not affect the outcome.
  • On March 6:
    • The Round 2 puzzle HOSTESS CUP CAKES is misspelled ("cupcakes" should be one word).
    • Contestant Andy wins by $86.
    • Pat and Vanna do not sign off.
  • On March 9:
    • Debra's total for Round 1 ($5,000 plus the Surprise, a $6,697 trip to Maui) is never stated after the Surprise copy.
    • The Round 2 Prize is a $2,500 shopping spree at the Rand McNally Travel Store.
    • After the Round 2 puzzle MY NAME IS BOND JAMES BOND (Quotation), contestant Chris is asked for the title of the first James Bond movie: he is given the choices of Goldfinger, Dr. No, or From Russia with Love, and picks the right answer of Dr. No. This is a very rare instance of a "bonus" question being multiple-choice.
    • Interestingly, Rounds 1-3 do not have T in them.
  • On March 10:
    • Contestant Ainsley is credited with $3,900 instead of $3,650 in Round 2 due to a vowel not being deducted from her score.
    • Ainsley solves the bonus puzzle ROBIN despite getting no help from her extra letters.
    • In the closing segment, the audience appears on-camera so that Pat can show a leak in the roof. Charlie can be heard laughing during this.
  • On March 12:
    • Charlie accidentally says "And now here they are, the stars of the show" instead of "And now here are the stars of our show" during the intro.
    • The contestants pose for a group photo at the end of the main game.
  • On March 13:
    • Three females play in the Friday Finals for the last time.
    • Vanna's outfit includes a boa, which Pat helps carry as the two walk out; she removes it before Round 1.
  • On March 16 (taped February 13):
    • Vanna wears a sleeveless top and pants.
    • In Round 2, the "only vowels remain" beeps fail to sound until after contestant Dan starts to solve.
    • The Round 3 puzzle NEWSPAPER ARTICLE OF CLOTHING (Before & After) is one space further to the left than usual.
  • On March 17:
    • No vowels are bought in Rounds 1 or 5.
    • The Round 2 puzzle WE'RE IN TOUCH SO YOU BE IN TOUCH (Quotation) is followed by a trivia question asking what show does it come from; contestant Kevin provides the correct answer of 20/20.
  • On March 18:
    • Matt Fenwick, a then-wanted criminal on two counts of child molestation, appears as a contestant. He is arrested on the 20th after one of his alleged victims sees him on the show, then sentenced to 6½ years in prison on October 7.
    • No vowels are bought in Round 3.
    • There is a $7,850 Jackpot win.
    • Against normal practice, the buzzer sounds on a repeated letter in Round 4.
  • The Surprise is won all four times during the week of March 16.
  • On March 20:
    • Round 2 is a very rare instance of a "bonus" category being multiple-choice: after the Where Are We? puzzle CAPITAL CITY OF SWITZERLAND, Pat offers contestant Jashelle a choice of Bern, Zurich, or Geneva. She provides the correct answer of Bern.
    • There is an unclaimed Jackpot of $21,250.
  • Reruns air during the week of March 23. This is the last time until Season 37 that reruns air mid-season.
  • On March 30:
    • In Round 4, the red arrow accidentally flashes on contestant Cliff's second turn.
    • No vowels are bought in Round 4.

April 1998

  • On April 1:
    • Appropriately, the Round 1 puzzle is PLAYING AN APRIL FOOL'S JOKE.
    • Contestants Rex and Rebecca show pictures of their children in the beginning. In closing segment, Vanna shows a picture of her daughter Giovanna while Pat shows a picture of himself. A clip of this was seen in Season 25.
  • On April 2:
    • The Jackpot round is sponsored by the Tiger Electronics portable Family Feud game, a very rare instance of a non-Sony game show being promoted on Wheel.
    • Contestant Darrell forgets to pick up the Round 2 prize in Round 3.
    • Seven consecutive wrong letters are called in the Speed-Up.
    • There is a rare instance of a contestant losing their turn in the Speed-Up with only vowels remaining; with only the vowels missing from THE GREEN HORNET & KATO, contestant Barry gives two wrong answers, after which Darrell calls O and solves.
    • Darrell sweeps the game and wins a trip to Cancún and a Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder convertible in the Bonus Round.
    • Darrell wins a total of three trips: a trip to London, a trip to Costa Rica, and the aforementioned Bonus Round trip. Excluding shopping episodes, this is one of three known instances where a contestant wins three trips, which is very likely the highest number of trips won by a single contestant.
  • On April 3, Round 5 (SCOOBY-DOO) is a rare instance of both a puzzle shorter than ten letters, and one with only one vowel.
  • During the week of April 6, the show begins offering liimited-edition 15th Anniversary denim jackets from Old Navy as parting gifts. Vanna models these before the Bonus Round.
  • On April 6:
    • Free Spin is accidentally left on the wheel for Round 3, but is not hit.
    • For the first time, a Final Spin landing on Bankrupt is edited out.
  • On April 7, Fill In the Number debuts in Round 2.
  • On an episode sometime after the introduction of Fill In the Number, the puzzle # AND ## BLACKBIRDS BAKED IN A PIE (4, 20) is one of only three known Fill In the Number puzzles to have two different numbers in it.
  • On April 8:
    • Vanna wears a suit.
    • After the interviews, contestant Christal gives Pat a potato chip cookie, which he then gives to contestant coordinator Gary O'Brien. Pat then eats one before Round 3, at which point Vanna can be heard shouting, "Save one for me!" The two then eat more of the cookies during the closing chat.
    • The Round 2 Prize is a pair of Kent Trouble motorized bicycles.
  • On April 9:
    • The closed captioning is sponsored by the Tiger Electronics portable Family Feud game.
    • Contestant Dennis fills in the entire Round 3 Before & After puzzle PARACHUTE JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS by himself.
  • On April 10:
    • Once again, Vanna wears a suit.
    • No vowels are bought in Round 1.
  • April 13 is Sports Fantasy Week, taped March 12. During this week:
    • The crystal backdrops are used.
    • The Bonus Round envelopes feature various sports-related graphics.
  • On April 13:
    • Contestant Mark fills in the entire Round 1 puzzle YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST by himself.
    • The Round 2 Prize is a personal fitness program with Donna Richardson; in a very unusual occurrence, the background music for the Prize copy is "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)" by C+C Music Factory.
    • The time limit in the Speed-Up round is reduced from 5 seconds to 3. Despite this, Pat continues to say "5 seconds" on a few subsequent episodes.
    • Bill's podium accidentally flashes briefly when it's Mark turn in the Speed-Up Round.
  • On April 14:
    • In Round 1, Pat tells contestant Laura that C has already been called despite being only the first aired wrong letter in the game, indicating that a "null" cycle including an incorrect C was edited out.
    • The Jackpot display changes fonts near the end of the round.
    • Rounds 1 and 3 are completely filled in before being solved.
    • Laura wins by $50. She solves only Round 4, which is played as a full Speed-Up with a Final Spin value of only $600, despite losing $14,900 and the Surprise wedge to Bankrupt.
  • On April 15, Round 2 is a rare instance of a "bonus" question being multiple-choice: after the puzzle WHO CAN TURN THE WORLD ON WITH HER SMILE (Classic TV), Vanessa is asked if The Mary Tyler Moore show was set in Minneapolis, Chicago, or New York, and she does not provide the correct response of Minneapolis.
  • On April 16, contestant Sharon loses the Surprise in Round 2 and the Round 2 Prize in Round 3 both to Bankrupts, but Pat forgets to take them away until control returns to her later in Round 3.
  • On April 17:
    • Round 1 (THE LARRY SANDERS SHOW, in the category Show Biz) is a rare instance of the category also containing part of the answer.
    • The Round 2 Prize is a trip to the 1999 Pro Bowl in Hawaii.
    • Before Round 4, there is a clip of Pat and Vanna introducing the winners of February's Sears contest as well as naming the puzzle answers. This clip is clearly added in post-production, as it is done on the set of the Wheel Across America week of May 25.
  • April 20 is California Dreamin' week. During this week:
    • The post-Round 2 bumpers are various Beach Boys songs: "Fun, Fun, Fun" on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, "California Girls" on Tuesday and Thursday.
    • The backdrop is a composite of sailboats used during the San Diego taping in May 1997.
  • On April 20:
    • The Round 2 puzzle BARBRA STREISAND'S OSCAR-WINNING FILM DEBUT (The 60's) is followed by a trivia question asking what film the puzzle references. Contestant Lourdes provides the correct answer of Funny Girl.
    • After the Final Spin spiel, an offstage voice can be heard telling Pat that the time limit has been reduced to 3 seconds, even though Pat corrected himself earlier. The same voice can be heard acknowledging that only vowels remain when Julie fails to solve after guessing the last consonant.
  • On April 21:
    • Contestant Craig mentions his fiancée Dawn who competed during the Christmas week of this season.
    • No vowels are bought in Round 1.
    • The Round 4 puzzle is a Same Name of VANNA & EGG WHITE.
  • On April 22:
    • The bare Wheel layout is accidentally used in Round 1. This results in the old yellow $1,000 being in use, and neither Free Spin nor Surprise being used. While contestant Ben hits the yellow $400 between $500 and $250 and contestant Jason hits the green $300 in Round 1, this ultimately does not affect the outcome; Ben does not win Round 1 and Jason wins despite losing his turn in Round 3.
    • Jason solves the bonus puzzle MOVING VAN with only the N's and A showing.
  • On April 23:
    • The Surprise is a $10,935 Chevrolet Geo Metro.
    • Round 2 is a rare instance of a "bonus" question being multiple-choice: after the puzzle THIS STATE HAS THE SMALLEST POPULATION (Where Are We?), Contestant Carnell is asked if the puzzle refers to Rhode Island, Utah, or Wyoming, and he does not provide the correct response of Wyoming.
    • The right letter "ding" does not sound for the first letter in Round 3.
    • Carnell sweeps the game and wins a trip to La Jolla and a sailboat in the Bonus Round.
    • Fashion designer Fred Hayman joins Pat and Vanna for the closing chat.
  • On April 24:
    • Vanna wears a suit.
    • Three males play in the Friday Finals for the last time.
    • Jason retires with $114,245.
    • The red curtains in the audience area appear for the last time.
  • During the week of April 20, all five winners are male.
  • During the weeks of April 13 and 20, all ten winners come from the yellow position, part of an eleven-day streak.
  • April 27 is AM-FM Week, with radio personality/civilian teams. During this week:
    • The crystal backdrops are used.
    • The radio personalities' name tags feature a large silver star.
    • During the interviews, the radio hosts' names and their radio stations appear on the category strips (albeit in mixed-case instead of all-caps), with the station's logo as the wipe.
  • On April 27:
    • The Round 2 Prize has "STEREO" in white Clarendon text on a blue background, as opposed to a graphic.
    • Pat never mentions the category (Before & After) in the Speed-Up until the fourth turn.
    • Matt Harris and his teammate Joey add an S to the end of the Round 4 puzzle BUSHY TAIL LIGHT when solving, but this is not noticed until after their answer is accepted. After an edit, Pat announces that since the teams are playing for charity, Kelly Ford and her teammate Ryan will receive the $1,200 they had accumulated in that round anyway, whereas the red team will also receive the $4,200 that they had accumulated, since only the U was unrevealed and they likely would have solved had Matt and Joey's answer not been accepted. This ruling does not affect the outcome as neither team would have won anyway.
    • Pat and Vanna do not sign off.
  • On April 28:
    • No vowel are bought in Round 1.
    • Contestant Shirley wins a Bonus Round prize called "Rock, Shop & Recover" which includes a trip to a rock concert in London, a shopping spree in Paris, and recovering in Cannes.
  • On April 29:
    • Contestant Bill and his teammate Eddy Crow drop the Round 2 prize on the floor instead of passing it to Pat when lost to a Bankrupt.
    • Contestant Lehua and her teammate Alan Budwill's post-game total is not shown on screen.
  • On April 30:
    • All three teams are male-female combos.
    • contestant Rachel wins a prize called "Rock & Roll" which includes 30 LeAnn Rimes CDs from Curb Records, a Panasonic CD player, and a Mitsubishi Eclipse GS.

May 1998

  • On May 1:
    • All three teams are male-female combos.
    • In an unusual move, Pat opens the sole remaining envelope at the beginning of the Bonus Round to show the $25,000 prize.
  • All ten Bonus Rounds are won on the weeks of April 20 and 27.
  • The weeks of May 4 and 11 are taped at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. During these weeks:
    • The set includes large illuminated letters spelling out "HOUSTON", with various graphics related to the city inside of them with the S being used as the video wall.
    • The Bonus Round window is shaped like Texas.
  • During the week of May 4, Surprise is not used, so a Prize is added in Round 3 instead.
  • On May 4:
    • Round 2 is the first appearance of Who Are They?, and the only known until Season 22.
    • Contestant Sherry has trouble flipping the $10,000 wedge to the full-size side. She fixes it just in time before Pat comes over to help her.
    • Pat is visible in the shot of the board during the Bonus Round.
    • Sherry leaves with only $3,200.
    • In the closing segment, Pat stands in front of the U in the HOUSTON sign to make it look like cattle horns are protruding from his head. This was seen in several retrospectives.
  • On May 5:
    • There is a cold open where a staff member of Mission Control Center in Houston says, "Wheel of Fortune, are you ready for launch?" followed by Vanna announcing the theme from the inside of a rocket ship. The logo then appears in the shape of a UFO orbiting the Earth before continuing as usual.
    • Round 4 and the Bonus Round are People.
    • The ding does not sound when the M is revealed in the bonus puzzle GEMINIS.
    • Contestant Cheryl solves the aforementioned bonus puzzle on the buzzer. Her answer is checked during the commercial break, and in the final segment, Pat tells her she has been ruled a winner.
  • On May 6:
    • Contestant Rudy spins only once in the entire game, landing on Bankrupt in Round 1.
    • There is a $10,350 Jackpot win.
    • Contestant Richard picks up Pat after winning the Jackpot and then chases Pat across the stage after solving his bonus puzzle; both of these have been seen in several retrospectives.
  • On May 7:
    • The audience applauds for the first two correct letters of the Speed-Up.
    • Immediately after being told from offstage that only vowels are left, contestant Sharon solves the Speed-Up puzzle without calling a letter first.
  • On May 8, Sharon competes in the Friday Finals after having won only $5,300 on her first episode. This is the lowest known score for a single Friday Finals competitor.
  • May 11 is College Week. During this week:
    • The contestants introduce themselves one by one followed them saying in unison "It's College Week on..." and the audience doing the chant.
    • The Rice University band performs.
  • On May 11, after the Round 2 puzzle IN ORDER TO FORM A MORE PERFECT UNION (Quotation), Pat asks contestant Mark for first line of the quotation. He provides the correct answer of "We the People of the United States".
  • On May 12, contestant Trey leaves with only $3,800.
  • On May 13:
    • During the Speed-Up Round, an offstage voice can be heard telling Pat that the time limit has been reduced to 3 seconds.
    • The "wrong letter" buzzer accidentally sounds as contestant Diana picks an envelope from the W-H-E-E-L holder. Pat whacks the envelope on the holder to provide the right sound.
  • On May 14:
    • Surprise is placed on the yellow $400 between $250 and $550 instead of the one two wedges counterclockwise from Lose A Turn.
    • The High Rollers chimes do not sound when Pat asks for the number in Round 2's Fill In the Number puzzle.
    • After winning $25,000 in the Speed-Up, contestant Alvaro screams and bear-hugs Pat, leading Pat to cover him with his jacket. This has been seen in several retrospectives.
  • On May 15:
    • Contestants Courtney and Alvaro, who competed against each other on May 14, both compete in the Friday Finals. This is the eighth of only ten known times where the same two contestants compete against each other twice.
    • After contestant Courtney picks her three consonants and a vowel, an offstage voice can be heard asking whether her first consonant was B or D, to which both she and Pat respond that it was B.
    • The Bonus Round chyron disappears just before the timer starts.
    • The Bonus Round puzzle MYTH is the first of only three known puzzles not to have A, E, I, O, or U in it.
  • The week of May 18 is Wheel Goes to the Movies, a recurring theme which occurs in May for the next several seasons (always the first week after the May travel episodes).
  • On May 18, the Prize is a private 50-person screening of Dr. Dolittle.
  • On May 19:
    • Vanna wears a suit.
    • The Round 2 puzzle BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS KIM BASINGER (Show Biz) is followed by a trivia question asking who was the best supporting actor at the time. Contestant Christopher does not provide the correct answer of Robin Williams.
  • On May 20, there is a $7,950 Jackpot win.
  • On May 21, the Prize is two tickets to the premiere of Hope Floats.
  • On May 22:
    • Contestant Tanisa calls an A after spinning in Round 2, but changes it to R. Against precedent, she is credited with the R.
    • Against normal practice, the buzzer sounds on a repeated letter in Round 3.
  • May 25 is Wheel Across America. During this week, various America related songs play into the commercial break after Rounds 2 and 3.
  • On May 27:
    • A button falls off contestant Annie's jacket after she solves Round 1. The wardrobe department fixes this during the commercial break.
    • The Round 2 puzzle THE # RED STRIPES & # WHITE STRIPES ON OLD GLORY (7, 6) is one of only three known Fill In the Number puzzles to have two different numbers in it.
    • The closed captioning sponsor is the Tiger Electronics Name That Tune game.
  • On May 29, contestants Marlyn and Ouida, who competed against each other on May 26, both compete in the Friday Finals. This is the ninth of only ten known times where the same two contestants compete against each other twice.
  • All five Bonus Rounds are lost on the week of May 25.

June 1998

  • June 1 is Summer in the City week. During this week:
    • The crystal backdrops are used.
    • On Monday and Friday, "Summer in the City" by the Lovin' Spoonful plays as the post-Round 2 bumper, while "Summertime Blues" by Eddie Cochran plays at that point on Tuesday. Wednesday instead uses a stock music cue, and Thursday does not feature a bumper.
    • The set from the New York Week in Season 14 is used.
  • On June 1:
    • There are two contestants named Dottie/Dorothy.
    • Neither Bankrupt nor Lose a Turn is hit.
  • On June 2:
    • There are two contestants named Jeff.
    • Jeff Smookler kisses Pat after Round 4 and he picks up Pat and swings him around like a baby after winning the Bonus Round. These clips have been seen in a lot of retrospectives.
  • On June 3, a "null" cycle is edited out of Round 2, as evidenced by Pat acknowledging a repeated H despite the first call having been part of the cycle.
  • On June 4:
    • Round 2's Where Are We? puzzle uses three clues.
    • Pat gives all three contestants Wheel of Fortune baseball caps after the final round.
  • On June 5:
    • Once again, there are two contestants named Jeff.
    • Jeff Smookler competes in the Friday Finals after having won $69,067 on his first episode. This is the highest known score for a single Friday Finals competitor.
    • Before Round 3, Pat asks for the camera crew to get a shot of Charlie in his booth; he is then shown on-camera and conversing with Pat before doing the Jackpot plug.
    • Dottie wins despite losing $13,850 to a wrong letter in Round 2.
  • During the week of June 8 (Endless Summer), Vanna has laryngitis.
  • On June 8:
    • Against normal practice, the buzzer sounds on a repeated letter in Round 3.
    • Pat forgets to tell contestant Lolita to pick an envelope in the Bonus Round.
  • On June 9:
    • The Round 2 puzzle TOM BOSLEY AS HOWARD CUNNINGHAM (Classic TV) is followed by a trivia question asking where did the character work on the TV series Happy Days. Contestant Cowboy provides the correct answer of hardware store.
    • Rounds 1 and 2 are played entirely by the contestants who began them.
  • On June 11, the Surprise is won for the last time: a trip to Greece worth $10,856.
  • On June 12:
    • Contestants Cowboy and Deb, who competed against each other on June 9, both compete in the Friday Finals. This is the tenth of only ten known times where the same two contestants compete against each other twice.
    • The Puzzler is played for the first time. Unlike when it becomes official in the third week of Season 16, there are several differences in presentation: the High Rollers chimes and puzzle reveal chimes are used, the timer beeps are not used, "Puzzler" appears on the category strip (still using the "rolling Wheel" wipe) before it flips over to reveal the category, and there is no wipe to reveal the puzzle.
    • There is a $12,350 Jackpot win.