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Wheel of Fortune 

Hosted by Pat Sajak, this game show features 3 contestants who try to solve a puzzle by spinning the wheel and guessing letters in a word or phrase.


Merv Griffin
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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 9 wins & 73 nominations. See more awards »


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Series cast summary:
Pat Sajak ...  Himself - Host / ... 6,956 episodes, 1983-2020
Vanna White ...  Herself - Hostess / ... 6,948 episodes, 1983-2020
Charlie O'Donnell Charlie O'Donnell ...  Himself - Announcer 4,215 episodes, 1988-2010


Contestants guess hidden phrases by guessing letters one at a time. Contestants win money or prizes, as determined by a spin of the wheel, for each correct consonant they guess. But they have to pay to see what vowels are in a puzzle. The contestant that has amassed the most winnings at the end of a game goes on to play the bonus round, in which the player can win even more -- prizes frequently seen in the bonus round include automobiles, vacations and more cash. Written by Jwelch5742

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Family | Game-Show



Parents Guide:

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Official Sites:

Sony Pictures Television





Release Date:

19 September 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Wheel of Fortune See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(1983 - )

Sound Mix:

Stereo (1983-)



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This nighttime edition was so popular and such a ratings machine that it caused the cancellations of many nighttime syndicated editions of daytime game shows, including Tic-Tac-Dough, The Joker's Wild, Name That Tune, and the former number one nighttime syndicated show, Family Feud. See more »


[Closing announcement 1994-1995]
Announcer: [copyright screen appears/drumroll plays] "Wheel of Fortune" is produced by Columbia/Tristar Television. Distributed by KingWorld.
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Referenced in Over the Hedge (2006) See more »


A Time for Tony
Composed by Merv Griffin
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User Reviews

TV's comfy house slippers
16 February 2008 | by KUAlum26See all my reviews

I say,with little amount of self-consciousness,that I've watched this show (particularly the evening syndicated version) faithfully for almost twenty-five years,and even though the whole routines of the show get a little stale and "samey" (as any show that's been on for a long time tends to do from time to time),there's still something comforting or reassuring that people want to play for (and watch)cash and prizes by solving puzzles. Yup,puzzles. No immunity challenges,no competitive back-biting,no suspense or plotting, no promises of winning "One MILLION DOLLARS!", no lifelines or help from the audience. Just simple contestant-to-puzzle/question format,with host(Pat Sajak,effortlessly affable for close to thirty years,picking up for the equally disarming Chuck Woolery),hostess(Vanna White,truly the luckiest woman in all of showbiz!;Susan Stafford the most notable here before her) and announcer(Charlie O'Donnell now,once TV host Jack Clark back when).

The late Merv Griffin created this show in the mid 1970s as part of his attempt at expanding his repertoire from talk shows(of which he hosted for the better part of twenty years)and music. Coupled with "Jeopardy!" (another show I got into,though I burned out of for reasons too many to explain here),these shows developed a long-lasting familiarity that long outlived the period from which it was spawned. It,along with afore-mentioned "Jeopardy!" and "The Price is Right" were able to become iconic in some degree. But while "Jeoprardy!" and "Price" were able to sustain some level of respect,deserved or otherwise,"Wheel" got drubbed for various offenses,such as lack of intelligence required(mildly false)or being a ripoff of "Hangman"(somewhat true). To me,I still say,faults and all,a show like Wheel is a great refuge for people who remember when game shows tried to be entertaining honestly,with emphasis on the games themselves and less emphasis on the embarrassing,degrading aspects of competition. While the prize values have,naturally,raised considerably over the years and major facets of the show have changed (among them, the acquisition of prizes and how the end game is played),I think the general élan of the show remains. Simple,friendly competition for winnings that neither taxes your brain too much (if at all) nor insults your general sense of dignity.

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