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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
3,199 ( 609)


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Friday, October 18



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


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Monty Hall hosts this hilarious half-hour gameshow in which audience contestants picked at random, dressed in ridiculous costumes, try to win cash or prizes by choosing curtain number 1, 2 ... See full summary »

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Series cast summary:
Pat Sajak ...  Himself - Host / ... 6,897 episodes, 1983-2019
Vanna White ...  Herself - Hostess / ... 6,884 episodes, 1983-2019
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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Sony Pictures Television





Release Date:

19 September 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Колесо фортуны 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?


The show used red, yellow, and blue backdrops starting with sunburst ones from 1983 until 1989. Starting on the Wheel in New York week in 1988, Diamond backdrops were used for road shows. In 1989 upon the move to CBS Television City, new backdrops that had golden spikes and doubled as a second score display were used. To distinguish the show from the daytime edition, the show used the Diamond backdrops on a full time basis starting fall 1990. In fall 1992, for the 10th anniversary, a new set of backdrops were debut. In February 1997, the red, yellow, and blue backdrops were removed in favor of a display that fit the theme for that week's set of tapings. In 1998, a video wall replaced the themed backdrops displayed behind the contestant and this video wall was upgraded in 2003. See more »


[Closing announcement 1994-1995]
Announcer: [copyright screen appears/drumroll plays] "Wheel of Fortune" is produced by Columbia/Tristar Television. Distributed by KingWorld.
See more »


Referenced in Friends: The One with the Vows (2001) 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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