Wheel of Fortune is about to get some changes while maintaining some staples like its iconic hosts, Pat Sajak and Vanna White, who will keep their status for a few more years. It is part of a new deal that comes ahead of the show’s 39th season premiere on September 13.
One of the main changes is for Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak. On top of his duties, he will act as a consulting producer for the Sony Pictures TV-produced game show. He and his co-host will continue hosting through at least 2023 or 2024.
In terms of on-camera personalities for Wheel of Fortune, there will be one alteration. Announcer Jim Thorton will be getting a bigger role. After a decade of his current position, he will start with this season as an on-camera feature with his own podium, where he will introduce Pat Sajak and Vanna White.
The family of Wheel of Fortune is going to grow closer, starting with this upcoming season. Maggie Sajak, Pat’s daughter, will handle the social media side of the show. Fans can catch her host exclusive videos, sharing behind-the-scenes footage, interviews with the hosts, crew, and contestants. This online content can be seen on the show’s website and social media accounts, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.
The look and sound of what makes up the identity of Wheel of Fortune will get a facelift. Its theme song Changing Keys will have a modernized take. The set will also get a new look as it moves forward with the newest season.
When it comes to the actual game of Wheel of Fortune, contestants will have a slightly different experience. Instead of Pat Sajak taking the Final Spin, it will be the contestant. This will give more control to the players as it always “bothered” the host that he as a host had that control in one of the most vital moments of the game. For those unfamiliar, this determines the amount each person’s worth during the final round, which is sped up compared to previous rounds.
The Free Play wedge on the board in Wheel of Fortune has been replaced as yet another alteration to how the game is played. It has been replaced by an $850 wedge. In addition to this, a $4,000 bonus can be earned for contestants who solve all three puzzles in the Triple Toss-Up Round, totaling a possible $10,000 reward for the round. Additionally, to celebrate the premiere of season 39, the Bonus Wheel’s amount has been upped as the minimum that can be won is now $39,000.
The changes to Wheel of Fortune come ahead of executive producer Mike Richards no longer being a part of the show. The Jeopardy host and producer was let go due to past comments he had made about women. It was also combined with the backlash against him as a host of the show.
Wheel of Fortune is set to continue its Secret Santa Holiday Giveaway. The sweepstakes open the door for viewers who are signed up as Wheel Watchers Club members to potentially win whatever a contestant wins, which goes up to a $1 million prize.
Pat Sajak and Vanna White have been hosting Wheel of Fortune since 1983. They have also taken part in the daytime version and its spinoff Celebrity Wheel of Fortune.