Wheel of Fortune History

Conceived by Merv Griffin, The "Wheel of Fortune" was intended to focus the spotlight on shopping...

The “Wheel Of Fortune” had a shaky beginning however since then till now it has gone down in history to be the longest running syndicated television game show. This show has been consistently rated as the number one syndicated show since 1984 after it came on the television since in 1975. Its co-stars and simple format delivers an half an hour program across North America every evening that is thrilling and entertaining to TV audiences in the nation.

The “Wheel Of Fortune” was conceived by Merv Griffin who was approached by NBC to make some innovative game concepts for day time program telecasts. He devised the show based on “Hangman” that was intended to focus the spotlight on shopping to apparels. This was targeted towards the daytime audience that vastly comprised of females. This show was originally named “Shopper’s Bazaar” and it featured Chuck Woolery as host. Soap actress Susan Stafford turned letters.

The pilot for Shopper’s Bazaar however did not go very well with the test audiences and so Griffin had to tamper with the formula a bit. In 1975 in September the show was renamed the “Wheel Of Fortune” and it premiered with some success. The main focus of the game was however on shopping and contestants spent their winnings on prizes that were selected from a theme based showcase. This element of the game remained the same till 1987 when the formula of the show moved on to the cash prize format that we know today.

Woolery continued as the host of the game show till December 1981. A salary dispute with Griffin resulted in his resignation. Pat Sajak who was a weatherman took over with Susan Stafford still turning the wheels. Sajak was on the show for the first time during Teen Week and fans of the show did not welcome him at first. It was after the show running for many weeks that he got accepted and the show became popular again.

Susan Stafford the following year decided that she wished to do something with her life. She went into humanitarian work however her timing was not right as “The Wheel Of Fortune” was to go into syndication and destined to become a monster hit shoe. She was replaced with Vanna White in 1982. She was successful as her online chemistry with Sajak was visible on screen.

The Wheel of Fortune was allotted various time slots over the years however it did remarkably well in day slots. In 1983 this game show became a syndicate after being sold to a very small cross section of markets. It became a syndicated game show run in the night. The larger affiliates were worried that the show was not doing well in the evening time however they were wrong. “The Wheel of Fortune “received good ratings and it was picked up in 1984 nationally. By May in the same year “The Wheel Of Fortune” went on to become the number one syndicated show in the nation with success!