BIG WHEELS KEEP ON TURNIN' September 8, 2021

Wheel of Fortune Gets Multitudes of Little Changes For 39th Season

The nerds are going to be really happy with these.

According to an article from Deadline Hollywood and other announcements around the Internet, it looks like in the wake of Mike Richards’ departure from both Jeopardy! and Wheel, a cavalcade of new changes are coming to the show’s 39th season.

Some of the biggest news include the news of a new Tournament happening this season, although the format and structure of the tournament is yet to be see.

In terms of non-controversial personnel, both Pat Sajak and Vanna White have re-upped their contracts to front the popular word game through the 2023-2024 season. In addition, announcer Jim Thornton will have more screen-time, mirroring the change Richards made to bring Price is Right’s announcer back on camera in a prominent television-ready podium while he was EP of the CBS daytime show. Sajak’s daughter Maggie will also have increased visibility within the show’s universe as the production’s Social Media Correspondent.

In terms of presentation changes, many hardcore Wheel of Fortune fans will be intrigued with a variety of small changes the show will be making this season. The most noticeable change will be the official retiring of the Free Play wedge, replaced with a yellow $850 wedge. This marks the first time an $850 wedge has been on the wheel since 1979. Solving all three Triple Toss-Up puzzles will bank a $4,000 bonus, meaning a clean sweep nets a $10,000 payday for a skilled player. Pat will no longer be spinning the wheel for the Final Spin; instead, the player in control of the wheel when the bells ring will make one final spin.

The set has been refreshed as well—the video wall has been removed and replaced with the 3D Logo introduced in Celebrity Wheel of Fortune, except colored to match the set and the syndicated logo. And perhaps most exciting to Wheel fans, and to fulfill one of the things I requested many many years ago: they’re reorchestrating Merv Griffin’s classic Changing Keys theme. Overall, it’s not a lot of groundbreaking changes, but it feels like there’s a lot of small quality-of-life things to make show feel like a fresher, newer show, and that’s always appreciated.

The newest season of Wheel of Fortune starts September 13. Check your local listings.