Celebrity Wheel of Fortune has been ordered straight to series by the Disney-owned network. In the updated version, which aired in primetime on January 7th, 2021. Pat Sajak and Vanna White will reprise their roles as hosts of the show, which features celebrity participants competing for a $1 million cash prize that will be donated to charity.
The new Wheel will be produced by Sony Pictures Television, much as the syndicated edition. The celebrity perspective will be executive produced by Mike Richards, whose credits include Jeopardy and Wheel.
Celebrity Wheel of Fortune debuts at a time when ABC has seen success with other star-studded unscripted spinoffs. Jimmy Kimmel hosts a celebrity version of Who’s desire to Be a Millionaire, as well as Celebrity Family Feud and, of course, the long-running format Dancing With the Celebrities.
The storyline of “Celebrity Wheel Of Fortune” differs from typical game shows in that celebrity participants spin the famous wheel and solve word puzzles for a chance to win up to one million dollars. Every award won by celebrities will be donated to a charity of their choice.
Let’s start with a key point: there’s no motivation to ever spin on the daily version, which is made much worse in primetime by providing over $50,000 in prizes for winning, despite the Wheel’s average worth being approximately $750. They don’t want people spinning the Wheel of Fortune on a show named Wheel of Fortune.
So, if we’re having the same problems with the game during primetime, why are we so upbeat about it? Because this time, the game was not the main emphasis.
The program did a fantastic job casting a lively mix of eager, humorous, and rowdy celebrities that challenged Pat Sajak and Vanna White to not be on auto-pilot like they are every weekday evening. Simplifying the game was also beneficial.
Let’s face it: few people outside of the Wheel of Fortune know how it works. Nobody comprehends the million-dollar wedge… The show’s competitors are still baffled by Free Play, and Express is an unnecessary complexity… Since I’m thinking the great majority of people are unaware, the Wild Card allows you to skip the spin and call a letter on the same position you’re on.
Celebrity Wheel reduced the show to its bare essentials, with the million-dollar wedge serving as the sole complexity.
While we have a wish list of things we’d want to see on Wheel of Fortune, we recognize that the possibilities of them upgrading things based on our whim or the popularity of the very unique primetime edition are little to none. So, what could the daily edition of Wheel of Fortune learn from the primetime version’s success?
The first, and maybe most significant, is that Wheel has to be more inventive and playful with its casting. This is not meant as a slight towards many of the candidates, since many of you are amazing and amusing.
However, if you follow the program on a regular basis, you’ll see that the majority of the participants are cardboard cutouts of each other. Pat and Vanna’s dynamic personalities drove them to adapt and survive, and they had to work for it this time. Getting more excitement and energy from the participants would dramatically improve the show’s environment.
Second, the gimmicks need to be simplified and updated. On the Wheel, we’re not against gimmicks; we’re against lousy and uninteresting gimmicks. Except for the million-dollar wedge, nothing else in the Mystery Round wedges is really intriguing. They’ve all turned into a waste of time.
The spectacle features a massive neon-lit carnival wheel. It makes no sense not to take advantage of it. It’s fairly feasible to come up with some new notions and modifications that allow for the same number of puzzles as before while without overcomplicating or burdening the format.
Finally, and this applies to all versions, it’s time to make some minor changes to the dollar amounts on the wheel. We’re not suggesting that you turn anything into thousands of dollars, but the highest values are OK.
However, having a slot or two between $1,000 and $2,000 would be beneficial in terms of game play. The game is unplayable during the day since the stakes are so low, and the Prize Puzzle almost ensures a winner.
The primetime version is much worse, because what’s the point of playing when the average is roughly $750 and you can win a $20,000 bonus by merely finishing a puzzle? It would go a long way to add some surprises and update the money just a little.
@celebritywof WOW!! The first half has belonged to @jason_mraz. Not only has he racked up over $60K for his charity, he is playing for a million dollars in the bonus round. Good luck to him. #CelebrityWheelOfFortune
— Jeff Veloso (@jveloso100) November 15, 2021
We didn’t anticipate to win a lot of money on Celebrity Wheel of Fortune because we’re not huge fans of the regular Wheel. Every week, we were entertained and looking forward to more. But we’ve got some viewers review.
Jason Mraz is really good at Wheel of Fortune #CelebrityWheelOfFortune
— Tori O’Leary (@danniebear87) November 15, 2021
We’re hoping for more on ABC (maybe a collaboration with Celebrity Jeopardy!?) We’re hoping that the series’ great reception and performance will help bring most of these primetime themes to daytime, where they badly use a boost.
Stay tuned to TheShahab for latest updates.