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Series: The Big Spin
Who's next? Is it you, is it me, feeling luck-ay?

From the California Lottery, it's the biggest-money game show on Earth!

Think million-dollar top prizes on TV began with Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Think again. Ever since its start in the 1980s, this California Lottery game show has had a top prize at or above the $1 million mark. How was it won? Players from all over the state who won on scratchers went up to a giant wheel with a ping-pong ball inside.

Other games included the 10-player Elimination Round to pick out a wheel-spinner from a pool of 10 people, and the Fantasy 5 Dream Machine, which is comparable to Plinko.


Game Show Tropes in use:

  • Big Win Sirens: Right from The Price Is Right (or Mark Goodson's filing cabinet)
  • Bonus Round: The Big Wheel itself.
  • Bonus Space: The DOUBLE and TRIPLE spokes.
  • Consolation Prize: In later years, no player won less than $1,500 (later $1,750).
  • Game Show Appearance: Mama's Family used a close Expy titled "The Big Wheel".
  • Personnel:
    • The Announcer: Charlie O'Donnell for the first few months, then Rich Hardaway through 1998. Jackie Taylor announced (and filled-in for Maquiel in 2001) from 1999-2003, followed by Randy West from 2004 onward.
    • Game Show Host: Chuck Woolery, Geoff Edwards, Larry Anderson, Jack Gallagher, and Pat Finn.
    • Lovely Assistant: From 1993 onward, this role was filled by Maquiel Suarez (Maquiel Alejo from 1997 onward); she also served as translator for Spanish-speaking contestants.
    • Studio Audience
  • Product Placement: This was usually the place where the California Lottery advertised new games.


This show provides examples of:

  • Grand Finale: The January 10, 2009 show a bit of history of the show was given out, Pat and Maquiel thanked all the people on staff, and then the set doors closed on the Big Wheel for the last time.
  • Long Runner: Ran for 24 years before the California Lottery replaced it with Make Me A Millionaire, which ended on July 3, 2010 due to poor ratings.
  • Luck-Based Mission: It's a lottery game, so skill isn't allowed.
  • Minigame Game: Pretty much, yeah. There was even a version of Monopoly!
  • Opening Narration: Several.
    • First Intro: "It's the California Lottery's Big Spin! Tonight, California Lottery grand prize finalists from all over the state are here for their dream of a lifetime, the opportunity to spin for up to $2,000,000/$3,000,000! And now, please welcome our host, Chuck Woolery/Geoff Edwards!"
    • Jackpot Wheel note : "It's the California Lottery Big Spin! Tonight, The California Lottery grand prize finalists from all over the state are here for their dream of a lifetime, the chance to spin and win this week's grand prize! And now, please welcome our host, Geoff Edwards!"
    • ($2M) Double Wheel note : "It's time for The Big Spin! Tonight, lucky lottery players from all over California, are here to see just how far their luck will take them. Maybe all the way to spinning television's hottest wheel! And here to get the good times rolling is the host (and hostess) of The Big Spin, Geoff Edwards (and Maiquel Suarez)!"
    • Larry Anderson: "Welcome to The Big Spin, where winners from all over California are here to see just how far their luck will take them! Now, please welcome the hosts of The Big Spin, Larry Anderson and Maiquel Suarez(/Alejo)!"
    • Jack Gallagher: "Welcome to The Big Spin, where winners from all over California will see just how far their luck will take them! Now, please welcome the hosts of our show, Jack Gallagher and Maiquel Alejo!"
      • "California, are you feeling lucky? It's the only show in America that can make you an instant $2,000,000 winner! It's time for 'The Big Spin''! And now, the hosts of our show, Jack Gallagher and Maiquel Alejo!"
    • Big Spin 2000: "Get ready, spinners! It's the biggest game show jackpot in 2,000 years! It's Big Spin 2000! And here to give away all that money, Maquiel Alejo and Pat Finn!"
    • Weekly Payday Raceway/Twice As Grand Prix: "The California Lottery! We make dreams come true! Take a ride of a lifetime to the luckiest place on Earth! Join the celebration and feel the excitement! Welcome to the biggest-money game show on the planet! It's The Big Spin! And here to give away all that money, Maquiel Alejo and Pat Finn!"
    • Aces High: "From the California Lottery, it's the biggest money game show on Earth! The Big Spin! Here are your hosts, Pat Finn and Maquiel Alejo!"
  • Trope2000/New Season, New Name: When Pat Finn became host in 1999, the show was temporarily renamed Big Spin 2000 to get ready to celebrate the new century. It changed back sometime during Q4 2000.
  • Trans Atlantic Equivalent: The French Lottery's Millionnaire, which used the Woolery format and didn't add any other games at all. At one point, there was live music and a bar on-set. Cancelled in 2009, having been called "more talk show than game show"; YMMV as to whether that's a bad thing.
    • And now there's Ireland's Money Spinners, which also uses the Woolery format and is filmed in historic areas around Ireland.


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alternative title(s): The Big Spin
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