Follow TV Tropes

Following

History Series / WheelOfFortune

Go To



** Occurred for three weeks of episodes in Season 37 due to

to:

** Occurred for three weeks of episodes in Season 37 due to Sajak's surgery; Vanna hosted in his place.


!!GameShowTropes in use:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Game Show Tropes]]

to:

!!GameShowTropes !!The category for this round is "Tropes" (ding ding ding ding):

[[folder:Tropes A-M]]
* AbsenteeActor:
** While the show has had video game adaptations spanning every generation since the NES, Sajak has appeared
in use:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Game Show Tropes]]
only one version, the 2010 Wii version published by THQ (and ported to the [=PS3=] and XBOX 360 two years later); most games have Vanna herself as the host. Inverted with the 2007 pinball game, which features the voice of Pat but not Vanna (who still appears on the cabinet art).
** Occurred for three weeks of episodes in Season 37 due to
* AddedAlliterativeAppeal: The "Same Letter" category, in which every word in the puzzle begins with the same letter. Since 2014, contestants receive a $1,000 bonus for calling the "Same Letter" in question. For reasons unknown, the category took a brief hiatus when the show filmed six weeks of episodes in Las Vegas in 2013, but that didn't stop them from using several puzzles that would normally fit the category, such as the infamous CORNER CURIO CABINET puzzle, which was categorized as "Thing".



** For the Mystery Wedges, [[LuckBasedMission uncovering one]] means the contestant either wins a $10,000 cash prize or loses everything to a Bankrupt.

to:

** For the Mystery Wedges, [[LuckBasedMission uncovering one]] means the contestant either wins a $10,000 cash prize or loses everything to a Bankrupt. During the wedges' first round of existence, the announcer would even say "The Mystery Round: It's all or nothing."



* AlohaHawaii: Often invoked with the many trips to Hawaii the show has awarded, but they have also taped outdoors in front of the Waikoloa Village on four separate occasions.
* AlwaysSecondBest: Compared to sister show ''Jeopardy!'', ''Wheel'' is often treated this way, with the latter show often being viewed as inferior due to its different type of gameplay.
** Through 1986, both syndicated shows had 195 episodes per season. Since then, ''Jeopardy!'' now has 230 episodes per season while ''Wheel'' has stayed at 195. As a result, the latter has 13 weeks of reruns between seasons while the former only has 6.
** Various "Greatest Game Shows of All Time" lists almost-always place ''Wheel'' a small number of spots below ''Jeopardy!''
** The Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show has been won by ''Jeopardy!'' several times. The one time ''Wheel'' won it was in a tie with its sister show, likely to tie into both Pat Sajak and Alex Trebek receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award that year. In recent years, ''Wheel'' is not even nominated for the award at all.
** When stations have to reschedule at least one of the two game shows due to a pre-emption, ''Jeopardy!'' is usually given priority because of its continuity by having returning champions, (something ''Wheel'' abandoned several years ago) or because of slightly higher ratings in recent years. If ''Jeopardy!'s'' time slot is scheduled to be pre-empted, some stations will actually move it to air in ''Wheel's'' unaffected time slot, with the latter airing late at night or not at all.
** When ''Jeopardy!'' champion James Holzhauer became a media sensation for his several record-breaking scores, the show's ratings reached new highs not seen since Ken Jennings' run. This caused many affiliates to heavily promote the show, while ''Wheel'' received little to no promotion despite being its sister program. Partially as a result, ''Wheel's'' ratings saw no significant increase during Holzhauer's run.
** If an online poll asks "''Wheel of Fortune'' or ''Jeopardy!''?", expect the latter to win by a landslide, along with comments such as, "How could anyone like ''Wheel'' better than ''Jeopardy!''?"
* AndStarring: Until the daytime show moved back to NBC on January 14, 1991, TheAnnouncer introduced only Chuck/Pat/Rolf/Bob, who in turn would introduce Susan/[guest hostess]/Vanna. The nighttime show changed the opening spiel to introduce Pat and Vanna together on September 4, 1989.
* AnimatedCreditsOpening: The show has used these on and off since 1992:
** Seasons 10-11: Anthropomorphic Wheel wedges walking down a staircase.
** Season 12: Hand-drawn versions of Pat and Vanna "riding" the Wheel amid graphics related to the show; this animation ended with them parachuting.
** Seasons 14-17: CGI of the Sony Pictures Studio, with the camera "zooming in" through the studio doors.
** Season 23: One of three intros showing people racing to their TV sets to watch the show: one shows a man ostensibly getting ready for a date, one shows a woman racing home from work, and one shows a suburban African-American family finishing dinner quickly then running to the couch. The last one has also been used for "America's Game" weeks in Seasons 31 and 32.
** Season 28: Each intro is tied in to the week's theme, using the Pat and Vanna avatars from the 2010 THQ UsefulNotes/{{Wii}} game. Some of these showed up again in later seasons, most often as bumpers but occasionally as openings, most notably the one for Halloween week, which has been re-used most years since.
* TheAnnouncer:
** Mike Lawrence did the first pilot and Charlie O'Donnell the other two. For the show proper, Charlie O'Donnell (1975-80), Jack Clark (1980-88), M. G. Kelly (1988-89), O'Donnell again (1989-2010), and Jim Thornton (2011-). Don Morrow filled in for one week in 1980, O'Donnell returned a few times in the 1980s when Clark was unavailable; and Johnny Gilbert filled in for both Clark and O'Donnell at various points. Don Pardo did the two weeks of 1988 nighttime episodes taped at Radio City Music Hall. Gilbert, John Cramer, Joe Cipriano, Rich Fields, Lora Cain, and Thornton all filled in after Charlie's death.
** John Deeks was the most prominent announcer of the Australian version.
* AprilFoolsDay:
** 1991: Vanna appeared to be pregnant in the final segment...until she pulled a cushion out from her dress.
** 1996: APRIL FOOL'S DAY was the Round 1 puzzle.
** 1997: Pat hosted that day's ''Jeopardy!'' while Alex hosted ''Wheel''. Pat and Vanna also played ''Wheel'' that day with Pat's wife, Lesly, at the puzzle board. The entire flip-flop was lampshaded heavily by the puzzles, especially the Speed-Up and Bonus Round puzzles (IT'S NOT AS EASY AS IT LOOKS and TRADING PLACES, respectively).
** 2008: Pat "revealed" that [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYvYtft5EmQ he was actually bald.]] Vanna's reaction was priceless. The moment is often replayed or mentioned on subsequent April 1 episodes. [[spoiler:It was a real wig on a bald wig.]]
** 2010: The show did ten things that were "out of the ordinary" and asked home viewers to spot them. All ten were revealed on the next show. Examples included the full-size Bankrupt wedges saying "Bankrut" [[note]](Gratuitous Polish)[[/note]], Charlie taking Vanna's place for a couple shots, Pat wearing a barely-visible stud earring for a whole round, [[CallBack footage of a Final Spin from a 1995 episode over the current one]], etc. There were also two seconds of rodeo footage in the opening montage of tropical shots, although this was never pointed out.
** 2011: All the puzzles (except the bonus round) had some form of the word "fool". Amazingly, the contestants never caught on.
** 2016: Jim reads a promo for "Live like a Pilgrim Week" after the first round. This episode re-aired in 2017 due to April 1 falling on a Saturday that year. On the same day's ''Jeopardy!'', the Bankrupt sound effect was used when a contestant gave an incorrect response to Final Jeopardy!.
** 2019: The weekend prior, Pat tweets an announcement of a "major prank" and tells viewers to watch the show to spot it. At the end of the show, Pat announces that there [[TheUnReveal was no prank]], therefore fooling the viewers who spent the episode looking for one.
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: Sometimes invoked with the Triple Toss-Ups, which often have a common theme to the answer. Usually the third one will be a "lighter" variant on the theme than the other two, such as THE FRENCH RIVIERA, THE ITALIAN ALPS, and NEW JERSEY TURNPIKE, or MEMBER OF CONGRESS, STATE SENATOR, and DOGCATCHER.
* TheArtifact:
** Since the board changed from trilons to video screens in February 1997, Vanna isn't really needed on the show anymore, but since she's been so inextricably associated with the show for so long she stays.
** They also don't need the green circle in the middle of the Wheel to do ChromaKey shots of the host and hostess anymore (high-tech in 1974, looks downright silly in the 21st century), but it remains because of familiarity.
** Similarly, the "house minimum" for a round solve with anything less and you get a chunk of cash (originally $200, then $500, now $1,000) by default. This was initially done so the contestant would at least be able to buy ''something'' during the shopping rounds (although even that backfired at least once). Now, it's just there to make the contestant feel better for not having an opportunity to get more.
** The Speed-Up round, thanks to both the electronic puzzle board and editing that dates back to 1997[[note]](Games could still end "normally" until October 1, 1999 at the earliest)[[/note]]. This also applies for road shows. For familiarity, and possibly for the chance of Pat spinning $5,000, it is kept. In 2001 the rules were changed so that ''all'' games end this way. On the other hand, always ending in a Speed-Up offers a greater chance for all three contestants to play, and many games have been decided on a Speed-Up even in cases where Pat didn't hit $5,000.
* AscendedMeme: As mentioned under ComplacentGamingSyndrome, RSTLNE is an example of this. Most contestants would pick those letters in that exact order, and they are now given to the contestants in that order.
* BigEater: If there's local cuisine to be eaten during a road show, Pat and Vanna will indulge. This was even referenced in the ceremonial 4,000th nighttime episode, which showed footage of Pat and Vanna eating while "[[Music/WeirdAlYankovic Eat It]]" played.
* BigWhat: A contestant was going for the Million Dollars, and only had [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X54LtyzVNdA four letters, plus a wildcard]], and only four showed up. She gave the answer T[[spoiler:OU]]G[[spoiler:H]] [[spoiler:WO]]R[[spoiler:KOU]]T in ''two seconds''.
--> ''([[{{Beat}} Vanna is nodding in the background, about to clap]])''\\
'''Pat''': ''WHAT?!''
* BittersweetEnding:
** Any time a contestant wins the game despite losing a lot of money and/or a big prize in a previous round (either by not solving the puzzle, or losing it to Bankrupt).
** Any time a contestant carries the Million Dollar Wedge to the Bonus Round, solves the bonus puzzle, and is revealed to have spun the envelope right next to the $1 million.
** Any time a contestant loses the Million Dollar Wedge during the main game, then wins the $100,000 in the Bonus Round. This has happened twice so far - on November 17, 2008 and April 30, 2012.
** A contestant that solves a NintendoHard Bonus Round puzzle with very few letters, only to win the minimum prize or a car of lesser value.
** Subverted on June 11, 2013. A contestant misses out on both the car and Mystery Prize in Round 2, but makes it to the Bonus Round and wins the $100,000.
** A subversion took place on the Season 13 premiere. A contestant loses the $10,000 Wedge to Bankrupt but makes it to the Bonus Round, where he wins the $25,000.



* {{Bowdlerise}}: When ''Wheel'' taped two weeks of episodes in New York City for November 1988 sweeps, "New York, New York" from Leonard Bernstein's ''Theatre/OnTheTown'' opened each episode instead of the show's theme. The line "It's a hell of a town" was replaced by "It's a wonderful town."
* BreadEggsBreadedEggs:
** For years, they'd had weeks where college students would play, and weeks where celebrities would play. They combined the ideas in 1992 for a Soap Opera College Challenge, which had a college student playing against two soap stars.
** One episode had a contestant who could imitate Forrest Gump and another who could imitate [[WesternAnimation/WileECoyoteAndTheRoadrunner the Road Runner]]. Pat then asked the former to "do Forrest Gump as the Road Runner", which he did.
** From 2007-2012, the active categories included Fictional Character, Family, and Fictional Family.
** A January 2020 episode had a contestant named Divinefavor. When inquired about the name, he explained that his mother wanted to name him Divine while his father wanted to name him Favor, so the two compromised.
* BrickJoke:
** November or December 1987 (nighttime): Pat said at the beginning of the show that he forgot to put a belt on because he was talking to Bob Murphy, then-president of Merv Griffin Enterprises. Come the end of the show, he deliberately drops his pants. Jack Clark was laughing his way through the fee plugs.
** November 2003: Vanna said that she wished Thanksgiving were at a different time of year, perhaps in March. Come March 2004, Pat references that discussion and presents Vanna with a turkey dinner.
* ButtMonkey: Some of Pat's comments to both Charlie and Jim have portrayed them as this.
-->'''Pat''': [Jim] is sitting in a little 2-foot-by-3-foot cubicle alone, but he's having a ball.
* TheCameo: Several episodes have had celebrities walk on after a puzzle themed toward them. Beyond these, other notable cameos include:
** In September 1977, Susan Stafford injured her back on a ''Circus of the Stars'' stunt gone wrong. Arte Johnson turned the letters in her place, also doing this to promote his new game show ''Knockout''.
** The New York episodes in November 1988 had several celebrity cameos, including Dick Cavett and Debbie Reynolds.
** On a 1997 episode, Rosie O'Donnell made a cameo after her name was the answer. She then helped Vanna touch letters in the next round.
** In September 2002, Donny Osmond made a cameo to promote the debut of the ''Series/{{Pyramid}}'' revival (also a Sony property).
** In December 2008, Betty White made a cameo after the puzzle THE GOLDEN GIRLS.
* CatchPhrase:
** "I'd like to buy a vowel."
** "I'd like to solve the puzzle." In Pat's early years, he'd often follow this with "For [amount], solve this [category]."
** "'Person'/'People' does not always mean 'proper name(s)'." was a catch phrase until they finally made Proper Name its own category in 1996.
** In the shopping era, "...once you buy a prize, it's yours to keep." This was replaced with "We're playing for cash.", which Pat continued to say into March or April 1997.
** In the first seasons with the Jackpot round, Pat would sometimes introduce it with "[[MadLibsCatchPhrase Put down that ____, Charlie]], it's time for our Jackpot round!" One time, the object was a [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar Viagra espresso]].
** "Did you need any more time?" Pat when someone solves the Bonus Round puzzle instantly or the Speed-Up with very few letters showing.
** "Say everything, don't add anything" for when a contestant solves a Crossword Clue.
* CatchphraseSpoutingDuo:
-->'''Pat:''' [[ThatsAllFolks We'll see you next time!]]\\
'''Vanna:''' [[EveryEpisodeEnding Bye bye!]]



* ComplacentGamingSyndrome:[[invoked]]

to:

* ComplacentGamingSyndrome:[[invoked]]ChromaKey: The center of the Wheel, most notably for the closing shot of the host and hostess from 1974-78 and 1980-87. It saw double-duty from 1974-75 in the opening.
* ClipShow: The ceremonial 3,000th and 4,000th syndicated episodes.
* ClumsyCopyrightCensorship: Almost every episode in Season 30 began with a retro clip. In [[ZigZaggedTrope nearly all cases]], the older music beds (prize cues, Toss-Up bed, puzzle-solve cue, theme song) were dubbed over with their modern counterparts. This led to particularly jarring dubs, such as the current Toss-Up solve cue on a clip obviously from the late 1980s. The pre-1983 ThemeTune "Big Wheels" remained untouched, as did all but one instance of the 1994-97 solve cue. (They showed a clip from 1994 twice: the first airing had the original cue, but the second airing had the current cue dubbed in.)
** Perhaps the most egregious was a 1985-86 clip of Jack Clark describing a prize, in which they scrubbed out nearly ''all'' of the music around Jack's voice (which, for the record, was Merv's "Frisco Disco").
** They also showed retro clips in Season 25, but in those cases the music was always left intact.
** All of the classic themes were left intact during "Wheel 6000" week in 2014, which featured different retrospectives on shows 1,000-4,000, each one being backed the appropriate theme of the era.
** The show's music cues were changed in January 2017, halfway through Season 34. However, the week of episodes airing April 3-7, 2017 was taped before this change, so the new cues had to be spliced in during post-production. This resulted in several sloppy sound edits, and even a couple cases where the old cues were left completely untouched. Reruns of Season 33 and early Season 34 episodes, were likewise changed after this point, with the original music often being highly audible underneath the new music.
** In November 2018, Game Show Network aired a special showcasing several memorable moments over the years. Almost every past music cue was dubbed over with its 2000's equivalent. While there were a few exceptions, they were very inconsistent, such as footage from a 1989 episode leaving the original solve cue intact for one puzzle, then overdubbing it on another puzzle from the same episode.
* ColourCodedForYourConvenience: Like so many other game shows [[StealthPun before and after]] it, ''Wheel'' separates the contestants into red, yellow, and blue motifs. Chuck Woolery would sometimes refer to Player 2 as "Mellow Yellow". For a time in 1975, the displays themselves also used these colors before going to white (which had also been used in the 1974 pilots). From 1981-97, colored backdrops appeared behind the contestants.
* ComplacentGamingSyndrome:[[invoked]] Frequently invoked by contestants:



* CreditsGag: For a few seasons beginning in late 2000s, full credit rolls put a gag title over Pat's name (e.g., "Pumpkin Picker" on a Halloween Week episode).
* CrosswordPuzzle: The "Crossword Round" introduced in Season 34 features interlocking words (usually four, but on rare occasion, three or five) which all have a common theme.
* ADayInTheLimelight:
** Vanna has spun the Wheel several times, including a January 1984 nighttime episode. She also played a round for charity in November 1989 while Pat turned the letters.
** Pat had laryngitis during a College Week taping session in San Francisco (aired November 18-22, 1996). On Thursday, he decided to rest his voice, so he had Vanna host the bonus round while he turned the letters.
** April Fool's Day 1997, as mentioned above.
** In early 2011, the show held a contest allowing home viewers to be "Vanna for a Day": viewers could submit video auditions, which were then voted on through the show's website. The winner, Katie Cantrell, took Vanna's place for Rounds 2 and 3 on March 24, which was lampshaded by the Round 3 puzzle IT'S HARDER THAN IT LOOKS.
** As Pat has appeared in only one iteration of the ''Wheel'' video games, nearly all of them have handed hosting duties to Vanna, who will call out letter frequencies, dollar amounts, the RulesSpiel, and general player encouragement.
** Vanna finally got to host for real during three weeks in Season 37. The first two, being Disney tie-ins, had Mickey and Minnie Mouse in her usual role, while the third had Pat's daughter Maggie instead.
* DeadpanSnarker: Pat is fond of snarking both [[SelfDeprecation at himself]] and at contestants who have caught the IdiotBall, or ones who are really good at playing the game. (Prime example: claiming that a bonus puzzle will be "very difficult" when the contestant picks letters that leave it mostly or completely filled in.)
* DelayedReaction:
** Sometimes contestants are looking at the board instead of the Wheel when spinning, and may not realize immediately that they've landed on something noteworthy (such as the top dollar, a prize wedge... or a Bankrupt).
** An unusual example came with contestant Emil, who solved the notorious bonus puzzle NEW BABY BUGGY with only the N and E revealed. It took about three or four seconds for the board to light up with the correct answer, likely because the techs were not expecting him to solve it.
* DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment:
** On several occasions, they've gone to Speed-Up with only one or two consonants left. This was even more egregious in the 1980s and 1990s, when the Final Spin was not mandatory and finishing without one would have taken considerably less time.
** FIREPLACE MANTEL, STAR CONSTELLATION, PURPLE LILACS, SPOTTED LEOPARD, and BABY DUCKLINGS have all been used as Toss-Ups. CHURCH HYMN, YOUNG CUB, and EGYPTIAN PHARAOH(S) (''twice!'') have been used as bonus puzzles.
** In recent years, many puzzles under the Fun & Games category have the unnecessary word "PLAYING" added in front.
** Can also apply to gameplay. When a contestant loses their turn and the puzzle is obvious, the next contestant will often spin the Wheel once, call a letter that appears once (usually the top-leftmost letter that has yet to be revealed), and solve. Hitting any dollar amount other than the top one will result in their three-digit score being raised to the house minimum of $1,000. However, many players fail to realize that they could've won that $1,000 anyway by simply solving with $0, making their spin and letter call redundant in addition to a pointless risk of spinning a penalty wedge.
*** Averted if the contestant spins with the intention of landing on the top-dollar value, any prize or tag, the Wild Card, or the Million-Dollar Wedge (this includes the Mystery Wedge only if neither one has been flipped over).
** Several times, contestants have hit ½ Car tags on occasions where winning the car is impossible (i.e., two players picking up one tag each in Round 3, especially if the first of the two also loses it to a Bankrupt).
*** It can also go the other way: a few contestants have managed to accumulate both ½ Car tags in separate rounds, then hit a ''third'' tag as well.
* DifferentInEveryEpisode: Vanna's dress.
* DoItYourselfThemeTune: From 1983 to 2000, the show used Merv Griffin's own "Changing Keys". Merv also composed a lot of the music beds used in the 80s and early 90s.



* DoubleUnlock:
** The Million-Dollar Wedge. To win the Million, the contestant has to:
### Land on the wedge, which is 1/3 the width of normal wedges and surrounded by 1/3-size Bankrupts.
### Call a letter that's in the puzzle.
### Solve that round's puzzle without first hitting a Bankrupt.
### Win the game without hitting Bankrupt.
### Land on the $1,000,000 envelope (which replaces the normal top prize of $100,000) in the Bonus Round.
### Solve the bonus puzzle.
*** Despite the large number of steps needed and the sheer odds against it, the $1,000,000 was won just a month after its introduction by a contestant who hit it on her first spin!
** The ½ Car tags. The contestant has to pick two of them up with correct letters, and solve the round(s) in which he or she claims them without losing them to Bankrupt at any point.
* DownerEnding:
** Vanna's first official episode (December 13, 1982) had some stellar gameplay: no Bankrupts, Lose A Turns, or wrong letters. However, the winner was unable to solve the bonus puzzle GEORGE BERNARD SHAW, remaining stumped on the last word until about three seconds after the buzzer.
** Whenever a contestant solves or figures out the BonusRound puzzle just after time runs out. Even more of a downer when it results in a $100,000 or $1,000,000 loss.
** Season 3 (1985-86, nighttime): According to multiple recollections, a contestant with a $60,000+ bank incorrectly solves the puzzle STAR LIGHT STAR BRIGHT FIRST STAR I SEE TONIGHT by leaving out the seventh word.
** December 5, 1985 (nighttime): A contestant misses out on winning $62,400 by guessing an "S" in the puzzle THE THRI[[spoiler:LL]] OF [[spoiler:V]]I[[spoiler:C]]TORY [[{{Irony}} AND THE AGONY OF DEFEAT]]. She then misses out on another $10,000 in the Speed-Up round.
** January/February 1989 (nighttime): A contestant has the Bonus Round puzzle MILAN ITALY the first word of which is pronounced "mi-LAHN" partially revealed. She mispronounces it as "MILL-in", then "MY-lun"[[note]]which is the pronunciation of Milan, Indiana and Milan, Michigan[[/note]], and her expression after the answer is revealed amounts to "But that's what I said!" Pat took her side and consulted with the judge during the commercial break. Unfortunately, they decided not to accept either pronunciation.
** February 18, 2005: A contestant sets a new one-round record of $54,000 in the Speed-Up and wins $60,150 overall, but loses $100,000 in the Bonus Round.
** September 10, 2007: A $100,000 loss on Season 25's premiere.
** Anyone who sweeps the game but loses the Bonus Round. On November 26, 2008, a contestant did this and lost the $100,000.
** February 27, 2009: A $100,000 loss on the 5,000th episode.
** Season 28: Ten consecutive games, ''four'' $100,000 losses. These happened on December 29, 2010; and in January 2011 on the 4th, 7th, and 11th.
*** January 4, 2011: The puzzle solution? A KNOWN FACT. The contestant's repeated guess? A'''N''' '''UN'''KNOWN FACT.
*** Incidentally, a $100,000 loss occurred exactly two years before December 29, 2010, and another $100,000 would be lost exactly one year after January 4, 2011.
** September 19-21, 2011: The first two Bonus Rounds of Season 29 were solved just after the buzzer. The third had a $100,000 loss.
** The week of November 5, 2012: Four Bonus Round wins, one of which had a contestant fill in their bonus puzzle entirely, and another who had only one letter missing from it. But on Friday, a team lost $100,000.
** December 21, 2012: Leanne wins $69,300 in the main game, including a $10,000 Mystery Prize and $36,000 in the Speed-Up, setting a new record for the highest pre-Bonus Round total. However, she loses $30,000 on a very tough BonusRound answer of HIT THE BUZZER.
** December 26, 2014: Matt absolutely blows his opponents out of the water, sweeping the game and cleaning out the show to the tune of ''[[CurbStompBattle $91,892]]'' (far surpassing the previous record for pre-Bonus Round total above), but he loses $32,000 in the bonus round.
** April 2, 2015: Contestant Whitney has $41,294 before the Bonus Round but [[spoiler:becomes the first contestant ever to lose the $1,000,000 when she was unable to solve WITHOUT A DOUBT with only the Ts and A showing.]] Even worse, [[spoiler:she would have set a new record had she solved]].
** December 23, 2015: A game that sees seven rounds of game play and all three contestants winning $10,000+ ends with a $100,000 loss.
** November 15, 2017: A pair of contestants are unable to solve the Bonus Round puzzle BAKED ZUCCHINI... [[spoiler:and become the first team to lose $1,000,000]].
** December 21, 2017: [[spoiler:Another $1,000,000 loss.]] This after the contestant won $32,100, including the ½ Car.
** January 1, 2018: The first show of 2018 ends with a $100,000 loss. To make matters worse, the final episode of that week also has a contestant losing $100,000.
** January 11, 2019: A contestant figures out the Bonus Round puzzle FLIPPING THROUGH PAGES just after the buzzer... [[spoiler:and loses the $1,000,000. As of this episode, the $1,000,000 has been lost more than it has been won]]. Even worse, ''another'' $1,000,000 loss happened on the 16th.
* DramaticTimpani: Used in the current BonusRound until 1989 on nighttime, and until 1991 on daytime. Also used for some road show intros in the 1990s and at the end of the credits from 1992-96.
* DynamicDifficulty: Many fans have noticed that the difficulty of puzzles sometimes gets jacked up after weeks with several wins. This often manifests itself in shorter maingame puzzles with few consonants, and ''especially'' in FakeDifficulty in the BonusRound.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: Oh, boy.
** Pilots
*** The 1973 pilot, ''[[http://www.gameshowgarbage.com/ind128_shoppersbazaar.html Shopper's Bazaar]]''; Lin Bolen thought a shopping element could make the show stand out, but this pilot took the idea a bit too far. The set was made to look like a department store, and the intro featured the three contestants being introduced by browsing through the "store" while the announcer described their prizes, whilst simultaneously playing their first turns each. Among other things, there was a motorized carnival-style Wheel (with a mind of its own at times, as well as Free Vowel and ''$0'' spaces), a rotary telephone to dispense clues (if a contestant landed on the "Your Own Clue" wedge, and only basic things like Person, Place, or Thing), an ugly pull-card puzzle board, a way-too-easy first attempt at a Bonus Round, a way-too-hard to understand scoring system, a rule where the contestant that won a round started the next one, a set that Bolen called "old-fashioned", and instrumental versions of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" and "Spinning Wheel" as the show's main theme and commercial outro cue respectively. [[CreatorBacklash Merv himself would later state that "everything about it was WRONG".]] Once thought to be a MissingEpisode (only about four publicity shots ever turned up in specials and retrospectives, only one of which was in color), the pilot finally surfaced in 2012 on Website/YouTube and quickly began circulating among collectors.
*** A better-received (although not by much) pair of pilots were taped in 1974, with Edd "Kookie" Byrnes as the host. A few differences were seen from these shows and the eventual premiere, including the host generally giving a clue rather than a category (e.g., "the name of something good to eat" for the puzzle SPAGHETTI, rather than the more generic categories that would be used by mid-July 1975), a consistent set of prizes to choose from throughout the episode (as opposed to going to a different platform of prizes in a subsequent round). Although there was still lots of criticism, Lin Bolen put her job on the line and NBC accepted, under the condition that Chuck Woolery was host.
** Daytime show:
*** When the show debuted in 1975, the "special" wedges (Bankrupt, Lose A Turn, Free Spin, and Buy A Vowel) had white outlines on the lettering and white borders, and spaces on the Wheel went as low as $25.
*** There originally was no rule for solving the words to a puzzle in order. After one contestant got credit for transposing the first and third words of TWEEDLEDUM AND TWEEDLEDEE, this rule was added. The only time it doesn't apply these days is when a Crossword Round is in play.
*** Also during the first year, the Speed-Up round (the round so-designated by the "Final Spin") was timed at 60 seconds (or sometimes, 2 minutes), and the contestants could not call vowels. Although not known based on existing episodes that circulate, this led to the possibility of puzzles going unsolved if the time limit expired. In late Summer or early Fall 1975, the time limit was lifted and the "no vowels" rule was modified by allowing contestants to call vowels (at no charge) after 30 seconds. By early 1976, the Speed-Up round rules as we know it came into play.
*** In the earliest days, contestants played puzzles to the last consonant and rarely bought vowels. Lin Bolen, then NBC's vice president of daytime programming, insisted on this so contestants would have more money to shop with she thought that putting more emphasis on shopping would help the show appeal better to the female demographic. Once she was ousted in 1975-76 for poor programming performance and replaced by Earl Greenburg, contestants began playing puzzles at their own pace. Also during the earliest months, each contestant (prior to the show) selected which showcase they wanted to shop first if they won the first round, with the first-round winner's choice told after the round was completed.
*** Even the Bonus Round underwent changes prior to the permanent version being implemented in December 1981. While these prior versions had the same basic rules as the ones that would become most familiar to contestants, the player chose only four consonants (plus the vowel) and did not know the category until ''after'' the chosen letters were revealed (if any). The one major difference with the hour-long and Star Bonus versions, however, was that the puzzle the player faced had everything to do with the prize s/he chose to play for that is, if you picked the Cadillac Eldorado parked onstage, you could be assured of facing a very difficult puzzle (one with few of the common consonants in it), while if you played for just a living room set, the puzzle would be fairly easy to guess with the right pick of letters. The difficulty of the puzzles starting in 1981 would have nothing to do with the prize selected.
*** During the first few years after the Bonus Round became permanent, contestants often played for lower-tier bonus prizes such as children's room furniture, a washer-dryer, a video camera-and-VCR package and a bedroom set (all in 1982-era episodes); there was speculation that the producers wanted to have contestants win at least twice before playing for the more expensive trips, cars and other grand prizes (although even then, cars and such were available during the regular rounds). Once the syndicated version took off - where contestants played for cars about 75% of the time, with expensive jewelry a distant (surprising) second - contestants on the daytime show began playing for the larger-ticket prizes on their first day more often.
** Yet another mannerism that was phased out around 1985 (at least, in the US): contestants almost always used to call their letters out phonetically (for instance, "C as in Chuck"; this is still a common practice among foreign versions), but this supposedly annoyed Merv. The producers prefer that contestants say only the letter to help minimize confusion (except when absolutely necessary, for clarification), but variants on "Can I have a(n)..." or "Is there a(n)..." aren't rare.
** After the daytime show moved to CBS, $50 and $75 were used again, and diamonds were added to these wedges on the next show. The minimum dollar value was increased back to $100 after just two months.
** In its first two seasons of use, the Jackpot wedge was modified '''six times'''.
*** To a lesser extent, the Surprise wedge and $10,000 prize wedge similarly went through redesigns shortly after they were introduced.
** The "Preview Puzzle" only lasted one season before getting replaced by Toss-Ups. For their entire first season of use, there were only two, both valued at $1,000; there was also no SplitScreen during said rounds, meaning that home viewers had no visual indication as to who had rung in. After that point, they gained a split screen, a third one was added, and the values were shifted to $1,000/$2,000/$3,000.
** The $25,000 sign introduced during the Big Month Of Cash and used for the rest of that season had a different design than the one used for the rest of that sign's existence.
** The cash prizes on the Bonus Wheel other than the $100,000 were all $25,000 for the first season it existed. In the next season, values from $30,000 to $50,000 in increments of $5,000 were introduced permanently (they were previously used for a Big Money week in the season of its introduction).
** Countless cash wedges have temporarily used different fonts, such as [[http://wheeloffortunehistory.wikia.com/wiki/File:5Kwide1984.png this $5,000 wedge with a wide font]]. This was much more common early in the show's run.
*** Additionally, mistakes in placement of wedges seemed to be much more common early in the show's run.
** For much of the early seasons, it was not uncommon for the bonus puzzle to be the longest one of the day, or for it to take up all four rows (even if it could reasonably fit on just two). From about Season 6 onward, the puzzle lengths became more balanced.
** On some Season 1 nighttime episodes, the PromotionalConsideration plugs were pre-recorded by the company instead of being read by TheAnnouncer. However, this reverted in the mid-90s.
* EarWorm: Pat often comments on the Speed-Up music as such.
* EasterEgg: Throughout Season 30, Sheldon the ceramic dalmatian was hidden somewhere on-set.
* EnforcedPlug: The Jackpot round was sponsored by various products, which got a plug at the top of the round. After the Jackpot's retirement, the Mystery Round inherited its sponsors. Some companies regularly place $1,000 gift cards on the Wheel as well.
* EpicFail:
** On at least six occasions, contestants have mispronounced a puzzle that was completely filled in, and been ruled incorrect as a result. One such occasion in January 2010 (the answer REGIS PHILBIN & KELLY RIPA) turned this UpToEleven as the contestants had already amassed ''three'' incorrect guesses before the last letter was filled in.
*** On at least two other occasions, contestants who failed to solve their Bonus Round puzzle have mispronounced it even after it was revealed entirely.
** February 18, 2004: A contestant managed to call ''four'' of the six letters which are already given in the Bonus Round. Even worse, one of them, R, was ''already in the puzzle''.
** March 2, 2006: On a Soap Stars week, a celebrity on the red team wastes time in the Speed-Up round saying "I know it!" and doesn't say the answer until after the buzzer. To add salt to the wound, the next team ''ties'' their score and wins the tiebreaker Toss-Up.
** The week of March 17, 2008 was sponsored by QVC, with {{Enforced Plug}}s all over the place. Notably, the Prize wedge was a $5,000 shopping spree for QVC merchandise, and any BonusRound win would have awarded the contestant $10,000 in QVC credit on their birthday. However, this backfired horribly, as nobody won the bonus round that week.
** On the Season 14 premiere, one poor contestant spun only once in the whole game...and hit Lose A Turn. Even worse, she didn't get to ''call a letter'', because the Speed-Up was solved before she got a turn.
*** The same thing happened on February 15, 2019: a team spun only once and landed on Lose A Turn, and did not get to participate in the Speed-Up since it was solved before they got a turn. However, they did solve the $1,000 Toss-Up (and thus got the $2,000 house minimum for team weeks).
** Between April 29 and May 24, 2019, the show set a new record for consecutive bonus round losses, as ''twenty'' episodes in a row (four weeks) managed to end in losses (shattering the previous record of 14). Even worse, this stretch included the 7,000th episode.
* EpisodeCodeNumber:
** The daytime show used strictly sequential numbers for most of its run. After the ChannelHop to CBS in 1989, a new format of "CXXX" (e.g. C001) was used, the "C" standing for "CBS". After the second ChannelHop back to NBC in 1991, the format was changed again to "DTXXX" (e.g. DT001), the "DT" standing for "daytime".
** The nighttime show uses sequential numbers prefixed with "S-" (presumably for "syndicated") to distinguish it from the daytime show. The "S-" prefix remains to this day, despite the daytime show being long gone. Rerun versions of episodes have "RR" after the number (e.g. S-6768RR). Post-production revisions append "Rev" (plus "Rev2", etc. if necessary) to the number.
* EverythingsBetterWithSparkles: The top dollar amount in each round is always on a sparkly wedge (except for the now-retired $1,000 before 1995). The Million-Dollar Wedge is sparkly, as were most iterations of the Jackpot wedge before it went neon. When the show went HD in 2006, sparkly outlines were added to all letters and numbers on the Wheel. The Wild Card is sparkly as well, along with the former Surprise Wedge (the lettering on its second iteration and the background on its third) Free Spin, Double Play, and Star Bonus tokens.



* GameShowAppearance:
** ''Series/TwoTwoSeven'', ''Series/TheATeam'', ''Series/LALaw'', ''Series/GimmeABreak'', and ''Santa Barbara'' all had characters appearing on the show, while ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' and ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' used a fictional representation. Notably, ''LA Law'' used the Goen version, even though the two were still on different networks at that point.
** A 1986 song by Dr. Dave (who sounds remarkably like Cheech Marin), "[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1vr2an65Pc Vanna, Pick Me a Letter]]" (a parody of "The Letter" by the Box Tops), has him on the show during the shopping era.

to:

* GameShowAppearance:
ForegoneConclusion:
** ''Series/TwoTwoSeven'', ''Series/TheATeam'', ''Series/LALaw'', ''Series/GimmeABreak'', and ''Santa Barbara'' all Before $1,000 was added to the Final Spin, having it land on a lower value could guarantee the current leader a trip to the Bonus Round.
** If a contestant has a lot in their bank already and/or is holding something significant like the Million-Dollar Wedge, then it's pretty obvious that they will ''not'' flip over a Mystery wedge. Especially true on October 11, 2013, where a contestant got $11,000 from finding ''eleven'' M's at the wedge's $1,000-per-letter face value, meaning that flipping it over actually
had characters appearing ''less'' of a potential reward than taking the per-letter amount (since the per-letter amount is forfeited if you choose to flip it).[[note]]It turned out that the Bankrupt was on the show, while ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' and ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' used other side, anyway.[[/note]]
* ForeignRemake: ''Pole Chudes'' ("Field of Wonders", an interesting choice taken from Alexey Tolstoi's ''Buratino''...
a fictional representation. Notably, ''LA Law'' used foreign remake of ''Pinocchio'') is very similar, except the Goen version, even though the two were still on different networks at that point.
** A 1986 song by Dr. Dave (who sounds remarkably like Cheech Marin), "[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1vr2an65Pc Vanna, Pick Me
word is an answer to a Letter]]" (a parody of "The Letter" by the question, you can't buy a vowel, there's Black Box Tops), has him on instead of Mystery Wedge (you can either immediately quit the show during with the shopping era.contents or keep playing, it can contain anything from a house to a [[{{Zonk}} cabbage]]), but the most important and memetic part is the fact that most contestants come from pretty obscure and interesting places all over Russia and bring their local crafts and so on along with them to give to the host - they are then placed in the Museum, which is seriously a lot like an ethnography museum at this point, especially considering this remake has run for 25 years and counting.
* FreudianSlip:
** On the first episode after the retirement of shopping, a contestant accidentally asked to buy an owl. Pat instantly quipped that they no longer sell birds on the show.
** On a 1989 episode, a contestant's attempts to figure out the bonus puzzle FANCY THAT, with the H in THAT hidden, accidentally led to her using "twat" in one of her guesses, which was censored by the ''Series/{{Pyramid}}'' cuckoo of all things, and Pat didn't even ''try'' to crack a joke at it.
** Many repeated letter calls over the years seem to be due to a contestant clearly having one letter on their mind but accidentally blurting out another.
* FunnyBackgroundEvent:
** Sometimes in the 1980s, Pat would scramble the letters in the bonus puzzle while announcer Jack Clark was reading the fee plugs, so that once the board was seen again near the end of the credits, it would say something funny (e.g., FRANK SINATRA becoming RANK RATS or NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS becoming NEW GLAND).
** For a while in the mid-2000s, the Jackpot round was introduced with a shot of the contestant area with the Jackpot logo superimposed over it. Sometimes, Pat would do something funny in this shot, such as read a newspaper or "fight" Vanna with a styrofoam sword.
* GameShowHost: Chuck Woolery, Edd Byrnes, Pat Sajak, Rolf Benirschke, Bob Goen, David Sidoni for the American versions. Ernie Sigley, John Burgess, [[Series/SaleOfTheCentury Tony Barber]], Rob Elliott, Steve Oemcke, [[Series/ThePriceIsRight Larry Emdur]], and [[Series/HomeAndAway Tim Campbell]] for the Australian versions. Jorge Fernández for the Spanish version.



* GenkiGuy: Marty Lublin, the traveling host for Wheelmobile contestant auditions. As he's scouting out energetic contestants, he does a lot of yelling and running around onstage.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar:
** A 1982 daytime episode had contestants filling in the puzzle DAVID HASSELHOFF, and there was a point where the H's and E's were not revealed but the A's and S's were, something that Pat made note of. He also playfully chastised a contestant on a 1983 show after solving the puzzle HELL-BENT FOR ELECTION.
** October 1989 (nighttime): The puzzle board reads _AR_EC_E S_IT. The contestant calls an "H".
** December 1994: One of the puzzles is THE NAVY'S [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tailhook_scandal TAILHOOK SCANDAL]].
** The 1994-95 season had one of the infamous "Megaword" puzzles solved as "EROTICISM"; to which afterwards [[DeadpanSnarker Pat]] quipped that "If you can use that Megaword in a sentence '''suitable for the family hour''', we'll throw in an additional $500." Pat then hints that this seemed to be a running theme that particular week, mentioning a previous puzzle pertaining to sex magazines and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking corns and warts]].
** One of the most infamous bloopers in the show's history is a November 1999 episode where a contestant thought that "A GROUP OF PILL-PUSHERS" was the answer to the puzzle.
** Although the show is rated TV-G, Pat has gotten away with a few "damn"s and "hell"s.
** In one oft-cited moment, a contestant mis-solves the puzzle FRANKLY MY DEAR I DON'T GIVE A DAMN by replacing the last word with [[GoshDarnItToHeck DARN]].
** January 7, 2011: First, after a Before & After puzzle of VICTORIA'S SECRET RECIPE, Pat remarked that it involved "two cups of sugar" (a joke he had previously done when the same puzzle was used in 1996). Then, a contestant who lost the bonus round told Pat to "[[ThatCameOutWrong show me something small]]" (in reference to the prize money), but Pat played up the AccidentalInnuendo[[invoked]] and began walking off the set. The contestant then opened up the envelope to find [[DownerEnding $100,000]].
** February 29, 2012: In the Bonus Round, a contestant confidently and without hesitation picked D, C, K, and I for his letters. While this was never confirmed to be intentional, the contestant couldn't help but smirk...[[spoiler:until the only letter he lit up was one I and failed to solve HOMETOWN FAVORITE.]]
** June 6, 2012: Round 1 is I'LL HAVE WHAT SHE'S HAVING (Movie Quote), which comes from a rather family-''un''friendly scene in ''Film/WhenHarryMetSally''. (The puzzle was used again on April 4, 2019.)
** May 13, 2013: While trying to solve the Bonus Round puzzle HALFWAY POINT with __LF___ _O_NT showing, a contestant accidentally lets the word "MILF" slip out among his random guesses of DOLPHIN ("DOLLFIN"?), DIVING, WOLFING, etc.
** Subverted twice in Season 30, literally. Two contestants have exclaimed the word "crap" after solving the Prize Puzzle, and in both cases, it was censored. The first instance was simply muted out, but the second was censored with the "wrong letter" buzzer (see SoundEffectBleep below).
** February 11, 2016: One contestant, after realizing she rang in too early on a Toss-Up, exclaimed an obscenity. Although it was mostly removed from the audio, it could still faintly be heard, plus it was made more obvious by the contestant's lips, Pat turning his head in shock, and the contestant apologizing while she and Pat stifled laughter.
** March 14, 2018: A contestant guesses "RIDING BAREBACK" for RIDING PIGGYBACK. Given that she also guessed "RIDING HORSEBACK", Pat played it off as if she meant "BEARBACK", though "BAREBACK" was displayed on the UsefulNotes/ClosedCaptioning.
** October 4, 2018: A contestant was faced with a Same Name of BRIDAL & COLD SHOWER, from which only the C was missing. Their guess? "BRIDAL & [[ToiletHumour GOLD SHOWER]]."
** One for ''Wheel 2000'': one of its several physical games involved dressing up with four letter-bearing articles of clothing to spell out valid four-letter words as quickly as possible. Thankfully, no contestant was known to have tried to spell something dirty, but it was possible to do so with the letters available.



* GoneHorriblyRight: When the show announced it was adding a $1,000,000 prize in 2008, many game show fans scoffed at the complex LuckBasedMission required to win it. It was won less than ''six weeks'' after its addition.
* GratuitousForeignLanguage: Pat is of Polish descent, and will often speak Polish to contestants who are fluent in the language and/or are of Polish decent as well.
* GuestHost:
** Alex Trebek filled in for both Chuck Woolery and Pat Sajak (having done the latter for one daytime episode in 1985 and the aforementioned April Fool's Day '97 show).
** Summer Bartholomew filled in for Susan in 1977 after she hurt her back, as did Arte Johnson (mentioned above). In 1979, Susan dislocated her shoulder in a car accident, so Summer and Cynthia Washington (ex-wife of San Francisco [=49ers=]' Gene Washington) filled in for her for just over two weeks.
** Summer, Vicki [=McCarty=], and Vanna filled in between Susan's departure and Vanna's first official episode. Susan returned for a daytime Teen Week in June 1986 so Vanna could recover from the death of her then-boyfriend.
** Tricia Gist, then-girlfriend and now-wife of Merv Griffin's son Tony, filled in for two weeks in January 1991 to accommodate for Vanna's wedding, and again two months later due to Vanna having a bad cold.
** Charlie O'Donnell filled in for Jack Clark for a few weeks in 1985 due to Jack having schedule conflicts (which ultimately led to Jack leaving ''The $25,000 Pyramid''). Charlie returned from May-June 1988 due to Jack being stricken with bone cancer, which ended his life on July 21. Until about September, Charlie and Johnny Gilbert took turns filling in on daytime before M.G. Kelly was hired. And of course, when M.G. was let go in February 1989, Charlie came back.
** Don Pardo, whose most recent game show work at that point was ''Series/{{Jackpot}}'' in 1975, served as announcer when the show went to Radio City Music Hall in November 1988.
** Johnny Gilbert also announced two weeks of shows in 1995.
** And after Charlie's death, several guest announcers [[note]](Lora Cain, Joe Cipriano, John Cramer, Rich Fields, Johnny Gilbert, and Jim Thornton)[[/note]] rotated until Jim Thornton was chosen as the permanent replacement.
** A rare example of a guest ''director''. Longtime director Mark Corwin died after directing only two weeks of Season 31. As his death came right before a set of episodes was to be taped on location in Las Vegas, ''Jeopardy!'' director Kevin [=McCarthy=], a friend of Corwin's, filled in for him. Meanwhile, subsequent tapings in Culver City used associate director Bob Cisneros, followed by a two-week batch done by technical director Robert Ennis before Cisneros was promoted to full-time director. Ennis also directed two weeks in Season 32 due to Cisneros recovering from neck surgery at the time of taping, and became the permanent director at the start of Season 33.
** Due to Pat requiring emergency surgery, Vanna hosted three weeks of episodes in Season 37. The first two had costumed Disney characters in Vanna's usual role (they were part of a Disney-sponsored Christmas week), while the third had Pat's daughter, Maggie, as hostess.
* HalloweenEpisode: Since 1997, they almost always have a specifically-themed Halloween week, often with spooky music, smoke machines, animatronic gargoyles, and even various "scary" sound effects when a contestant picks an envelope in the Bonus Round.
* HeliumSpeech: At the end of a 1998 episode, the set was decorated with balloons, and neither Pat nor Vanna could resist. The clip can be seen on the ceremonial 3,000th and 4,000th episodes.
* HilariousOuttakes: These shown up in a few special episodes, or during the post-game chats. One has Vanna repeatedly tripping over the line "What's with all the exclamation points?" when shooting a bumper for a local affiliate, followed by Pat snarking, "Don't make me come over there." Another one involved Vanna repeatedly screwing up the line "Highlight your night life" when shooting footage of herself modeling a car; one of the takes had "[[{{Spoonerism}} Highlight your knife light.]]"
* HisAndHers: In the late 1980s to early 1990s, his-and-hers cars were sometimes up for grabs in the Bonus Round. On one 1989 episode, a female contestant actually liked the "his" car better, so Pat responded by swapping the "his" and "hers" signs.



* HurricaneOfPuns: Jim Thornton likes to ad-lib all sorts of puns pertaining to the Prize copy or, occasionally, Bonus Round prize.
* IAlwaysWantedToSayThat: In the episode where Pat plays as a contestant, he says he is "very excited" to finally utter the phrase "I'd like to buy a vowel."
* IdiosyncraticWipes: The category graphics at the bottom of the screen are usually given special wipes pertaining to that week's theme (for instance, a school bus "drives" across the category graphic on Teacher's Week). There are also wipes for the Toss-Ups and Final Spin on every episode (the Prize Puzzle one was dropped after Season 29).
* INeedAFreakingDrink:
** Edd Byrnes stated in his memoir ''Kookie No More'' that he had a few before doing the 1974 pilots. For the first pilot he was "crazy drunk", badgering a contestant who wanted to solve for $1,300 into spinning again; he kind of improved for the second pilot to "happy drunk", saying "Whee!" at some points.
** In January 2012, Pat Sajak revealed he and Vanna used to get drunk during their two-and-a-half-hour breaks between taping during the Burbank era. [[SubvertedTrope He later revealed]] that this was an exaggeration.
* InflationNegation:
** Buying a vowel. The cost was $250 in 1973, and it is still $250 in the syndicated version. As of Season 32, the ''minimum'' cash wedge on the wheel is $500, enough to buy ''two'' vowels.
** [[InvertedTrope The vowel price was reduced]] to $200 when the daytime version moved to CBS in July 1989 and cut to $100 sometime in the first half of 1990, due to that version's lower stakes.
* InstantWinCondition: Subverted if the contestant fills in the puzzle completely; he or she still has to read it off correctly. This has backfired more than once, as a few contestants over the years have been ruled incorrect for misreading a fully-revealed puzzle.
* {{Irony}}:
** The lady on a 1985 episode who called a wrong letter on THE THRILL OF VICTORY AND THE AGONY OF DEFEAT and lost over $60,000 is probably one of the most prominent examples.
** One contestant at some point failed to solve YOU WIN in the BonusRound.
* JokeAndReceive: On October 27, 2011 (an episode with a Fictional Family puzzle), Pat joked that the category had only been used eight times. At the end of the show, he was told that it actually ''had'' been used only eight times...except [[SubvertedTrope that was wrong as well]] - it was the category's ''tenth'' appearance.
* JumpCut: Present in the days that the mechanical puzzle board was used. Right after "Our category is...", they would JumpCut to the blank puzzle board and category reveal. What the home viewer didn't see was the puzzle board getting rolled back into the studio after having that round's puzzle loaded onto it.
** A rather blatant one shows up in a nighttime bonus round on May 5, 1986: the contestant says the first part of the right answer (AT MY WIT'S END) just before the buzzer, then the rest of it during and after said buzzer. Since they don't have another commercial break, the only option was to stop tape before [[spoiler:declaring that he won the Pontiac]], resulting in a very sloppy edit:
--->'''Pat:''' To my ear, it was very tight. We're gon—\\
(''jump cut'')\\
'''Offstage voice:''' [[spoiler:winner]].\\
(''[[spoiler:contestant screams and jumps up in air]]'')
** Earlier, however, the contestant made a guess that has shown up in many specials. The audience was originally silent, but ''Wheel'' added laughter to the clip for the ceremonial 4,000th nighttime show; they also [[ManipulativeEditing added a buzzer right afterward]].
** Jump cuts are also present if Pat hits something other than a dollar amount on the Final Spin, or if three (or six) consecutive wrong letters are called in the Speed-Up.
** When a round starts with a cycle of three consecutive lost turns that were edited out, the wide shot of the first spin is that of the original spin whose corresponding letter call was edited out, which always results in a jump cut with the Wheel landing in a different area than where it was originally headed. For example, if the first spin looks like it's about to land on Lose A Turn but ends up on the other side of the Wheel.
* JustFollowingOrders: Pat tends to say this when he has to take away a wedge or token, or show Bonus Round players the prize they lost.
* LaserGuidedKarma:
** During the second 1974 pilot, contestant Roseanne is pressured twice by host Edd Byrnes to keep spinning when she wants to solve. She solves three out of four puzzles, but loses by $90 (although she would have lost by only $40 if not for a scoring error).
** Matthew Fenwick, wanted for two counts of child molestation, appeared on ''Wheel'' on March 18, 1998. He won $4,400, but one of his victims recognized him while watching his show and alerted the authorities. Fenwick was arrested two days later and served 6½ years in prison.
* LaughTrack: Before the mid-90s, they ''very'' obviously used an applause machine. The "ooh"s whenever someone landed on a prize wedge or the top dollar, "Aww"s when someone hit Lose a Turn or Bankrupt, or called a wrong letter, et cetera. The show started using an applause machine again in the mid-2000s, but it's a bit harder to discern.
** In the 80's, the famous "Look at this studio!" intro was filled with canned reactions to the prizes. One of the most noticeable ones was the sound of men shouting "Yeah!" and "Ow!".
** In the early-to-mid 90's, an "Oooh..." would often sound when the top dollar or prize wedges would whiz by in the overhead shot, even if the Wheel stopped several wedges past.
** In the aforementioned "AT MY WIT'S END" Bonus Round, the "audience" groaned loudly in sync with the buzzer even as the contestant solved.
** Canned audience sounds are becoming more prevalent in TheNewTens with the occasional delayed gasps when a contestant just misses a Bankrupt, or "ooh"s if someone hits the Million Dollar Wedge.
** The show's social media pages will sometimes upload clips of closing segments. These usually do not contain the extra laughter and applause sounds added in when the episode is shown on TV. One segment involved Pat trying to reveal a letter on the puzzle board to no avail. When it aired on TV, raucous laughter was heard as Pat tried to reveal the letter, but the clip on the show's Website/YouTube channel was the segment exactly as recorded in the studio, which had no laughter at all.



** On at least one daytime episode (June 7, 1976), a contestant who solved the Round 3 puzzle early was asked to spin the Wheel to see what she would have landed on; she landed on $1,500 (then the top dollar amount).



** On at least one daytime episode (June 7, 1976), a contestant who solved the Round 3 puzzle early was asked to spin the Wheel to see what she would have landed on; she landed on $1,500 (then the top dollar amount).
** After the bonus round, the prize the contestant was playing for will be revealed whether the contestant actually won it or not. Additionally, if they could have won the million dollar prize but didn't land on it on the prize wheel, Pat will reveal which space on the wheel held the million after the bonus round is over.
* Personnel:
** TheAnnouncer: Mike Lawrence was announcer on the 1973 pilot, followed by Charlie O'Donnell from 1974-80. After Charlie's departure upon the show's announced (but retracted) cancellation to do ''The Toni Tennille Show'', Don Morrow announced for a week; Jack Clark then took over and held the role until he died in 1988. M.G. Kelly announced most of the 1988-89 season, minus a two-week stint in New York City when Don Pardo held these duties. Charlie returned on February 20, 1989 and held the role until his death in November 2010, when various announcers filled in. Jim Thornton was named his replacement in June 2011. John Deeks was the most well known announcer of the Australian version.
** GameShowHost: Chuck Woolery, Edd Byrnes, Pat Sajak, Rolf Benirschke, Bob Goen, David Sidoni for the American versions. Ernie Sigley, John Burgess, [[Series/SaleOfTheCentury Tony Barber]], Rob Elliott, Steve Oemcke, [[Series/ThePriceIsRight Larry Emdur]], and [[Series/HomeAndAway Tim Campbell]] for the Australian versions. Jorge Fernández for the current Spanish version.
** LovelyAssistant: Susan Stafford from 1974-82, followed by the former TropeNamer, Vanna White, after two months of rotating guests. The latter's popularity skyrocketed in the 1980s in what was unofficially described "Vannamania". Adriana Xenides was the most well-known letter turner of the Australian version. In Spain, Paloma López from 2006-2015, followed by Laura Moure. Olympic rhythmic gymnast Barbara Gonzalez subbed for Laura when she was out with an injury in 2016.
*** Tanika Ray did the mo-cap and voice acting for the animated assistant "Cyber Lucy" on ''Wheel 2000''.
* ProgressiveJackpot:
** The Jackpot wedge, of course. It started at $5,000 and had the value of each spin added to it; to win it, the contestant had to hit the Jackpot wedge, call a correct letter, then solve right away. Retired at the end of Season 30.
** From 1986-88 on the daytime show, a different Jackpot was played. Similar to the nighttime Prize wedge (picked up when landed on, had to avoid Bankrupt and then solve the puzzle to claim the prize), this Jackpot was an accruing cash prize that began at $1,000 and increased by $1,000 per show until won.
** Played straight by the Spanish version using the "Bote" wedge (which works pretty much the same as the nighttime Jackpot on the American show described above), but also inverted with the "Prueba de Velocidad Decreciente" (Decreasing Speed Round)--a Toss-up puzzle valued at 2,000 euros that decreases by a set amount for each letter revealed in the puzzle. The player who solves the puzzle wins whatever is showing on the counter when they solve.
* RetiredGameShowElement: Several, as far back as Buy A Vowel in the show's early days, with the shopping round likely the most famous example in the medium. See that page for details.
* RulesSpiel:
** From the Shopping era: "Be careful not to hit Bankrupt because if you do, you lose your cash but not your merchandise because once you buy a prize, it's yours to keep."
** Before Speed-Up rounds: "[That sound means time is running out.] I'll give the Wheel a final spin. I'll ask you to give me a letter and if it's in the puzzle, you'll have three seconds (five until 1999) to solve it. Vowels worth nothing, consonants worth -- (beginning in October 1999) we'll add a thousand to that, $[dollar amount] apiece. Again, [Category Title] is the category for this round. [Contestant], it's still your turn; a letter."
** Until Toss-Up Puzzles were introduced: "Just before the show, we drew numbers to see who would start."
** "We are playing for cash." -- Pat used this after shopping was ousted and still found it necessary until ''ten years'' after the change.
* ShowTheFolksAtHome:
** The short-lived Preview Puzzle, used only in Season 17. A partially filled in puzzle was shown to the home audience, and after the intro, Vanna would reveal the answer on the puzzle board.
** From the second month of Season 23 through Season 30, the home audience was always shown what is on the other side of a Mystery Wedge if one was landed on. Starting in Season 31, they are now shown only if the contestant declines to flip it over.
** Beginning in Season 36, all letter guesses are accompanied by a subtitle-like graphic displaying that letter.
* SpeedRound:
** The Speed-Up round (Final Spin). Vowels worth nothing, consonants worth the amount landed on (plus $1,000 since 1999). Unlike most examples of this trope, Speed-Ups have no overall time limit (although apparently they did very early on), only the three seconds (originally five) that a player is given to solve if they find a letter.
** Another variant is the Express wedge, introduced in Season 31. Whenever a contestant hits the wedge, they can opt to stop spinning and keep calling letters for $1,000 a pop, but calling a wrong letter has the same effect as a Bankrupt.
* ThinkMusic: A light music bed plays under Toss-Ups and the Speed-Up round since the 2000s. Also, a 10-second beeping timer initially played during the BonusRound, but it has been replaced by another music bed.
* UndesirablePrize: Arguably every shopping-era prize that wasn't a car, all-expenses-paid vacation, or possibly [[PrettyInMink fur coat]] could count, but everyone remembers the $154 ceramic Dalmatian. The late 80s-early 90s also had some real stinkers in the Bonus Round, such as a build-your-own log cabin kit, a silver tea serving set, a "shipboard party" (something that even Pat made fun of), or historical documents signed by famous people. Arguably, the gift tags could also fall under this, depending on whether or not someone actually wants a Lobstergram or a $1,000 UsefulNotes/{{Kmart}} shopping spree.
* {{Whammy}}: Bankrupt and Lose A Turn. At least the latter lets you keep your cash/prizes/etc. The show provides the page image.

to:

** On at least one daytime episode (June 7, 1976), a contestant who solved the Round 3 puzzle early was asked to spin the Wheel to see what she would have landed on; she landed on $1,500 (then the top dollar amount).
** After the bonus round, the prize the contestant was playing for will be revealed whether the contestant actually won it or not. not (except for the first episode with the W-H-E-E-L envelopes, and a random 2003 episode where Pat simply forgot). Additionally, if they could have won the million dollar prize but didn't land on it on the prize wheel, Pat will usually reveal which space on the wheel held the million after the bonus round is over.
* Personnel:
LikeAnOldMarriedCouple: Parodied on a 1997 episode where, in the final segment, Pat and Vanna are at a table, respectively reading a newspaper and knitting. They both joke that people often interpret them as a married couple (even though in RealLife, both are happily married to different people), with Pat nodding and bluntly finishing all of Vanna's sentences.
* LiteralMinded: One contestant, after being told by Pat to "throw to commercial", literally throws the Prize wedge she won, much like Pat in the 1980s-90s, actually.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfRules: The game has become increasingly complex in the 2000s, with the likes of the Jackpot, Gift Tag, Toss-Ups, Mystery wedges, Wild Card, Million Dollar Wedge, Free Play, ½ Car tags, etc.
* LoopholeAbuse:
** TheAnnouncer: Mike Lawrence was announcer Attempted on the 1973 pilot, followed by Charlie O'Donnell from 1974-80. After Charlie's departure upon the show's announced (but retracted) cancellation Megaword puzzle PROLIFERATION. When asked to do ''The Toni Tennille Show'', Don Morrow announced use it in a sentence for a week; Jack Clark then took over and held $500 bonus, the role until he died in 1988. M.G. Kelly announced most of contestant said "The contestants did not know what the 1988-89 season, minus a two-week stint in New York City when Don Pardo held these duties. Charlie returned on February 20, 1989 and held the role until his death in word 'proliferation' meant." [[DefiedTrope It bizarrely didn't work.]]
** On
November 2010, when various announcers filled in. Jim Thornton was named his replacement 10, 2015, contestant Nura went viral for calling obviously wrong letters like Q or getting buzzed out on every turn she got in June 2011. John Deeks was the most well known announcer Speed-Up. Consensus seems to be that she did this on purpose to allow one of the Australian version.
** GameShowHost: Chuck Woolery, Edd Byrnes, Pat Sajak, Rolf Benirschke, Bob Goen, David Sidoni for the American versions. Ernie Sigley, John Burgess, [[Series/SaleOfTheCentury Tony Barber]], Rob Elliott, Steve Oemcke, [[Series/ThePriceIsRight Larry Emdur]], and [[Series/HomeAndAway Tim Campbell]] for the Australian versions. Jorge Fernández for the current Spanish version.
**
her opponents to win money.
*
LovelyAssistant: Susan Stafford from 1974-82, followed by the former TropeNamer, Vanna White, after two months of rotating guests. The latter's popularity skyrocketed in the 1980s in what was unofficially described "Vannamania". Adriana Xenides was the most well-known letter turner of the Australian version. In Spain, Paloma López from 2006-2015, followed by Laura Moure. Olympic rhythmic gymnast Barbara Gonzalez subbed for Laura when she was out with an injury in 2016.
***
2016. Also in a unique example, Tanika Ray did the mo-cap and voice acting for the animated assistant "Cyber Lucy" on ''Wheel 2000''.
* ProgressiveJackpot:
** The Jackpot wedge, of course. It started at $5,000 and had the value of each spin added to it; to win it, the
LuckBasedMission: Whenever a contestant had to hit lands on a Mystery Wedge. One contains a $10,000 cash prize (previously, it could contain a compact car or other prize in the Jackpot wedge, call $10,000 range) on the flip side, and the other contains a correct Bankrupt. The contestant may choose to take its "face value" of $1,000 (originally $500) per letter, then solve right away. Retired at or forfeit that amount and flip it over. If one is flipped over, the end other one functions as a regular cash space for the rest of Season 30.
that round.
** From 1986-88 Depending on the daytime show, a different Jackpot was played. Similar game the Bonus Puzzle can be this. Picture it, you get to the nighttime Prize wedge (picked up when landed on, had to avoid Bankrupt and then solve last puzzle with a prize on the line, the puzzle to claim is typically something general (typically "Thing(s)") depending on where the prize), this Jackpot was an accruing cash prize that began at $1,000 R,S,T,L,N,E end up and increased by $1,000 per show until won.
** Played straight by the Spanish version using the "Bote" wedge (which works pretty much the same as the nighttime Jackpot on the American show described above), but also inverted with the "Prueba de Velocidad Decreciente" (Decreasing Speed Round)--a Toss-up puzzle valued at 2,000 euros that decreases by a set amount for each letter revealed
how many vowels are in the puzzle. The player who solves the puzzle wins whatever is (you only get E and one of your own) you could end up filling the whole thing in yourself or end up with an unsolvable puzzle with only a few letters showing on the counter when they solve.
board.
* RetiredGameShowElement: Several, as far back as Buy A Vowel in LuckyCharmsTitle: In the show's early days, two-line logo, the "O" in "of" is rendered as a wheel.
** During Tennis Week in 2018, the "o" in "of" was replaced
with a tennis ball, while the shopping round likely wheel-shaped "O" was moved down to replace the most famous example one in "fortune".
* {{Metaphorgotten}}: At
the medium. See that page for details.
* RulesSpiel:
** From
end of an episode from the Shopping era: "Be careful not to hit Bankrupt because if you do, you lose your cash but not your merchandise because once you buy first week of Season 21, he and Vanna reminisced on how long they were doing the show. Pat then said, "It's like riding a prize, it's yours to keep.bicycle: I'm all sweaty and my rear end hurts."
** Before Speed-Up rounds: "[That sound means time * MissingTheGoodStuff: Although ''Wheel'' is running out.] I'll give a syndicated program, it is only scheduled to air in the Wheel a final spin. I'll ask you to give me a letter hour before primetime, and if never earlier than 7:00 PM Eastern. This often results in the show getting pre-empted by sporting events, award shows, or local special programming. In Boston and Nashville, ''Wheel'' is pre-empted at least once a week during football season in favor of locally-produced shows on the cities' NFL teams.
* MissionPackSequel: One of the computer game adaptations, ''Wheel of Fortune 2003'', is pretty much the exact same game as ''Wheel of Fortune 2nd Edition'', with a different puzzle bank and with Vanna's FMV clips redone. Otherwise,
it's in aesthetically exactly the puzzle, you'll have same, down to all the theming, menus, music, and everything else.
* MoonLogicPuzzle:
** Some of the bonus puzzles practically seem set up to be lost. In the 1990s, it wasn't rare to see three- to five-letter answers, often compounded in difficulty by not having any RSTLNE in them. BABY BOY, WIG, WAX, and ZOO all occurred in October 1992 alone (and amazingly, all but WIG were solved; BABY BOY in particular was solved with '''no letters showing'''). YO-YO and I DO (1993 and 1996, respectively) were also solved.
*** Since about Season 20, the difficulty is usually ramped up by relying heavily on rarely-called letters (e.g. JAZZ BAND), vowels (e.g. OAK BUREAU), arcane and outdated phrases (e.g. WHAT A BUSYBODY), completely arbitrary noun-adjective pairings (e.g. FAVORITE MUG, AVID HIKER, WILDLY HAPPY GUY, WACKY NEIGHBOR(S) {twice!}), or some combination of the above (e.g. JACUZZI BUBBLES).
*** Pretty much ''any'' bonus puzzle with the word QUIZ in it.
*** In rare occurrences, RSTLNE will reveal only the S at the end of a pluralized puzzle (e.g. HIGHWAYS, WHIZ KIDS).
** A Clue puzzle in 1993 reading SILENT BUTLER'S TARGETS proved to be this, as none of the contestants ''or'' Pat knew what a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_butler silent butler]] was.
** {{Defied|Trope}} by the bonus puzzle NEW BABY BUGGY on March 19, 2014, a typical example of the "random adjective/noun pairing" style of bonus puzzle. After picking
three seconds (five until 1999) to solve it. Vowels worth nothing, more consonants worth -- (beginning in October 1999) we'll add a thousand to that, $[dollar amount] apiece. Again, [Category Title] is the category for this round. [Contestant], it's still your turn; a letter."
** Until Toss-Up Puzzles were introduced: "Just before the show, we drew numbers to see who would start."
** "We are playing for cash." -- Pat used this after shopping was ousted
and still found it necessary until ''ten years'' after the change.
* ShowTheFolksAtHome:
** The short-lived Preview Puzzle, used only in Season 17. A partially filled in puzzle was shown to the home audience, and after the intro, Vanna would reveal the answer on the puzzle board.
** From the second month of Season 23 through Season 30, the home audience was always shown what is on the other side of
a Mystery Wedge if one was landed on. Starting in Season 31, they are now shown only if vowel, the contestant declines to flip was still faced with only the N and E and solved it over.
in about two seconds.
* MsFanservice: An arcade edition of ''Wheel'' released in the late 1980's featured a ''very'' busty "Vanna", resembling a blonde [[Film/WhoFramedRogerRabbit Jessica Rabbit]]. Her sprites even featured JigglePhysics whenever she clapped.
* MultipleEndings:
** Beginning Three episodes in Season 36, 30 each had two closing segments filmed due to one of them featuring a celebrity promoting a network television program despite ''Wheel'' being syndicated. Whichever one aired depended on the network affiliate.
*** November 1, 2012: Tom Bergeron promotes ''Series/DancingWithTheStars''; aired on ABC affiliates only.
*** January 7, 2013: The cast of ''[[Series/DragonsDen Shark Tank]]'' promote their new season; aired on ABC affiliates only.
*** March 1, 2013: Julie Chen promotes ''Series/TheTalk'' and ''Series/BigBrother''; ''intended'' for air on CBS affiliates only, but accidentally aired on
all letter guesses are accompanied by stations in the U.S. and even Canada. However, the episode reran over a subtitle-like graphic displaying that letter.
* SpeedRound:
year later on May 3, 2014 with the other closing.
** The Speed-Up round (Final Spin). Vowels worth nothing, consonants worth original closing for the amount landed on (plus $1,000 since 1999). Unlike most examples of this trope, Speed-Ups have no overall time limit (although apparently they did very early on), only November 5, 2010 episode (with the three seconds (originally five) that a player is given to solve if they find a letter.
** Another variant is the Express wedge, introduced in Season 31. Whenever a contestant hits the wedge, they can opt to stop spinning and keep calling letters for $1,000 a pop, but calling a wrong letter has the same effect
famous I'VE GOT A GOOD FEELING ABOUT THIS solve) [[TooSoon never aired]], as a Bankrupt.
* ThinkMusic: A light music bed plays under Toss-Ups and the Speed-Up round since the 2000s. Also, a 10-second beeping timer initially played during the BonusRound, but
it has been was replaced by another a tribute to Charlie O'Donnell, who passed away earlier that week. The episode reran in September 2011, but still with the tribute.
** When the May 29, 2013 episode reran that September, the original closing was replaced with a tribute to director Mark Corwin, who passed away in July.
* MusicalGag: On a 2004 episode, the ThemeTune of the then-still-airing Australian version was used as a
music bed.
* UndesirablePrize: Arguably every shopping-era prize
bed when Charlie described a trip to Australia which was that wasn't a car, all-expenses-paid vacation, or possibly [[PrettyInMink fur coat]] could count, but everyone remembers the $154 ceramic Dalmatian. The late 80s-early 90s also had some real stinkers in the Bonus Round, such as a build-your-own log cabin kit, a silver tea serving set, a "shipboard party" (something that even Pat day's Prize.
* MustMakeAmends: On several occasions, contestants have
made fun of), or historical documents signed by famous people. Arguably, the gift tags could also fall under this, depending repeat appearances due to game-changing errors on whether or not someone actually wants a Lobstergram or a $1,000 UsefulNotes/{{Kmart}} shopping spree.
* {{Whammy}}: Bankrupt and Lose A Turn. At
their first episode. This includes at least three confirmed instances in Season 6 alone (one of whom appeared on the latter lets you keep your cash/prizes/etc. The show provides the page image.season premiere, and was brought back in February), plus instances in 2004, 2008, and 2018.



----
!!The category for this round is "Tropes" (ding ding ding ding):

[[folder:Tropes A-M]]
* AbsenteeActor: While the show has had video game adaptations spanning every generation since the NES, Sajak has appeared in only one version, the 2010 Wii version published by THQ (and ported to the [=PS3=] and XBOX 360 two years later); most games have Vanna herself as the host. Inverted with the 2007 pinball game, which features the voice of Pat but not Vanna (who still appears on the cabinet art).
* AddedAlliterativeAppeal: The "Same Letter" category, in which every word in the puzzle begins with the same letter. Since 2014, contestants receive a $1,000 bonus for calling the "Same Letter" in question. For reasons unknown, the category took a brief hiatus when the show filmed six weeks of episodes in Las Vegas in 2013, but that didn't stop them from using several puzzles that would normally fit the category, such as the infamous CORNER CURIO CABINET puzzle, which was categorized as "Thing".
* AlohaHawaii: Often invoked with the many trips to Hawaii the show has awarded, but they have also taped outdoors in front of the Waikoloa Village on four separate occasions.
* AlwaysSecondBest: Compared to sister show ''Jeopardy!'', ''Wheel'' is often treated this way, with the latter show often being viewed as inferior due to its different type of gameplay.
** Through 1986, both syndicated shows had 195 episodes per season. Since then, ''Jeopardy!'' now has 230 episodes per season while ''Wheel'' has stayed at 195. As a result, the latter has 13 weeks of reruns between seasons while the former only has 6.
** Various "Greatest Game Shows of All Time" lists almost-always place ''Wheel'' a small number of spots below ''Jeopardy!''
** The Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show has been won by ''Jeopardy!'' several times. The one time ''Wheel'' won it was in a tie with its sister show, likely to tie into both Pat Sajak and Alex Trebek receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award that year. In recent years, ''Wheel'' is not even nominated for the award at all.
** When stations have to reschedule at least one of the two game shows due to a pre-emption, ''Jeopardy!'' is usually given priority because of its continuity by having returning champions, (something ''Wheel'' abandoned several years ago) or because of slightly higher ratings in recent years. If ''Jeopardy!'s'' time slot is scheduled to be pre-empted, some stations will actually move it to air in ''Wheel's'' unaffected time slot, with the latter airing late at night or not at all.
** When ''Jeopardy!'' champion James Holzhauer became a media sensation for his several record-breaking scores, the show's ratings reached new highs not seen since Ken Jennings' run. This caused many affiliates to heavily promote the show, while ''Wheel'' received little to no promotion despite being its sister program. Partially as a result, ''Wheel's'' ratings saw no significant increase during Holzhauer's run.
** If an online poll asks "''Wheel of Fortune'' or ''Jeopardy!''?", expect the latter to win by a landslide, along with comments such as, "How could anyone like ''Wheel'' better than ''Jeopardy!''?"
* AndStarring: Until the daytime show moved back to NBC on January 14, 1991, TheAnnouncer introduced only Chuck/Pat/Rolf/Bob, who in turn would introduce Susan/[guest hostess]/Vanna. The nighttime show changed the opening spiel to introduce Pat and Vanna together on September 4, 1989.
* AnimatedCreditsOpening: The show has used these on and off since 1992:
** Seasons 10-11: Anthropomorphic Wheel wedges walking down a staircase.
** Season 12: Hand-drawn versions of Pat and Vanna "riding" the Wheel amid graphics related to the show; this animation ended with them parachuting.
** Seasons 14-17: CGI of the Sony Pictures Studio, with the camera "zooming in" through the studio doors.
** Season 23: One of three intros showing people racing to their TV sets to watch the show: one shows a man ostensibly getting ready for a date, one shows a woman racing home from work, and one shows a suburban African-American family finishing dinner quickly then running to the couch. The last one has also been used for "America's Game" weeks in Seasons 31 and 32.
** Season 28: Each intro is tied in to the week's theme, using the Pat and Vanna avatars from the 2010 THQ UsefulNotes/{{Wii}} game. Some of these showed up again in later seasons, most often as bumpers but occasionally as openings, most notably the one for Halloween week, which has been re-used most years since.
* AprilFoolsDay:
** 1991: Vanna appeared to be pregnant in the final segment...until she pulled a cushion out from her dress.
** 1996: APRIL FOOL'S DAY was the Round 1 puzzle.
** 1997: Pat hosted that day's ''Jeopardy!'' while Alex hosted ''Wheel''. Pat and Vanna also played ''Wheel'' that day with Pat's wife, Lesly, at the puzzle board. The entire flip-flop was lampshaded heavily by the puzzles, especially the Speed-Up and Bonus Round puzzles (IT'S NOT AS EASY AS IT LOOKS and TRADING PLACES, respectively).
** 2008: Pat "revealed" that [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYvYtft5EmQ he was actually bald.]] Vanna's reaction was priceless. The moment is often replayed or mentioned on subsequent April 1 episodes. [[spoiler:It was a real wig on a bald wig.]]
** 2010: The show did ten things that were "out of the ordinary" and asked home viewers to spot them. All ten were revealed on the next show. Examples included the full-size Bankrupt wedges saying "Bankrut" [[note]](Gratuitous Polish)[[/note]], Charlie taking Vanna's place for a couple shots, Pat wearing a barely-visible stud earring for a whole round, [[CallBack footage of a Final Spin from a 1995 episode over the current one]], etc. There were also two seconds of rodeo footage in the opening montage of tropical shots, although this was never pointed out.
** 2011: All the puzzles (except the bonus round) had some form of the word "fool". Amazingly, the contestants never caught on.
** 2016: Jim reads a promo for "Live like a Pilgrim Week" after the first round. This episode re-aired in 2017 due to April 1 falling on a Saturday that year. On the same day's ''Jeopardy!'', the Bankrupt sound effect was used when a contestant gave an incorrect response to Final Jeopardy!.
** 2019: The weekend prior, Pat tweets an announcement of a "major prank" and tells viewers to watch the show to spot it. At the end of the show, Pat announces that there [[TheUnReveal was no prank]], therefore fooling the viewers who spent the episode looking for one.
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: Sometimes invoked with the Triple Toss-Ups, which often have a common theme to the answer. Usually the third one will be a "lighter" variant on the theme than the other two, such as THE FRENCH RIVIERA, THE ITALIAN ALPS, and NEW JERSEY TURNPIKE, or MEMBER OF CONGRESS, STATE SENATOR, and DOGCATCHER.
* TheArtifact:
** Since the board changed from trilons to video screens in February 1997, Vanna isn't really needed on the show anymore, but since she's been so inextricably associated with the show for so long she stays.
** They also don't need the green circle in the middle of the Wheel to do ChromaKey shots of the host and hostess anymore (high-tech in 1974, looks downright silly in the 21st century), but it remains because of familiarity.
** Similarly, the "house minimum" for a round solve with anything less and you get a chunk of cash (originally $200, then $500, now $1,000) by default. This was initially done so the contestant would at least be able to buy ''something'' during the shopping rounds (although even that backfired at least once). Now, it's just there to make the contestant feel better for not having an opportunity to get more.
** The Speed-Up round, thanks to both the electronic puzzle board and editing that dates back to 1997[[note]](Games could still end "normally" until October 1, 1999 at the earliest)[[/note]]. This also applies for road shows. For familiarity, and possibly for the chance of Pat spinning $5,000, it is kept. In 2001 the rules were changed so that ''all'' games end this way. On the other hand, always ending in a Speed-Up offers a greater chance for all three contestants to play, and many games have been decided on a Speed-Up even in cases where Pat didn't hit $5,000.
* AscendedMeme: As mentioned under ComplacentGamingSyndrome, RSTLNE is an example of this. Most contestants would pick those letters in that exact order, and they are now given to the contestants in that order.
* BigEater: If there's local cuisine to be eaten during a road show, Pat and Vanna will indulge. This was even referenced in the ceremonial 4,000th nighttime episode, which showed footage of Pat and Vanna eating while "[[Music/WeirdAlYankovic Eat It]]" played.
* BigWhat: A contestant was going for the Million Dollars, and only had [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X54LtyzVNdA four letters, plus a wildcard]], and only four showed up. She gave the answer T[[spoiler:OU]]G[[spoiler:H]] [[spoiler:WO]]R[[spoiler:KOU]]T in ''two seconds''.
--> ''([[{{Beat}} Vanna is nodding in the background, about to clap]])''\\
'''Pat''': ''WHAT?!''
* BittersweetEnding:
** Any time a contestant wins the game despite losing a lot of money and/or a big prize in a previous round (either by not solving the puzzle, or losing it to Bankrupt).
** Any time a contestant carries the Million Dollar Wedge to the Bonus Round, solves the bonus puzzle, and is revealed to have spun the envelope right next to the $1 million.
** Any time a contestant loses the Million Dollar Wedge during the main game, then wins the $100,000 in the Bonus Round. This has happened twice so far - on November 17, 2008 and April 30, 2012.
** A contestant that solves a NintendoHard Bonus Round puzzle with very few letters, only to win the minimum prize or a car of lesser value.
** Subverted on June 11, 2013. A contestant misses out on both the car and Mystery Prize in Round 2, but makes it to the Bonus Round and wins the $100,000.
** A subversion took place on the Season 13 premiere. A contestant loses the $10,000 Wedge to Bankrupt but makes it to the Bonus Round, where he wins the $25,000.
* {{Bowdlerise}}: When ''Wheel'' taped two weeks of episodes in New York City for November 1988 sweeps, "New York, New York" from Leonard Bernstein's ''Theatre/OnTheTown'' opened each episode instead of the show's theme. The line "It's a hell of a town" was replaced by "It's a wonderful town."
* BreadEggsBreadedEggs:
** For years, they'd had weeks where college students would play, and weeks where celebrities would play. They combined the ideas in 1992 for a Soap Opera College Challenge, which had a college student playing against two soap stars.
** One episode had a contestant who could imitate Forrest Gump and another who could imitate [[WesternAnimation/WileECoyoteAndTheRoadrunner the Road Runner]]. Pat then asked the former to "do Forrest Gump as the Road Runner", which he did.
** From 2007-2012, the active categories included Fictional Character, Family, and Fictional Family.
** A January 2020 episode had a contestant named Divinefavor. When inquired about the name, he explained that his mother wanted to name him Divine while his father wanted to name him Favor, so the two compromised.
* BrickJoke:
** November or December 1987 (nighttime): Pat said at the beginning of the show that he forgot to put a belt on because he was talking to Bob Murphy, then-president of Merv Griffin Enterprises. Come the end of the show, he deliberately drops his pants. Jack Clark was laughing his way through the fee plugs.
** November 2003: Vanna said that she wished Thanksgiving were at a different time of year, perhaps in March. Come March 2004, Pat references that discussion and presents Vanna with a turkey dinner.
* ButtMonkey: Some of Pat's comments to both Charlie and Jim have portrayed them as this.
-->'''Pat''': [Jim] is sitting in a little 2-foot-by-3-foot cubicle alone, but he's having a ball.
* TheCameo: Several episodes have had celebrities walk on after a puzzle themed toward them. Beyond these, other notable cameos include:
** In September 1977, Susan Stafford injured her back on a ''Circus of the Stars'' stunt gone wrong. Arte Johnson turned the letters in her place, also doing this to promote his new game show ''Knockout''.
** The New York episodes in November 1988 had several celebrity cameos, including Dick Cavett and Debbie Reynolds.
** On a 1997 episode, Rosie O'Donnell made a cameo after her name was the answer. She then helped Vanna touch letters in the next round.
** In September 2002, Donny Osmond made a cameo to promote the debut of the ''Series/{{Pyramid}}'' revival (also a Sony property).
** In December 2008, Betty White made a cameo after the puzzle THE GOLDEN GIRLS.
* CatchPhrase:
** "I'd like to buy a vowel."
** "I'd like to solve the puzzle." In Pat's early years, he'd often follow this with "For [amount], solve this [category]."
** "'Person'/'People' does not always mean 'proper name(s)'." was a catch phrase until they finally made Proper Name its own category in 1996.
** In the shopping era, "...once you buy a prize, it's yours to keep." This was replaced with "We're playing for cash.", which Pat continued to say into March or April 1997.
** In the first seasons with the Jackpot round, Pat would sometimes introduce it with "[[MadLibsCatchPhrase Put down that ____, Charlie]], it's time for our Jackpot round!" One time, the object was a [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar Viagra espresso]].
** "Did you need any more time?" Pat when someone solves the Bonus Round puzzle instantly or the Speed-Up with very few letters showing.
** "Say everything, don't add anything" for when a contestant solves a Crossword Clue.
* CatchphraseSpoutingDuo:
-->'''Pat:''' [[ThatsAllFolks We'll see you next time!]]\\
'''Vanna:''' [[EveryEpisodeEnding Bye bye!]]
* ChromaKey: The center of the Wheel, most notably for the closing shot of the host and hostess from 1974-78 and 1980-87. It saw double-duty from 1974-75 in the opening.
* ClipShow: The ceremonial 3,000th and 4,000th syndicated episodes.
* ClumsyCopyrightCensorship: Almost every episode in Season 30 began with a retro clip. In [[ZigZaggedTrope nearly all cases]], the older music beds (prize cues, Toss-Up bed, puzzle-solve cue, theme song) were dubbed over with their modern counterparts. This led to particularly jarring dubs, such as the current Toss-Up solve cue on a clip obviously from the late 1980s. The pre-1983 ThemeTune "Big Wheels" remained untouched, as did all but one instance of the 1994-97 solve cue. (They showed a clip from 1994 twice: the first airing had the original cue, but the second airing had the current cue dubbed in.)
** Perhaps the most egregious was a 1985-86 clip of Jack Clark describing a prize, in which they scrubbed out nearly ''all'' of the music around Jack's voice (which, for the record, was Merv's "Frisco Disco").
** They also showed retro clips in Season 25, but in those cases the music was always left intact.
** All of the classic themes were left intact during "Wheel 6000" week in 2014, which featured different retrospectives on shows 1,000-4,000, each one being backed the appropriate theme of the era.
** The show's music cues were changed in January 2017, halfway through Season 34. However, the week of episodes airing April 3-7, 2017 was taped before this change, so the new cues had to be spliced in during post-production. This resulted in several sloppy sound edits, and even a couple cases where the old cues were left completely untouched. Reruns of Season 33 and early Season 34 episodes, were likewise changed after this point, with the original music often being highly audible underneath the new music.
** In November 2018, Game Show Network aired a special showcasing several memorable moments over the years. Almost every past music cue was dubbed over with its 2000's equivalent. While there were a few exceptions, they were very inconsistent, such as footage from a 1989 episode leaving the original solve cue intact for one puzzle, then overdubbing it on another puzzle from the same episode.
* ColourCodedForYourConvenience: Like so many other game shows [[StealthPun before and after]] it, ''Wheel'' separates the contestants into red, yellow, and blue motifs. Chuck Woolery would sometimes refer to Player 2 as "Mellow Yellow". For a time in 1975, the displays themselves also used these colors before going to white (which had also been used in the 1974 pilots). From 1981-97, colored backdrops appeared behind the contestants.
* CreditsGag: For a few seasons beginning in late 2000s, full credit rolls put a gag title over Pat's name (e.g., "Pumpkin Picker" on a Halloween Week episode).
* CrosswordPuzzle: The "Crossword Round" introduced in Season 34 features interlocking words (usually four, but on rare occasion, three or five) which all have a common theme.
* ADayInTheLimelight:
** Vanna has spun the Wheel several times, including a January 1984 nighttime episode. She also played a round for charity in November 1989 while Pat turned the letters.
** Pat had laryngitis during a College Week taping session in San Francisco (aired November 18-22, 1996). On Thursday, he decided to rest his voice, so he had Vanna host the bonus round while he turned the letters.
** April Fool's Day 1997, as mentioned above.
** In early 2011, the show held a contest allowing home viewers to be "Vanna for a Day": viewers could submit video auditions, which were then voted on through the show's website. The winner, Katie Cantrell, took Vanna's place for Rounds 2 and 3 on March 24, which was lampshaded by the Round 3 puzzle IT'S HARDER THAN IT LOOKS.
** As Pat has appeared in only one iteration of the ''Wheel'' video games, nearly all of them have handed hosting duties to Vanna, who will call out letter frequencies, dollar amounts, the RulesSpiel, and general player encouragement.
** Vanna finally got to host for real during three weeks in Season 37. The first two, being Disney tie-ins, had Mickey and Minnie Mouse in her usual role, while the third had Pat's daughter Maggie instead.
* DeadpanSnarker: Pat is fond of snarking both [[SelfDeprecation at himself]] and at contestants who have caught the IdiotBall, or ones who are really good at playing the game. (Prime example: claiming that a bonus puzzle will be "very difficult" when the contestant picks letters that leave it mostly or completely filled in.)
* DelayedReaction:
** Sometimes contestants are looking at the board instead of the Wheel when spinning, and may not realize immediately that they've landed on something noteworthy (such as the top dollar, a prize wedge... or a Bankrupt).
** An unusual example came with contestant Emil, who solved the notorious bonus puzzle NEW BABY BUGGY with only the N and E revealed. It took about three or four seconds for the board to light up with the correct answer, likely because the techs were not expecting him to solve it.
* DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment:
** On several occasions, they've gone to Speed-Up with only one or two consonants left. This was even more egregious in the 1980s and 1990s, when the Final Spin was not mandatory and finishing without one would have taken considerably less time.
** FIREPLACE MANTEL, STAR CONSTELLATION, PURPLE LILACS, SPOTTED LEOPARD, and BABY DUCKLINGS have all been used as Toss-Ups. CHURCH HYMN, YOUNG CUB, and EGYPTIAN PHARAOH(S) (''twice!'') have been used as bonus puzzles.
** In recent years, many puzzles under the Fun & Games category have the unnecessary word "PLAYING" added in front.
** Can also apply to gameplay. When a contestant loses their turn and the puzzle is obvious, the next contestant will often spin the Wheel once, call a letter that appears once (usually the top-leftmost letter that has yet to be revealed), and solve. Hitting any dollar amount other than the top one will result in their three-digit score being raised to the house minimum of $1,000. However, many players fail to realize that they could've won that $1,000 anyway by simply solving with $0, making their spin and letter call redundant in addition to a pointless risk of spinning a penalty wedge.
*** Averted if the contestant spins with the intention of landing on the top-dollar value, any prize or tag, the Wild Card, or the Million-Dollar Wedge (this includes the Mystery Wedge only if neither one has been flipped over).
** Several times, contestants have hit ½ Car tags on occasions where winning the car is impossible (i.e., two players picking up one tag each in Round 3, especially if the first of the two also loses it to a Bankrupt).
*** It can also go the other way: a few contestants have managed to accumulate both ½ Car tags in separate rounds, then hit a ''third'' tag as well.
* DifferentInEveryEpisode: Vanna's dress.
* DoItYourselfThemeTune: From 1983 to 2000, the show used Merv Griffin's own "Changing Keys". Merv also composed a lot of the music beds used in the 80s and early 90s.
* DoubleUnlock:
** The Million-Dollar Wedge. To win the Million, the contestant has to:
### Land on the wedge, which is 1/3 the width of normal wedges and surrounded by 1/3-size Bankrupts.
### Call a letter that's in the puzzle.
### Solve that round's puzzle without first hitting a Bankrupt.
### Win the game without hitting Bankrupt.
### Land on the $1,000,000 envelope (which replaces the normal top prize of $100,000) in the Bonus Round.
### Solve the bonus puzzle.
*** Despite the large number of steps needed and the sheer odds against it, the $1,000,000 was won just a month after its introduction by a contestant who hit it on her first spin!
** The ½ Car tags. The contestant has to pick two of them up with correct letters, and solve the round(s) in which he or she claims them without losing them to Bankrupt at any point.
* DownerEnding:
** Vanna's first official episode (December 13, 1982) had some stellar gameplay: no Bankrupts, Lose A Turns, or wrong letters. However, the winner was unable to solve the bonus puzzle GEORGE BERNARD SHAW, remaining stumped on the last word until about three seconds after the buzzer.
** Whenever a contestant solves or figures out the BonusRound puzzle just after time runs out. Even more of a downer when it results in a $100,000 or $1,000,000 loss.
** Season 3 (1985-86, nighttime): According to multiple recollections, a contestant with a $60,000+ bank incorrectly solves the puzzle STAR LIGHT STAR BRIGHT FIRST STAR I SEE TONIGHT by leaving out the seventh word.
** December 5, 1985 (nighttime): A contestant misses out on winning $62,400 by guessing an "S" in the puzzle THE THRI[[spoiler:LL]] OF [[spoiler:V]]I[[spoiler:C]]TORY [[{{Irony}} AND THE AGONY OF DEFEAT]]. She then misses out on another $10,000 in the Speed-Up round.
** January/February 1989 (nighttime): A contestant has the Bonus Round puzzle MILAN ITALY the first word of which is pronounced "mi-LAHN" partially revealed. She mispronounces it as "MILL-in", then "MY-lun"[[note]]which is the pronunciation of Milan, Indiana and Milan, Michigan[[/note]], and her expression after the answer is revealed amounts to "But that's what I said!" Pat took her side and consulted with the judge during the commercial break. Unfortunately, they decided not to accept either pronunciation.
** February 18, 2005: A contestant sets a new one-round record of $54,000 in the Speed-Up and wins $60,150 overall, but loses $100,000 in the Bonus Round.
** September 10, 2007: A $100,000 loss on Season 25's premiere.
** Anyone who sweeps the game but loses the Bonus Round. On November 26, 2008, a contestant did this and lost the $100,000.
** February 27, 2009: A $100,000 loss on the 5,000th episode.
** Season 28: Ten consecutive games, ''four'' $100,000 losses. These happened on December 29, 2010; and in January 2011 on the 4th, 7th, and 11th.
*** January 4, 2011: The puzzle solution? A KNOWN FACT. The contestant's repeated guess? A'''N''' '''UN'''KNOWN FACT.
*** Incidentally, a $100,000 loss occurred exactly two years before December 29, 2010, and another $100,000 would be lost exactly one year after January 4, 2011.
** September 19-21, 2011: The first two Bonus Rounds of Season 29 were solved just after the buzzer. The third had a $100,000 loss.
** The week of November 5, 2012: Four Bonus Round wins, one of which had a contestant fill in their bonus puzzle entirely, and another who had only one letter missing from it. But on Friday, a team lost $100,000.
** December 21, 2012: Leanne wins $69,300 in the main game, including a $10,000 Mystery Prize and $36,000 in the Speed-Up, setting a new record for the highest pre-Bonus Round total. However, she loses $30,000 on a very tough BonusRound answer of HIT THE BUZZER.
** December 26, 2014: Matt absolutely blows his opponents out of the water, sweeping the game and cleaning out the show to the tune of ''[[CurbStompBattle $91,892]]'' (far surpassing the previous record for pre-Bonus Round total above), but he loses $32,000 in the bonus round.
** April 2, 2015: Contestant Whitney has $41,294 before the Bonus Round but [[spoiler:becomes the first contestant ever to lose the $1,000,000 when she was unable to solve WITHOUT A DOUBT with only the Ts and A showing.]] Even worse, [[spoiler:she would have set a new record had she solved]].
** December 23, 2015: A game that sees seven rounds of game play and all three contestants winning $10,000+ ends with a $100,000 loss.
** November 15, 2017: A pair of contestants are unable to solve the Bonus Round puzzle BAKED ZUCCHINI... [[spoiler:and become the first team to lose $1,000,000]].
** December 21, 2017: [[spoiler:Another $1,000,000 loss.]] This after the contestant won $32,100, including the ½ Car.
** January 1, 2018: The first show of 2018 ends with a $100,000 loss. To make matters worse, the final episode of that week also has a contestant losing $100,000.
** January 11, 2019: A contestant figures out the Bonus Round puzzle FLIPPING THROUGH PAGES just after the buzzer... [[spoiler:and loses the $1,000,000. As of this episode, the $1,000,000 has been lost more than it has been won]]. Even worse, ''another'' $1,000,000 loss happened on the 16th.
* DramaticTimpani: Used in the current BonusRound until 1989 on nighttime, and until 1991 on daytime. Also used for some road show intros in the 1990s and at the end of the credits from 1992-96.
* DynamicDifficulty: Many fans have noticed that the difficulty of puzzles sometimes gets jacked up after weeks with several wins. This often manifests itself in shorter maingame puzzles with few consonants, and ''especially'' in FakeDifficulty in the BonusRound.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: Oh, boy.
** Pilots
*** The 1973 pilot, ''[[http://www.gameshowgarbage.com/ind128_shoppersbazaar.html Shopper's Bazaar]]''; Lin Bolen thought a shopping element could make the show stand out, but this pilot took the idea a bit too far. The set was made to look like a department store, and the intro featured the three contestants being introduced by browsing through the "store" while the announcer described their prizes, whilst simultaneously playing their first turns each. Among other things, there was a motorized carnival-style Wheel (with a mind of its own at times, as well as Free Vowel and ''$0'' spaces), a rotary telephone to dispense clues (if a contestant landed on the "Your Own Clue" wedge, and only basic things like Person, Place, or Thing), an ugly pull-card puzzle board, a way-too-easy first attempt at a Bonus Round, a way-too-hard to understand scoring system, a rule where the contestant that won a round started the next one, a set that Bolen called "old-fashioned", and instrumental versions of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" and "Spinning Wheel" as the show's main theme and commercial outro cue respectively. [[CreatorBacklash Merv himself would later state that "everything about it was WRONG".]] Once thought to be a MissingEpisode (only about four publicity shots ever turned up in specials and retrospectives, only one of which was in color), the pilot finally surfaced in 2012 on Website/YouTube and quickly began circulating among collectors.
*** A better-received (although not by much) pair of pilots were taped in 1974, with Edd "Kookie" Byrnes as the host. A few differences were seen from these shows and the eventual premiere, including the host generally giving a clue rather than a category (e.g., "the name of something good to eat" for the puzzle SPAGHETTI, rather than the more generic categories that would be used by mid-July 1975), a consistent set of prizes to choose from throughout the episode (as opposed to going to a different platform of prizes in a subsequent round). Although there was still lots of criticism, Lin Bolen put her job on the line and NBC accepted, under the condition that Chuck Woolery was host.
** Daytime show:
*** When the show debuted in 1975, the "special" wedges (Bankrupt, Lose A Turn, Free Spin, and Buy A Vowel) had white outlines on the lettering and white borders, and spaces on the Wheel went as low as $25.
*** There originally was no rule for solving the words to a puzzle in order. After one contestant got credit for transposing the first and third words of TWEEDLEDUM AND TWEEDLEDEE, this rule was added. The only time it doesn't apply these days is when a Crossword Round is in play.
*** Also during the first year, the Speed-Up round (the round so-designated by the "Final Spin") was timed at 60 seconds (or sometimes, 2 minutes), and the contestants could not call vowels. Although not known based on existing episodes that circulate, this led to the possibility of puzzles going unsolved if the time limit expired. In late Summer or early Fall 1975, the time limit was lifted and the "no vowels" rule was modified by allowing contestants to call vowels (at no charge) after 30 seconds. By early 1976, the Speed-Up round rules as we know it came into play.
*** In the earliest days, contestants played puzzles to the last consonant and rarely bought vowels. Lin Bolen, then NBC's vice president of daytime programming, insisted on this so contestants would have more money to shop with she thought that putting more emphasis on shopping would help the show appeal better to the female demographic. Once she was ousted in 1975-76 for poor programming performance and replaced by Earl Greenburg, contestants began playing puzzles at their own pace. Also during the earliest months, each contestant (prior to the show) selected which showcase they wanted to shop first if they won the first round, with the first-round winner's choice told after the round was completed.
*** Even the Bonus Round underwent changes prior to the permanent version being implemented in December 1981. While these prior versions had the same basic rules as the ones that would become most familiar to contestants, the player chose only four consonants (plus the vowel) and did not know the category until ''after'' the chosen letters were revealed (if any). The one major difference with the hour-long and Star Bonus versions, however, was that the puzzle the player faced had everything to do with the prize s/he chose to play for that is, if you picked the Cadillac Eldorado parked onstage, you could be assured of facing a very difficult puzzle (one with few of the common consonants in it), while if you played for just a living room set, the puzzle would be fairly easy to guess with the right pick of letters. The difficulty of the puzzles starting in 1981 would have nothing to do with the prize selected.
*** During the first few years after the Bonus Round became permanent, contestants often played for lower-tier bonus prizes such as children's room furniture, a washer-dryer, a video camera-and-VCR package and a bedroom set (all in 1982-era episodes); there was speculation that the producers wanted to have contestants win at least twice before playing for the more expensive trips, cars and other grand prizes (although even then, cars and such were available during the regular rounds). Once the syndicated version took off - where contestants played for cars about 75% of the time, with expensive jewelry a distant (surprising) second - contestants on the daytime show began playing for the larger-ticket prizes on their first day more often.
** Yet another mannerism that was phased out around 1985 (at least, in the US): contestants almost always used to call their letters out phonetically (for instance, "C as in Chuck"; this is still a common practice among foreign versions), but this supposedly annoyed Merv. The producers prefer that contestants say only the letter to help minimize confusion (except when absolutely necessary, for clarification), but variants on "Can I have a(n)..." or "Is there a(n)..." aren't rare.
** After the daytime show moved to CBS, $50 and $75 were used again, and diamonds were added to these wedges on the next show. The minimum dollar value was increased back to $100 after just two months.
** In its first two seasons of use, the Jackpot wedge was modified '''six times'''.
*** To a lesser extent, the Surprise wedge and $10,000 prize wedge similarly went through redesigns shortly after they were introduced.
** The "Preview Puzzle" only lasted one season before getting replaced by Toss-Ups. For their entire first season of use, there were only two, both valued at $1,000; there was also no SplitScreen during said rounds, meaning that home viewers had no visual indication as to who had rung in. After that point, they gained a split screen, a third one was added, and the values were shifted to $1,000/$2,000/$3,000.
** The $25,000 sign introduced during the Big Month Of Cash and used for the rest of that season had a different design than the one used for the rest of that sign's existence.
** The cash prizes on the Bonus Wheel other than the $100,000 were all $25,000 for the first season it existed. In the next season, values from $30,000 to $50,000 in increments of $5,000 were introduced permanently (they were previously used for a Big Money week in the season of its introduction).
** Countless cash wedges have temporarily used different fonts, such as [[http://wheeloffortunehistory.wikia.com/wiki/File:5Kwide1984.png this $5,000 wedge with a wide font]]. This was much more common early in the show's run.
*** Additionally, mistakes in placement of wedges seemed to be much more common early in the show's run.
** For much of the early seasons, it was not uncommon for the bonus puzzle to be the longest one of the day, or for it to take up all four rows (even if it could reasonably fit on just two). From about Season 6 onward, the puzzle lengths became more balanced.
** On some Season 1 nighttime episodes, the PromotionalConsideration plugs were pre-recorded by the company instead of being read by TheAnnouncer. However, this reverted in the mid-90s.
* EarWorm: Pat often comments on the Speed-Up music as such.
* EasterEgg: Throughout Season 30, Sheldon the ceramic dalmatian was hidden somewhere on-set.
* EnforcedPlug: The Jackpot round was sponsored by various products, which got a plug at the top of the round. After the Jackpot's retirement, the Mystery Round inherited its sponsors. Some companies regularly place $1,000 gift cards on the Wheel as well.
* EpicFail:
** On at least six occasions, contestants have mispronounced a puzzle that was completely filled in, and been ruled incorrect as a result. One such occasion in January 2010 (the answer REGIS PHILBIN & KELLY RIPA) turned this UpToEleven as the contestants had already amassed ''three'' incorrect guesses before the last letter was filled in.
*** On at least two other occasions, contestants who failed to solve their Bonus Round puzzle have mispronounced it even after it was revealed entirely.
** February 18, 2004: A contestant managed to call ''four'' of the six letters which are already given in the Bonus Round. Even worse, one of them, R, was ''already in the puzzle''.
** March 2, 2006: On a Soap Stars week, a celebrity on the red team wastes time in the Speed-Up round saying "I know it!" and doesn't say the answer until after the buzzer. To add salt to the wound, the next team ''ties'' their score and wins the tiebreaker Toss-Up.
** The week of March 17, 2008 was sponsored by QVC, with {{Enforced Plug}}s all over the place. Notably, the Prize wedge was a $5,000 shopping spree for QVC merchandise, and any BonusRound win would have awarded the contestant $10,000 in QVC credit on their birthday. However, this backfired horribly, as nobody won the bonus round that week.
** On the Season 14 premiere, one poor contestant spun only once in the whole game...and hit Lose A Turn. Even worse, she didn't get to ''call a letter'', because the Speed-Up was solved before she got a turn.
*** The same thing happened on February 15, 2019: a team spun only once and landed on Lose A Turn, and did not get to participate in the Speed-Up since it was solved before they got a turn. However, they did solve the $1,000 Toss-Up (and thus got the $2,000 house minimum for team weeks).
** Between April 29 and May 24, 2019, the show set a new record for consecutive bonus round losses, as ''twenty'' episodes in a row (four weeks) managed to end in losses (shattering the previous record of 14). Even worse, this stretch included the 7,000th episode.
* EpisodeCodeNumber:
** The daytime show used strictly sequential numbers for most of its run. After the ChannelHop to CBS in 1989, a new format of "CXXX" (e.g. C001) was used, the "C" standing for "CBS". After the second ChannelHop back to NBC in 1991, the format was changed again to "DTXXX" (e.g. DT001), the "DT" standing for "daytime".
** The nighttime show uses sequential numbers prefixed with "S-" (presumably for "syndicated") to distinguish it from the daytime show. The "S-" prefix remains to this day, despite the daytime show being long gone. Rerun versions of episodes have "RR" after the number (e.g. S-6768RR). Post-production revisions append "Rev" (plus "Rev2", etc. if necessary) to the number.
* EverythingsBetterWithSparkles: The top dollar amount in each round is always on a sparkly wedge (except for the now-retired $1,000 before 1995). The Million-Dollar Wedge is sparkly, as were most iterations of the Jackpot wedge before it went neon. When the show went HD in 2006, sparkly outlines were added to all letters and numbers on the Wheel. The Wild Card is sparkly as well, along with the former Surprise Wedge (the lettering on its second iteration and the background on its third) Free Spin, Double Play, and Star Bonus tokens.
* ForegoneConclusion:
** Before $1,000 was added to the Final Spin, having it land on a lower value could guarantee the current leader a trip to the Bonus Round.
** If a contestant has a lot in their bank already and/or is holding something significant like the Million-Dollar Wedge, then it's pretty obvious that they will ''not'' flip over a Mystery wedge. Especially true on October 11, 2013, where a contestant got $11,000 from finding ''eleven'' M's at the wedge's $1,000-per-letter face value, meaning that flipping it over actually had ''less'' of a potential reward than taking the per-letter amount (since the per-letter amount is forfeited if you choose to flip it).[[note]]It turned out that the Bankrupt was on the other side, anyway.[[/note]]
* ForeignRemake: ''Pole Chudes'' ("Field of Wonders", an interesting choice taken from Alexey Tolstoi's ''Buratino''...a foreign remake of ''Pinocchio'') is very similar, except the word is an answer to a question, you can't buy a vowel, there's Black Box instead of Mystery Wedge (you can either immediately quit the show with the contents or keep playing, it can contain anything from a house to a [[{{Zonk}} cabbage]]), but the most important and memetic part is the fact that most contestants come from pretty obscure and interesting places all over Russia and bring their local crafts and so on along with them to give to the host - they are then placed in the Museum, which is seriously a lot like an ethnography museum at this point, especially considering this remake has run for 25 years and counting.
* FreudianSlip:
** On the first episode after the retirement of shopping, a contestant accidentally asked to buy an owl. Pat instantly quipped that they no longer sell birds on the show.
** On a 1989 episode, a contestant's attempts to figure out the bonus puzzle FANCY THAT, with the H in THAT hidden, accidentally led to her using "twat" in one of her guesses, which was censored by the ''Series/{{Pyramid}}'' cuckoo of all things, and Pat didn't even ''try'' to crack a joke at it.
** Many repeated letter calls over the years seem to be due to a contestant clearly having one letter on their mind but accidentally blurting out another.
* FunnyBackgroundEvent:
** Sometimes in the 1980s, Pat would scramble the letters in the bonus puzzle while announcer Jack Clark was reading the fee plugs, so that once the board was seen again near the end of the credits, it would say something funny (e.g., FRANK SINATRA becoming RANK RATS or NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS becoming NEW GLAND).
** For a while in the mid-2000s, the Jackpot round was introduced with a shot of the contestant area with the Jackpot logo superimposed over it. Sometimes, Pat would do something funny in this shot, such as read a newspaper or "fight" Vanna with a styrofoam sword.
* GenkiGuy: Marty Lublin, the traveling host for Wheelmobile contestant auditions. As he's scouting out energetic contestants, he does a lot of yelling and running around onstage.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar:
** A 1982 daytime episode had contestants filling in the puzzle DAVID HASSELHOFF, and there was a point where the H's and E's were not revealed but the A's and S's were, something that Pat made note of. He also playfully chastised a contestant on a 1983 show after solving the puzzle HELL-BENT FOR ELECTION.
** October 1989 (nighttime): The puzzle board reads _AR_EC_E S_IT. The contestant calls an "H".
** December 1994: One of the puzzles is THE NAVY'S [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tailhook_scandal TAILHOOK SCANDAL]].
** The 1994-95 season had one of the infamous "Megaword" puzzles solved as "EROTICISM"; to which afterwards [[DeadpanSnarker Pat]] quipped that "If you can use that Megaword in a sentence '''suitable for the family hour''', we'll throw in an additional $500." Pat then hints that this seemed to be a running theme that particular week, mentioning a previous puzzle pertaining to sex magazines and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking corns and warts]].
** One of the most infamous bloopers in the show's history is a November 1999 episode where a contestant thought that "A GROUP OF PILL-PUSHERS" was the answer to the puzzle.
** Although the show is rated TV-G, Pat has gotten away with a few "damn"s and "hell"s.
** In one oft-cited moment, a contestant mis-solves the puzzle FRANKLY MY DEAR I DON'T GIVE A DAMN by replacing the last word with [[GoshDarnItToHeck DARN]].
** January 7, 2011: First, after a Before & After puzzle of VICTORIA'S SECRET RECIPE, Pat remarked that it involved "two cups of sugar" (a joke he had previously done when the same puzzle was used in 1996). Then, a contestant who lost the bonus round told Pat to "[[ThatCameOutWrong show me something small]]" (in reference to the prize money), but Pat played up the AccidentalInnuendo[[invoked]] and began walking off the set. The contestant then opened up the envelope to find [[DownerEnding $100,000]].
** February 29, 2012: In the Bonus Round, a contestant confidently and without hesitation picked D, C, K, and I for his letters. While this was never confirmed to be intentional, the contestant couldn't help but smirk...[[spoiler:until the only letter he lit up was one I and failed to solve HOMETOWN FAVORITE.]]
** June 6, 2012: Round 1 is I'LL HAVE WHAT SHE'S HAVING (Movie Quote), which comes from a rather family-''un''friendly scene in ''Film/WhenHarryMetSally''. (The puzzle was used again on April 4, 2019.)
** May 13, 2013: While trying to solve the Bonus Round puzzle HALFWAY POINT with __LF___ _O_NT showing, a contestant accidentally lets the word "MILF" slip out among his random guesses of DOLPHIN ("DOLLFIN"?), DIVING, WOLFING, etc.
** Subverted twice in Season 30, literally. Two contestants have exclaimed the word "crap" after solving the Prize Puzzle, and in both cases, it was censored. The first instance was simply muted out, but the second was censored with the "wrong letter" buzzer (see SoundEffectBleep below).
** February 11, 2016: One contestant, after realizing she rang in too early on a Toss-Up, exclaimed an obscenity. Although it was mostly removed from the audio, it could still faintly be heard, plus it was made more obvious by the contestant's lips, Pat turning his head in shock, and the contestant apologizing while she and Pat stifled laughter.
** March 14, 2018: A contestant guesses "RIDING BAREBACK" for RIDING PIGGYBACK. Given that she also guessed "RIDING HORSEBACK", Pat played it off as if she meant "BEARBACK", though "BAREBACK" was displayed on the UsefulNotes/ClosedCaptioning.
** October 4, 2018: A contestant was faced with a Same Name of BRIDAL & COLD SHOWER, from which only the C was missing. Their guess? "BRIDAL & [[ToiletHumour GOLD SHOWER]]."
** One for ''Wheel 2000'': one of its several physical games involved dressing up with four letter-bearing articles of clothing to spell out valid four-letter words as quickly as possible. Thankfully, no contestant was known to have tried to spell something dirty, but it was possible to do so with the letters available.
* GoneHorriblyRight: When the show announced it was adding a $1,000,000 prize in 2008, many game show fans scoffed at the complex LuckBasedMission required to win it. It was won less than ''six weeks'' after its addition.
* GratuitousForeignLanguage: Pat is of Polish descent, and will often speak Polish to contestants who are fluent in the language and/or are of Polish decent as well.
* GuestHost:
** Alex Trebek filled in for both Chuck Woolery and Pat Sajak (having done the latter for one daytime episode in 1985 and the aforementioned April Fool's Day '97 show).
** Summer Bartholomew filled in for Susan in 1977 after she hurt her back, as did Arte Johnson (mentioned above). In 1979, Susan dislocated her shoulder in a car accident, so Summer and Cynthia Washington (ex-wife of San Francisco [=49ers=]' Gene Washington) filled in for her for just over two weeks.
** Summer, Vicki [=McCarty=], and Vanna filled in between Susan's departure and Vanna's first official episode. Susan returned for a daytime Teen Week in June 1986 so Vanna could recover from the death of her then-boyfriend.
** Tricia Gist, then-girlfriend and now-wife of Merv Griffin's son Tony, filled in for two weeks in January 1991 to accommodate for Vanna's wedding, and again two months later due to Vanna having a bad cold.
** Charlie O'Donnell filled in for Jack Clark for a few weeks in 1985 due to Jack having schedule conflicts (which ultimately led to Jack leaving ''The $25,000 Pyramid''). Charlie returned from May-June 1988 due to Jack being stricken with bone cancer, which ended his life on July 21. Until about September, Charlie and Johnny Gilbert took turns filling in on daytime before M.G. Kelly was hired. And of course, when M.G. was let go in February 1989, Charlie came back.
** Don Pardo, whose most recent game show work at that point was ''Series/{{Jackpot}}'' in 1975, served as announcer when the show went to Radio City Music Hall in November 1988.
** Johnny Gilbert also announced two weeks of shows in 1995.
** And after Charlie's death, several guest announcers [[note]](Lora Cain, Joe Cipriano, John Cramer, Rich Fields, Johnny Gilbert, and Jim Thornton)[[/note]] rotated until Jim Thornton was chosen as the permanent replacement.
** A rare example of a guest ''director''. Longtime director Mark Corwin died after directing only two weeks of Season 31. As his death came right before a set of episodes was to be taped on location in Las Vegas, ''Jeopardy!'' director Kevin [=McCarthy=], a friend of Corwin's, filled in for him. Meanwhile, subsequent tapings in Culver City used associate director Bob Cisneros, followed by a two-week batch done by technical director Robert Ennis before Cisneros was promoted to full-time director. Ennis also directed two weeks in Season 32 due to Cisneros recovering from neck surgery at the time of taping, and became the permanent director at the start of Season 33.
** Due to Pat requiring emergency surgery, Vanna hosted three weeks of episodes in Season 37. The first two had costumed Disney characters in Vanna's usual role (they were part of a Disney-sponsored Christmas week), while the third had Pat's daughter, Maggie, as hostess.
* HalloweenEpisode: Since 1997, they almost always have a specifically-themed Halloween week, often with spooky music, smoke machines, animatronic gargoyles, and even various "scary" sound effects when a contestant picks an envelope in the Bonus Round.
* HeliumSpeech: At the end of a 1998 episode, the set was decorated with balloons, and neither Pat nor Vanna could resist. The clip can be seen on the ceremonial 3,000th and 4,000th episodes.
* HilariousOuttakes: These shown up in a few special episodes, or during the post-game chats. One has Vanna repeatedly tripping over the line "What's with all the exclamation points?" when shooting a bumper for a local affiliate, followed by Pat snarking, "Don't make me come over there." Another one involved Vanna repeatedly screwing up the line "Highlight your night life" when shooting footage of herself modeling a car; one of the takes had "[[{{Spoonerism}} Highlight your knife light.]]"
* HisAndHers: In the late 1980s to early 1990s, his-and-hers cars were sometimes up for grabs in the Bonus Round.
* HurricaneOfPuns: Jim Thornton likes to ad-lib all sorts of puns pertaining to the Prize copy or, occasionally, Bonus Round prize.
* IAlwaysWantedToSayThat: In the episode where Pat plays as a contestant, he says he is "very excited" to finally utter the phrase "I'd like to buy a vowel."
* IdiosyncraticWipes: The category graphics at the bottom of the screen are usually given special wipes pertaining to that week's theme (for instance, a school bus "drives" across the category graphic on Teacher's Week). There are also wipes for the Toss-Ups and Final Spin on every episode (the Prize Puzzle one was dropped after Season 29).
* INeedAFreakingDrink:
** Edd Byrnes stated in his memoir ''Kookie No More'' that he had a few before doing the 1974 pilots. For the first pilot he was "crazy drunk", badgering a contestant who wanted to solve for $1,300 into spinning again; he kind of improved for the second pilot to "happy drunk", saying "Whee!" at some points.
** In January 2012, Pat Sajak revealed he and Vanna used to get drunk during their two-and-a-half-hour breaks between taping during the Burbank era. [[SubvertedTrope He later revealed]] that this was an exaggeration.
* InflationNegation:
** Buying a vowel. The cost was $250 in 1973, and it is still $250 in the syndicated version. As of Season 32, the ''minimum'' cash wedge on the wheel is $500, enough to buy ''two'' vowels.
** [[InvertedTrope The vowel price was reduced]] to $200 when the daytime version moved to CBS in July 1989 and cut to $100 sometime in the first half of 1990, due to that version's lower stakes.
* InstantWinCondition: Subverted if the contestant fills in the puzzle completely; he or she still has to read it off correctly. This has backfired more than once, as a few contestants over the years have been ruled incorrect for misreading a fully-revealed puzzle.
* {{Irony}}:
** The lady on a 1985 episode who called a wrong letter on THE THRILL OF VICTORY AND THE AGONY OF DEFEAT and lost over $60,000 is probably one of the most prominent examples.
** One contestant at some point failed to solve YOU WIN in the BonusRound.
* JokeAndReceive: On October 27, 2011 (an episode with a Fictional Family puzzle), Pat joked that the category had only been used eight times. At the end of the show, he was told that it actually ''had'' been used only eight times...except [[SubvertedTrope that was wrong as well]] - it was the category's ''tenth'' appearance.
* JumpCut: Present in the days that the mechanical puzzle board was used. Right after "Our category is...", they would JumpCut to the blank puzzle board and category reveal. What the home viewer didn't see was the puzzle board getting rolled back into the studio after having that round's puzzle loaded onto it.
** A rather blatant one shows up in a nighttime bonus round on May 5, 1986: the contestant says the first part of the right answer (AT MY WIT'S END) just before the buzzer, then the rest of it during and after said buzzer. Since they don't have another commercial break, the only option was to stop tape before [[spoiler:declaring that he won the Pontiac]], resulting in a very sloppy edit:
--->'''Pat:''' To my ear, it was very tight. We're gon—\\
(''jump cut'')\\
'''Offstage voice:''' [[spoiler:winner]].\\
(''[[spoiler:contestant screams and jumps up in air]]'')
** Earlier, however, the contestant made a guess that has shown up in many specials. The audience was originally silent, but ''Wheel'' added laughter to the clip for the ceremonial 4,000th nighttime show; they also [[ManipulativeEditing added a buzzer right afterward]].
** Jump cuts are also present if Pat hits something other than a dollar amount on the Final Spin, or if three (or six) consecutive wrong letters are called in the Speed-Up.
** When a round starts with a cycle of three consecutive lost turns that were edited out, the wide shot of the first spin is that of the original spin whose corresponding letter call was edited out, which always results in a jump cut with the Wheel landing in a different area than where it was originally headed. For example, if the first spin looks like it's about to land on Lose A Turn but ends up on the other side of the Wheel.
* JustFollowingOrders: Pat tends to say this when he has to take away a wedge or token, or show Bonus Round players the prize they lost.
* LaserGuidedKarma:
** During the second 1974 pilot, contestant Roseanne is pressured twice by host Edd Byrnes to keep spinning when she wants to solve. She solves three out of four puzzles, but loses by $90 (although she would have lost by only $40 if not for a scoring error).
** Matthew Fenwick, wanted for two counts of child molestation, appeared on ''Wheel'' on March 18, 1998. He won $4,400, but one of his victims recognized him while watching his show and alerted the authorities. Fenwick was arrested two days later and served 6½ years in prison.
* LaughTrack: Before the mid-90s, they ''very'' obviously used an applause machine. The "ooh"s whenever someone landed on a prize wedge or the top dollar, "Aww"s when someone hit Lose a Turn or Bankrupt, or called a wrong letter, et cetera. The show started using an applause machine again in the mid-2000s, but it's a bit harder to discern.
** In the 80's, the famous "Look at this studio!" intro was filled with canned reactions to the prizes. One of the most noticeable ones was the sound of men shouting "Yeah!" and "Ow!".
** In the early-to-mid 90's, an "Oooh..." would often sound when the top dollar or prize wedges would whiz by in the overhead shot, even if the Wheel stopped several wedges past.
** In the aforementioned "AT MY WIT'S END" Bonus Round, the "audience" groaned loudly in sync with the buzzer even as the contestant solved.
** Canned audience sounds are becoming more prevalent in TheNewTens with the occasional delayed gasps when a contestant just misses a Bankrupt, or "ooh"s if someone hits the Million Dollar Wedge.
** The show's social media pages will sometimes upload clips of closing segments. These usually do not contain the extra laughter and applause sounds added in when the episode is shown on TV. One segment involved Pat trying to reveal a letter on the puzzle board to no avail. When it aired on TV, raucous laughter was heard as Pat tried to reveal the letter, but the clip on the show's Website/YouTube channel was the segment exactly as recorded in the studio, which had no laughter at all.
* LikeAnOldMarriedCouple: Parodied on a 1997 episode where, in the final segment, Pat and Vanna are at a table, respectively reading a newspaper and knitting. They both joke that people often interpret them as a married couple (even though in RealLife, both are happily married to different people), with Pat nodding and bluntly finishing all of Vanna's sentences.
* LiteralMinded: One contestant, after being told by Pat to "throw to commercial", literally throws the Prize wedge she won, much like Pat in the 1980s-90s, actually.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfRules: The game has become increasingly complex in the 2000s, with the likes of the Jackpot, Gift Tag, Toss-Ups, Mystery wedges, Wild Card, Million Dollar Wedge, Free Play, ½ Car tags, etc.
* LoopholeAbuse:
** Attempted on the Megaword puzzle PROLIFERATION. When asked to use it in a sentence for a $500 bonus, the contestant said "The contestants did not know what the word 'proliferation' meant." [[DefiedTrope It bizarrely didn't work.]]
** On November 10, 2015, contestant Nura went viral for calling obviously wrong letters like Q or getting buzzed out on every turn she got in the Speed-Up. Consensus seems to be that she did this on purpose to allow one of her opponents to win money.
* LuckBasedMission: Whenever a contestant lands on a Mystery Wedge. One contains a $10,000 cash prize (previously, it could contain a compact car or other prize in the $10,000 range) on the flip side, and the other contains a Bankrupt. The contestant may choose to take its "face value" of $1,000 (originally $500) per letter, or forfeit that amount and flip it over. If one is flipped over, the other one functions as a regular cash space for the rest of that round.
** Depending on the game the Bonus Puzzle can be this. Picture it, you get to the last puzzle with a prize on the line, the puzzle is typically something general (typically "Thing(s)") depending on where the R,S,T,L,N,E end up and how many vowels are in the puzzle (you only get E and one of your own) you could end up filling the whole thing in yourself or end up with an unsolvable puzzle with only a few letters showing on the board.
* LuckyCharmsTitle: In the show's two-line logo, the "O" in "of" is rendered as a wheel.
** During Tennis Week in 2018, the "o" in "of" was replaced with a tennis ball, while the wheel-shaped "O" was moved down to replace the one in "fortune".
* {{Metaphorgotten}}: At the end of an episode from the first week of Season 21, he and Vanna reminisced on how long they were doing the show. Pat then said, "It's like riding a bicycle: I'm all sweaty and my rear end hurts."
* MissingTheGoodStuff: Although ''Wheel'' is a syndicated program, it is only scheduled to air in the hour before primetime, and never earlier than 7:00 PM Eastern. This often results in the show getting pre-empted by sporting events, award shows, or local special programming. In Boston and Nashville, ''Wheel'' is pre-empted at least once a week during football season in favor of locally-produced shows on the cities' NFL teams.
* MissionPackSequel: One of the computer game adaptations, ''Wheel of Fortune 2003'', is pretty much the exact same game as ''Wheel of Fortune 2nd Edition'', with a different puzzle bank and with Vanna's FMV clips redone. Otherwise, it's aesthetically exactly the same, down to all the theming, menus, music, and everything else.
* MoonLogicPuzzle:
** Some of the bonus puzzles practically seem set up to be lost. In the 1990s, it wasn't rare to see three- to five-letter answers, often compounded in difficulty by not having any RSTLNE in them. BABY BOY, WIG, WAX, and ZOO all occurred in October 1992 alone (and amazingly, all but WIG were solved; BABY BOY in particular was solved with '''no letters showing'''). YO-YO and I DO (1993 and 1996, respectively) were also solved.
*** Since about Season 20, the difficulty is usually ramped up by relying heavily on rarely-called letters (e.g. JAZZ BAND), vowels (e.g. OAK BUREAU), arcane and outdated phrases (e.g. WHAT A BUSYBODY), completely arbitrary noun-adjective pairings (e.g. FAVORITE MUG, AVID HIKER, WILDLY HAPPY GUY, WACKY NEIGHBOR(S) {twice!}), or some combination of the above (e.g. JACUZZI BUBBLES).
*** Pretty much ''any'' bonus puzzle with the word QUIZ in it.
*** In rare occurrences, RSTLNE will reveal only the S at the end of a pluralized puzzle (e.g. HIGHWAYS, WHIZ KIDS).
** A Clue puzzle in 1993 reading SILENT BUTLER'S TARGETS proved to be this, as none of the contestants ''or'' Pat knew what a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_butler silent butler]] was.
** {{Defied|Trope}} by the bonus puzzle NEW BABY BUGGY on March 19, 2014, a typical example of the "random adjective/noun pairing" style of bonus puzzle. After picking three more consonants and a vowel, the contestant was still faced with only the N and E and solved it in about two seconds.
* MsFanservice: An arcade edition of ''Wheel'' released in the late 1980's featured a ''very'' busty "Vanna", resembling a blonde [[Film/WhoFramedRogerRabbit Jessica Rabbit]]. Her sprites even featured JigglePhysics whenever she clapped.
* MultipleEndings:
** Three episodes in Season 30 each had two closing segments filmed due to one of them featuring a celebrity promoting a network television program despite ''Wheel'' being syndicated. Whichever one aired depended on the network affiliate.
*** November 1, 2012: Tom Bergeron promotes ''Series/DancingWithTheStars''; aired on ABC affiliates only.
*** January 7, 2013: The cast of ''[[Series/DragonsDen Shark Tank]]'' promote their new season; aired on ABC affiliates only.
*** March 1, 2013: Julie Chen promotes ''Series/TheTalk'' and ''Series/BigBrother''; ''intended'' for air on CBS affiliates only, but accidentally aired on all stations in the U.S. and even Canada. However, the episode reran over a year later on May 3, 2014 with the other closing.
** The original closing for the November 5, 2010 episode (with the famous I'VE GOT A GOOD FEELING ABOUT THIS solve) [[TooSoon never aired]], as it was replaced by a tribute to Charlie O'Donnell, who passed away earlier that week. The episode reran in September 2011, but still with the tribute.
** When the May 29, 2013 episode reran that September, the original closing was replaced with a tribute to director Mark Corwin, who passed away in July.
* MusicalGag: On a 2004 episode, the ThemeTune of the then-still-airing Australian version was used as a music bed when Charlie described a trip to Australia which was that day's Prize.
* MustMakeAmends: On several occasions, contestants have made repeat appearances due to game-changing errors on their first episode. This includes at least three confirmed instances in Season 6 alone (one of whom appeared on the season premiere, and was brought back in February), plus instances in 2004, 2008, and 2018.
[[/folder]]



** The Sony Card is ubiquitous, along with the Sony Rewards program, since the show is produced by Sony's television division.

to:

** The Sony Card is used to be ubiquitous, along with the Sony Rewards program, since the show is produced by Sony's television division.


Added DiffLines:

* ProgressiveJackpot:
** The Jackpot wedge, of course. It started at $5,000 and had the value of each spin added to it; to win it, the contestant had to hit the Jackpot wedge, call a correct letter, then solve right away. Retired at the end of Season 30.
** From 1986-88 on the daytime show, a different Jackpot was played. Similar to the nighttime Prize wedge (picked up when landed on, had to avoid Bankrupt and then solve the puzzle to claim the prize), this Jackpot was an accruing cash prize that began at $1,000 and increased by $1,000 per show until won.
** Played straight by the Spanish version using the "Bote" wedge (which works pretty much the same as the nighttime Jackpot on the American show described above), but also inverted with the "Prueba de Velocidad Decreciente" (Decreasing Speed Round)--a Toss-up puzzle valued at 2,000 euros that decreases by a set amount for each letter revealed in the puzzle. The player who solves the puzzle wins whatever is showing on the counter when they solve.


Added DiffLines:

* RetiredGameShowElement: Several, as far back as Buy a Vowel in the show's early days, with the shopping round likely the most famous example in the medium. See that page for details.


Added DiffLines:

* RulesSpiel:
** From the Shopping era: "Be careful not to hit Bankrupt because if you do, you lose your cash but not your merchandise because once you buy a prize, it's yours to keep."
** Before Speed-Up rounds: "[That sound means time is running out.] I'll give the Wheel a final spin. I'll ask you to give me a letter and if it's in the puzzle, you'll have three seconds (five until 1999) to solve it. Vowels worth nothing, consonants worth -- (beginning in October 1999) we'll add a thousand to that, $[dollar amount] apiece. Again, [Category Title] is the category for this round. [Contestant], it's still your turn; a letter."
** Until Toss-Up Puzzles were introduced: "Just before the show, we drew numbers to see who would start."
** "We are playing for cash." -- Pat used this after shopping was ousted and still found it necessary until ''ten years'' after the change.


Added DiffLines:

* ShowTheFolksAtHome:
** The short-lived Preview Puzzle, used only in Season 17. A partially filled in puzzle was shown to the home audience, and after the intro, Vanna would reveal the answer on the puzzle board.
** From the second month of Season 23 through Season 30, the home audience was always shown what is on the other side of a Mystery Wedge if one was landed on. Starting in Season 31, they are now shown only if the contestant declines to flip it over.
** Beginning in Season 36, all letter guesses are accompanied by a subtitle-like graphic displaying that letter.


Added DiffLines:

* SpeedRound:
** The Speed-Up round (Final Spin). Vowels worth nothing, consonants worth the amount landed on (plus $1,000 since 1999). Unlike most examples of this trope, Speed-Ups have no overall time limit (although apparently they did very early on), only the three seconds (originally five) that a player is given to solve if they find a letter.
** Another variant is the Express wedge, introduced in Season 31. Whenever a contestant hits the wedge, they can opt to stop spinning and keep calling letters for $1,000 a pop, but calling a wrong letter has the same effect as a Bankrupt.


Added DiffLines:

* ThinkMusic: A light music bed plays under Toss-Ups and the Speed-Up round since the 2000s. Also, a 10-second beeping timer initially played during the BonusRound, but it has been replaced by another music bed.


Added DiffLines:

* UndesirablePrize: Arguably every shopping-era prize that wasn't a car, all-expenses-paid vacation, or possibly [[PrettyInMink fur coat]] could count, but everyone remembers the $154 ceramic Dalmatian. The late 80s-early 90s also had some real stinkers in the Bonus Round, such as a build-your-own log cabin kit, a silver tea serving set, a "shipboard party" (something that even Pat made fun of), or historical documents signed by famous people. Arguably, the gift tags could also fall under this, depending on whether or not someone actually wants a Lobstergram or a $1,000 UsefulNotes/{{Kmart}} shopping spree.


Added DiffLines:

* {{Whammy}}: Bankrupt and Lose A Turn. At least the latter lets you keep your cash/prizes/etc. The show provides the page image.


** Vanna finally got to host for real during the Secret Santa Sweepstakes in December 2019. This was due to Pat recovering from intestinal surgery at the time of taping. As the week was also a Disney tie-in, [[WesternAnimation/MickeyMouse Mickey]] and WesternAnimation/MinnieMouse took turns filling Vanna's usual role.

to:

** Vanna finally got to host for real during the Secret Santa Sweepstakes three weeks in December 2019. This was due to Pat recovering from intestinal surgery at the time of taping. As the week was also a Season 37. The first two, being Disney tie-in, [[WesternAnimation/MickeyMouse Mickey]] tie-ins, had Mickey and WesternAnimation/MinnieMouse took turns filling Vanna's Minnie Mouse in her usual role.role, while the third had Pat's daughter Maggie instead.


** Although Harry Friedman is the Executive Producer of both game shows, he is more commonly recognized for ''Jeopardy!''

to:

** Although Harry Friedman is If an online poll asks "''Wheel of Fortune'' or ''Jeopardy!''?", expect the Executive Producer of both game shows, he is more commonly recognized for ''Jeopardy!''latter to win by a landslide, along with comments such as, "How could anyone like ''Wheel'' better than ''Jeopardy!''?"


** Pat will often refer to the "season number times $1,000" prize in the Bonus Round as the "minimum", even though the value of the car prize is usually lower.

to:

** Pat will often refer to the "season number times $1,000" prize in the Bonus Round as the "minimum", even though although the value of the car prize (especially since Season 33) is usually lower.

Added DiffLines:

** A contestant that solves a NintendoHard Bonus Round puzzle with very few letters, only to win the minimum prize or a car of lesser value.


* "Say everything, don't add anything" for when a contestant solves a Crossword Clue.

to:

* ** "Say everything, don't add anything" for when a contestant solves a Crossword Clue.

Added DiffLines:

* "Say everything, don't add anything" for when a contestant solves a Crossword Clue.


Added DiffLines:

** When a contestant is ready to solve a Crossword Clue, Pat will tell them "say everything, don't add anything", which is a reminder to the contestant that even adding "and" before the final word would nullify their response.


** On November 10, 2015, a contestant intentionally called obviously wrong letters like Q, or got buzzed out, every time the Speed-Up got around to her. The going theory is that she was deliberately calling wrong letters either to avoid giving information to her opponents that could help them solve the puzzle (which pretty much didn't work -- one of them solved anyway, though she still won), or that she was being generous and throwing the round so that they could rack up some money (which ''could'' have backfired, as the Final Spin was enough that one of them could've overtaken her).

to:

** On November 10, 2015, a contestant intentionally called Nura went viral for calling obviously wrong letters like Q, Q or got getting buzzed out, out on every time turn she got in the Speed-Up got around Speed-Up. Consensus seems to her. The going theory is be that she was deliberately calling wrong letters either did this on purpose to avoid giving information to allow one of her opponents that could help them solve the puzzle (which pretty much didn't work -- one of them solved anyway, though she still won), or that she was being generous and throwing the round so that they could rack up some money (which ''could'' have backfired, as the Final Spin was enough that one of them could've overtaken her).to win money.


** June 6, 2012: Round 1 is I'LL HAVE WHAT SHE'S HAVING (Movie Quote), which comes from a rather family-''un''friendly scene in ''Film/WhenHarryMetSally''.

to:

** June 6, 2012: Round 1 is I'LL HAVE WHAT SHE'S HAVING (Movie Quote), which comes from a rather family-''un''friendly scene in ''Film/WhenHarryMetSally''. (The puzzle was used again on April 4, 2019.)


** Vanna finally got to host for real during the Secret Santa Sweepstakes in December 2019. This was due to Pat recovering from intestinal surgery at the time of taping. As the week was also a Disney tie-in, [[WesternAnimation/MickeyMouse Mickey]] and WesternAnimation/MinnieMouse]] took turns filling Vanna's usual role.

to:

** Vanna finally got to host for real during the Secret Santa Sweepstakes in December 2019. This was due to Pat recovering from intestinal surgery at the time of taping. As the week was also a Disney tie-in, [[WesternAnimation/MickeyMouse Mickey]] and WesternAnimation/MinnieMouse]] WesternAnimation/MinnieMouse took turns filling Vanna's usual role.


* In a March 2012 episode, after a contestant [[DownerEnding lost the $100,000]], Pat said in the closing segment, "We've given away the $100,000 this season", even though that hadn't happened yet by airing order. The episode referred to was [[OutofOrder taped beforehand]], but would not air for another month.

to:

* ** In a March 2012 episode, after a contestant [[DownerEnding lost the $100,000]], Pat said in the closing segment, "We've given away the $100,000 this season", even though that hadn't happened yet by airing order. The episode referred to was [[OutofOrder taped beforehand]], but would not air for another month.


Added DiffLines:

* StealthPun: The Triple Toss-Ups on December 13, 2019 in the category of "Food & Drink" had this: PEPPERONI PIZZA, PICKLED PEPPERS, and DOUBLE HELPING OF PEAS. Each of the previous two answers had two sets of the letter P in it; i.e., a "double helping of P's".


** Various "Greatest Game Shows of All Time" lists almost-always place ''Wheel'' a small number of spots below ''Jeopardy!''.

to:

** Various "Greatest Game Shows of All Time" lists almost-always place ''Wheel'' a small number of spots below ''Jeopardy!''.''Jeopardy!''



** 2019: The weekend prior, Pat tweets an announcement of a "major prank" and tells viewers to watch the show to spot it. At the end of the show, Pat announces that there ''was'' no prank, therefore fooling the viewers who spent the episode looking for one.

to:

** 2019: The weekend prior, Pat tweets an announcement of a "major prank" and tells viewers to watch the show to spot it. At the end of the show, Pat announces that there ''was'' [[TheUnReveal was no prank, prank]], therefore fooling the viewers who spent the episode looking for one.one.
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: Sometimes invoked with the Triple Toss-Ups, which often have a common theme to the answer. Usually the third one will be a "lighter" variant on the theme than the other two, such as THE FRENCH RIVIERA, THE ITALIAN ALPS, and NEW JERSEY TURNPIKE, or MEMBER OF CONGRESS, STATE SENATOR, and DOGCATCHER.


* NoDamageRun:
** Any contestant who manages to go through an entire game without ever hitting Bankrupt or Lose a Turn or calling a wrong letter.
** Any contestant who hits Express on their first spin and successfully completes the "ride".

to:

* NoDamageRun:
** Any
NoDamageRun:[[invoked]] Invoked if a contestant who manages to go through an entire game without ever hitting Bankrupt or Lose a Turn or calling a wrong letter.
** Any contestant who hits
lands on Express on their the first spin spin, and successfully completes fills in the "ride".entire puzzle with it.


** Sometimes invoked if Pat hits $5,000 in the Final Spin. With a $1,000 bonus in later years, that's $6,000 per consonant in a game that usually averages $10,000-$20,000 for the winner. Also invoked if the Prize Puzzle prize is particularly expensive (most are in the $8,000 range or so; some can be upwards of $12,000, especially during team weeks). In one particularly egregious example, a contestant went into Round 4 with $27,600 but still ended up losing because an opponent benefited greatly from a $6,000 Final Spin.

to:

** Sometimes invoked if Pat hits $5,000 in the Final Spin. With a $1,000 bonus in later years, that's $6,000 per consonant in a game that usually averages $10,000-$20,000 for the winner. Also invoked if the Prize Puzzle prize is particularly expensive (most are in the $8,000 range or so; some (they start at $7,000, but can be upwards of $12,000, especially during team weeks). In one particularly egregious example, a contestant went into Round 4 with $27,600 but still ended up losing because an opponent benefited greatly from a $6,000 Final Spin.

Showing 15 edit(s) of 647

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report