Show Discussion: Wheel of Fortune

By | January 4, 2024

Saturday, 6pm,

The double for Whisper/Sony.

And I’m afraid I think this is another one of those “shows too prosaic to work here in 2024” and it is at least fun to see the hypothesis tested, it’s not really all that interesting a game and now there’s an hour of it.

I am a little less down on this than with Jeopardy! though, it sounds like we’re getting about 15 puzzles across the hour, although many of those form part of regular triple toss-ups. For the first time we’re playing for actual money, and it sounds like there might be a very reasonable amounts flying about (and the losers get to take theirs home, I understand), £500 for all the toss-ups, the money on the Wheel increasing to a top whack of a possible £2,000 in the final bit, a prize puzzle bonus round halfway through and up to £50,000 in the endgame if they get lucky, they have at least put some thought into this. The set looks terrific and Graham Norton’s a very surprising choice of host, although what a comic is going to be able to make jokes about (“sorry, there’s no D”) I don’t know. Ultimately it is just Wheel of Fortune. Perhaps interestingly, perhaps not, there’s no co-host/letter turner. Is this the first version without one?

6pm makes it quite difficult to criticise whatever ratings it gets really, but what’s of note is that it’s pushing ratings banker Celebrity Catchphrase – usually good for the best part of 3.5m-4m overnight leading into The Masked Singer (for ref, it was doing 4.2m in +7 last January) back to 5pm. I guess the best way to work out if ITV are happy with it or not is that it lasts all six weeks at 6pm and they don’t swap them around. And of course from week 2 there’s the Ultimate 90s Off as it competes against Gladiators on BBC1.

Let us know what you think in the comments.

18 thoughts on “Show Discussion: Wheel of Fortune

  1. Alex

    I applied for this but heard nothing yet so will assuredly be watching through gritted teeth. I do genuinely hope it’s a success (if Catchphrase can get 3.5-4m overnight, this will want 3m overnights through the series at least).

  2. Brekkie

    I’m a bit worry this will suffer from the stretch to an hour and really worried it’ll take more from the US show than the original UK run – we already know it’ll take the “toss up” puzzles but if everyone ends up buying vowels all the time and the end game gives them virtually half the alphabet that will be a step back from the original UK run.

    Good to see ITV stump up £50k an episode though – same as Catchphrase but more than most other standard gameshows (outside the “big money” shows). Indeed it’s only a couple of years ago they cut the Epic Gameshow prizes from £30k to £20k for it’s final run.

  3. Richard Withers

    I’m one of those people who like seeing UK versions of classic US gameshows so I’m hoping that Wheel Of Fortune along with Jeopardy! become successful. My only Problem with Wheel of Fortune and I might be Nitpicking here is that there is no letter turner but that’s just my opinion

  4. Henry R

    The clapping and whooping after every spin is rage inducing.

    It really needs an assistant for Graham to bounce off too.

  5. Mark A

    First episode in the books. Here are my quick thoughts:

    I enjoyed it and there seems to be a lot of money behind it given Graham Norton (Who was pretty decent) is involved, and there is the potential for contestants to win a decent sum of money and a prize or two (Even before the final bonus round, where the minimum prize is a decent £15,000).

    I do have some complains though. Firstly, having a holiday bonus round in the middle of the show really kills the momentum of the main game.

    Also, for a show called “Wheel of Fortune”, the actual “wheel” rounds feel inconsequential when the minimum prize is only £500, especially later on when the toss-ups are would double that in the second half.

  6. Andrew Sullivan

    I liked the presentation, the main nitpick I have is that there’s none of the extra stuff on the wheel like the American version has, just a couple of Prize tokens. No Wild card, no 1/2 Car tokens, etc. I know they can’t exactly do a Million Pound wedge, but how about a £100k wedge instead?

  7. Clive

    Not a big WoF fan in the first place, but I thought that was alright! Surprisingly chill for a Saturday night show, could maybe do with a gimmick or two on the wheel to liven things up once it’s settled in, but for now that was an jolly enough way to spend an hour.

  8. Brekkie

    As expected they’ve completely disregarded what worked in the UK and gone with the US format – the music especially is terrible, feels so dated.

    The big issue though is over half the money was won in the Toss Up puzzles which really should just be filler, not more important than the main games. £9k was up for grabs in those but only around £5k won in the main games.

  9. Daniel

    I was really looking forward to this reboot i loved the show’s format originally but after watching this new one with Graham Norton i honestly think it’s a disaster they have messed the entire thing up. It was very confusing having a crossword and linking words puzzles i didn’t understand any of that why they didn’t stick to standard phrases for the whole show i don’t know. The mini toss up puzzles was clearly a filler to make the show an hour. In the old shows after getting every puzzle correct they won a prize and they could pick out of 3 things in the VT i didn’t like the fact that element was taken out it felt like they was tight for budget only giving out three prizes in the whole show. The audience clapping after every single letter was right was getting on my nerves it was getting very annoying after a while also the part at the end where she played for the big money i didn’t get why several letters was picked before she picked letters and a vowel. It just felt jumbled up even the theme tune wasn’t very good they should have stuck to the original theme tune but just freshened it up slightly to make it feel less old fashioned. I am very disappointed i so wanted this to be good but it just didn’t have the feel that the original had. Production company Whisper North are in my bad books this week with two failed reboots

    1. Des Elmes

      No disrespect whatsoever, Daniel, but… if you have never, *ever* seen even one second of the American version, then my jaw is going to be on the floor for quite some time.

  10. Mark A

    One more thing I forgot to mention, the Sound mixing during the wheel rounds was just awful, the audience is so loud that it actually drowns out the sound of the wheel! So if you are hard of hearing, you wouldn’t know the wheel was being spun until you saw it on screen.

    Hopefully that is something they can fix for future episodes, but I’m not holding my breath!

  11. Greg

    I thought it was really boring. For a show that is about spinning the wheel there wasn’t enough of that for me it just lacked excitement.

    Way too Americanised lost any charm the British version had

    Graham had to do a lot of heavy lifting I can see why they didn’t go for Alison

  12. Brig Bother Post author

    I thought it was probably about as slick a version that lasts an hour as any, I’m glad Graham eventually stopped going “you’re playing for…” after each spin.

    I do think the lack of rising stakes on the Wheel as the show goes on makes it quite an irritating watch, especially as the toss-ups do increase, it’s like the Wheel is a guest at its own party – I know the top wedge increases as the rounds progress but everything else stays £100-£400, it all starts feeling a bit one-note when people are consistently winning three-figures for solving a puzzle. You can probably get away with keeping the £500 and £750 on the Wheel when bigger values come up as a minimum, although I’m not the accountant obviously. The lack of extra money on the line in the speed up round really feels like ending on a bit of a damp squib.

    1. Josh Woo

      Welcome to what made the American version dull to watch 10 years ago!

  13. Magnus Torkelsen

    Argh, this was a missed opportunity.

    I seem to be going against the grain but I’ll stick my neck out there and say Norton isn’t bad at this at all. He’s got a good rapport with the contestants, and dropped the useless catchphrases early

    The real problem is… this feels like a Sunday night at 7pm show. Somehow I reckon it would have worked better there, as a lead-in to the new Millionaire series. And if Gladiators is getting ridiculous numbers (Almost 7 million? Really?) it will have to be ITV’s sacrificial lamb, which isn’t right for this show.

    Also – why change the theme tune? Okay, I’ve heard the whole “American format = American theme tune” thing before, but “Changing Keys” (is that what it’s called?) has next to no significance for British audiences. Compared to the beautiful original theme tune, it seems dull. Why have cotton when you can have silk? I haven’t seen a full episode of the US version as I’m not a fan of the format generally, but it seems totally unnecessary.

    5/10. I keep watching for Graham, but even he struggles to save this one.

  14. Brig Bother Post author

    2.1m for ep 2, against Gladiators, so quite a drop.

    I struggled quite a bit watching it on catch-up, it has content, but an hour of it feels stodgy.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.