As one of the longest-running game shows on television, Wheel of Fortune has only grown in popularity over the past few decades. The fun-filled competition series is a favorite in the nightly television lineup, with participants all vying for an epic prize. Host Pat Sajak has certainly won over the audience with his infectious personality. Keep scrolling for answers to all of your burning questions about the series, including how to audition.
The first episode of Wheel of Fortune premiered in 1975 as part of NBC’s morning lineup. The episodes of the series, created by Merv Griffin, were typically 30 minutes long. In 1983, a syndicated nightly version of Wheel of Fortune debuted on cable. The series later moved to CBS. The daytime version ended its run in 1991.
The series is filmed at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, California, in front of a live studio audience. Tickets to join the audience for a taping of the show can be requested on the official website by selecting the date of an upcoming taping.
To apply to be a contestant on Wheel of Fortune, you must fill out an application on the show’s official website. All applications must have an attached photo of the potential contestant. If selected for the next round, you will be contacted for a virtual audition.
Pat has been the host of the nightly version of Wheel of Fortune since the inaugural season in 1983. Vanna White has also been his cohost since the very beginning. The pair also cohost the spinoff Celebrity Wheel of Fortune which began airing in 2021.
The daytime version of Wheel of Fortune was previously hosted by Chuck Woolery and Susan Stafford. Other former hosts included Rolf Benirschke and Bob Goen.
Pat has an estimated net worth of $70 million and a salary of $14 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Vanna has an estimated net worth of $85 million and a salary of $10 million, per Celebrity Net Worth.
With more than 7,000 episodes of the series, it may come as a shock that only a few contestants have won the full $1 million prize. Michelle Loewenstein, Autumn Erhard and Sarah Manchester have all taken home $1 million while competing on the show. Melissa Joan Hart also won the prize on Celebrity Wheel of Fortune for charity.
“I would like to say witchcraft was involved,” the Sabrina the Teenage Witch alum joked about her win to USA Today in October 2021. “But to be honest, I prayed a lot more than any kind of sorcery. I literally prayed every round, especially that winning round. I’d close my eyes and say, ‘God, give me focus and calm and let me just read these letters.'”
Despite rumblings that Vanna was looking to exit the franchise, she has not made any formal announcement about leaving.
“I can’t imagine. Everybody relates Wheel of Fortune to Pat and Vanna. We’re like Ken and Barbie, you know?” the Vanna Speaks author told People in December 2022. “We’ve been in everybody’s homes for 40 years, so it would be weird having somebody else turn my letters.”
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