Whether it be the continued influence of COVID-19, or trying to appeal to younger audiences into the future, more changes are coming to the sets of Wheel of Fortune’ and ‘The Price is Right.’ As your neighborhood game show enthusiast, today I shall evaluate them.
There are many that have been announced, as you should become aware of if you’re a regular viewer. This should be fun!
Maggie Sajak goes for a spin
Anyone remember when Pat Sajak’s daughter, Maggie Sajak, took over the puzzle board when Vanna White filled in for Pat in 2019? Well, I do. She did a very decent job keeping the letters warm until Pat came back. And now, Maggie is the show’s social media correspondent.
Leave it to the youngster to keep things social, especially as the audience remains socially distant from the set this season! Pat and Vanna have signed on through 2024, by the way.
Theirs will be tough shoes to fill when the time comes, they are one true pairing…
Pat will not give the wheel a final spin
That’s not a misprint, readers: This season, Pat will no longer be the one to spin the wheel after the ship’s bell tolls each night. Instead, the contestant in control of the board will make that final spin to determine the dollar amount every consonant is worth in the speed round.
“If you think about it, by doing the ‘final spin’ I, as host, had an impact on the outcome of the game and that has always bothered me because it just didn’t feel right,” Pat told Maggie in an online exclusive. “With this change, only the contestants determine the outcome of the game and the host does not impose themself in any way.”
No to be argumentative but I tend to disagree with you on that move, Pat; I’ve long felt that the host giving the final spin has been one of the best parts of the game because of your influence. Back before the editing booth started cutting them in 1997, your flubbed spins made for great television and gave you a chance to further express your sense of humor: “The host can’t get a surprise; He has enough of those.” Remember that one?
But I can see why stepping back from the final spin makes sense at your age. After all, you’ve done it 7,000 times! I imagine that makes an arm feel rather tired…
“Changing keys” is back
Also this season, the old ‘Changing Keys’ theme from the ‘80s has been reworked for 2021. My roommate heard it and, like me, believes it needs some livening up. In fact, he said it reminds him more of an evening news theme, compared to the 2017 theme. Admittedly, it hits differently than the previous themes, and feels like it needs more whimsy, or something like that.
And the ‘Free Play’ wedge is out, as the $850 wedge takes over. Sorry free spin, it looks like you retired for nothing.
Jeopardy! sees some updates
Across the Sony Pictures Sudio lot in Culver City, California, the set of Jeopardy! has seen some refurbishments, specifically incorporating a starry sky introduced during its Greatest of All Time tourney early last year. Also, as announced on Monday’s season premiere, Stage 10, where Jeopardy! is produced, has been renamed “The Alex Trebek Stage” in his honor.
But those nice touches are being seriously overshadowed…
By now, you’re likely aware Mike Richards was slated to take over for Alex Trebek as Jeopardy! host, before being ousted over sexist comments he made years ago in a podcast. Now, Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings will take over the podium after Richards’ single week of episodes finish airing this week.
Obviously, Jeopardy! has had a crazy year since Trebek passed. I’ve had my concerns about who will eventually become the new host, because they will need to prove as personable and intelligent (and funny) as Trebek was. However, I can tell the staff are trying hard to pick the right person.
Having said that, even I must admit Jennings is an acquired taste. But so was Bob Barker when he first got the job at ’The Price is Right,” or so I’ve read.
Speaking of “The Price is Right,” join me next time for part two of this report, when I will talk about changes at “The Price is Right” and Jay Leno’s game show hosting debut.
Wait, what? LENO?! Stay tuned.