For the first time in over four decades, Wheel of Fortune is coming to prime time television. ABC's staple game show series will be kicking off an eight-week Celebrity Wheel of Fortune event on Thursday night, airing at 8 pm ET. Wheel of Fortune usually airs in the early evenings ahead of the prime time schedule, along with Jeopardy. However, for this celebrity edition, the action is being broadcast at a later time, in order to make it a more popular event.
The first episode of Celebrity Wheel of Fortune will feature SNL alum Leslie Jones, Grey's Anatomy star Chandra Wilson, and skateboarding legend Tony Hawk as its first trio of contests. Other celebrities that are slated to appear in future episodes include Karamo Brown, Chrissy Metz, Drew Carey, Jennie Garth, Chris Harrison, and more.
"As far as the game, it's going to be the same," longtime Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak told EW. "We've jazzed up the set a bit, made it look a little more prime-timey, whatever that means. And it's going to be a different kind of vibe. We want [the contestants] to play a good, solid game, but we're mainly there to have fun. It'll be a little lighter in attitude."
It may be surprising to learn that there has never been a Celebrity Wheel of Fortune game before. According to Sajak, that's because they never wanted to make people sick of the show.
"Part of it is, we've always been careful about not getting the show overexposed," Sajak said. "We've been on a very long time, and I don't know how much Wheel is too much, but you don't want to water the product down too much. And this seemed like the time to do it because of what's going on in the world. Wheel of Fortune is kind of a sign of normalcy for people; they were very glad to have us back on the air. So this seemed like a good time to expand into prime time a little bit, at least one time, and extend that normalcy. And also, the networks frankly need programming. A lot of stuff can't shoot the way [we] do, so the timing worked out. It was good for everybody."
Are you looking forward to the premiere of Celebrity Wheel of Fortune on Thursday night? Let us know in the comments!