“Wheel of Fortune” underwent all kinds of changes this week, including a new role for host Pat Sajak’s daughter, Maggie.
Maggie grew up on the “Wheel of Fortune” set, which her dad has helmed with Vanna White since the show’s start in 1981. Now, the 26-year-old will run the show’s social media accounts as its official social correspondent. According to TODAY, she’ll actually participate as an “online host,” conducting interviews with contestants and staff while also sharing exclusive videos.
This won’t be Maggie’s first rodeo on the “Wheel of Fortune” set. Back in 2019, she stepped in for Vanna White while the letter-turner stepped in for Sajak. He had to deal with a few medical issues, putting White in the host spot and Maggie as the temporary letter-turner.
For a while, rumors circulated that 74-year-old Sajak and 64-year-old White would retire from the show soon. But Sony Pictures Television quickly put those rumors to rest, recently renewing the duos’ contracts until 2024.
“Wheel of Fortune”‘s executive producer, Mike Richards, recently stepped down amid tons of controversy. Sony tapped him to host “Jeopardy!”, but when problematic comments emerged from his past, Richards decided to step as host and executive producer. Now, Sajak will fill in as a consulting producer in addition to his regular hosting duties.
Some other key changes: Announcer Jim Thornton will be featured on a podium on stage when he announces White and Sajak’s entrance. The show has also “refreshed” its set and music, just in time for the Season 39 premiere on Sept. 13. The classic “Wheel of Fortune” theme song, “Changing Keys,” will return but with a modern twist to it.
Changes to the Game on ‘Wheel of Fortune’
TODAY also announced that Pat Sajak will no longer complete the “Final Spin” of the game. He said he never liked impacting the game that way. So now, the contestant in charge of the wheel at the time will spin.
“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,” Sajak said. “With this change, only the contestants determine the outcome of the game and the host does not impose themself in any way.”
“Wheel of Fortune” also replaced the “Free Play” wedge with an $850 one. And for contestants who solve all three puzzles in the Triple Toss-Up Round, the show added a $4,000 bonus, making the grand total to win that round $10,000.
Another key change, in honor of the show’s 39th season, is that the minimum amount that a contestant can win on the Bonus Wheel s now $39,000.
We can’t wait to see these changes in action for ourselves come next Monday, Sept. 13.