‘Wheel of Fortune’: Celebrity Finale Brings Worst Demo Ratings of Season

by Suzanne Halliburton
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Wheel of Fortune, celebrity version, ran out of steam, ratings-wise, as it closed its season.

The celebrities for Thursday night’s episode were Kevin Nealon, the comedian and one-time Saturday Night Live cast member, actress Rachael Leigh Cool and comedian Sherri Shepherd, the one-time co-host of The View.

The ABC show drew an audience of 5.71 million. That was its second-lowest number in its eight-episode run and a drop of 200,000 from a week ago. However, the rating in a key demo of 18 to 49-year-olds was .73. That was a season-low.

Now, compare that number to how the show started. The first show premiered on Jan. 7 to an audience of 8.15 million. The rating for the key demo, which is most attractive to advertisers, was 1.16. Tony Hawk, the ageless, record-setting skateboarder, was the show’s big winner in the premiere.

Other celebrities on the show were comedic actress Leslie Jones, who sports a huge, social-media following, and Chandra Wilson, the long-time star of Grey’s Anatomy.

Celebrity Wheel of Fortune looked like its normal syndicated self, except the contestants were famous people and they played for a lot more money. Each celebrity played for a favorite charity.

Like always, Pat Sajak hosted the show and Vanna White turned the letters of the puzzle. The two have worked together since 1982.

Nealon won big. He earned nearly $50,000 for the charity The Store. The non-profit, which is a year-round free grocery store, is based in Nashville. Country singer Brad Paisley and his wife, actress Kimberly Williams, founded the non-profit.

While Wheel of Fortune Lost Steam, CBS Comedies Dominated Evening

CBS won the evening with its early comedy lineup that ended with a crime drama in the final hour.

Young Sheldon boasted the biggest audience of the evening. The comedy, which is a spinoff of The Big Bang Theory, drew an audience of 7.71 million. It’s rating in the main demo was .89. Mom attracted 5.28 million, while 5.06 million watched B Positive.

Clarice, the prequel series to the hit movie Silence of the Lambs, attracted an audience of 3.48 million. It debuted three weeks ago and is holding its audience. The show stars Rebecca Breeds as Clarice Starling. Actress Jodie Foster won the Oscar for Best Actress when she portrayed Clarice in Silence of the Lambs.

Over on Fox, Last Man Standing held steady with 2.5 million viewers. It’s demo rating was .45. The show, starring Tim Allen, is in its last season. Hell’s Kitchen drew 2.58 million with a demo of .72.

NBC’s Superstore came in with 2.3 million.

On cable news, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow continued to out-duel her Fox News competitor. Her show was the most popular of the evening with 3.39 million viewers. Fox’s Tucker Carlson’s audience was 3.16 million. Maddow has edged Carlson the last two nights.

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