A few of the aesthetic changes include a bright, colorful new set, increased screentime for Jim Thornton, the game’s announcer, and updated music. Pat Sajak opened the show referencing the new look. “Can you believe this is Season 39? It’s incredible. You’ll notice some changes in the studio. I thought I caught a glimpse of that Thornton guy on the way out. A few little tweaks in the game, but it’s still Wheel of Fortune. We’re gonna have a great time. Let’s get to it.”
Despite Sajak’s enthusiasm, fan reception seems mixed. “For the love of God please never play that new toss up music again,” one Twitter user writes. Another bluntly says “They changed the music on Wheel of Fortune and I am incredibly distraught.”
Meanwhile, from a gameplay standpoint, Sajak no longer does the final spin, something he likes. “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,” he told Deadline. He continues by saying with this change, only contestants determine the outcome of the game.
Fans seem a bit more upbeat about this alteration. “The contestant now does the Final Spin in Wheel of Fortune. We can no longer blame Pat Sajak for crappy spins,” someone tweeted. Another states it could “lead to some interesting strategy on how powerful they spin the wheel to try to get a specific $ amount.”
In time, maybe the music will grow on people. Then again, maybe not.
Will Pat Sajak and Vanna White Leave ‘Wheel of Fortune’ Next Year?
Pat Sajak and Vanna White are synonymous with Wheel of Fortune at this point. With Sajak joining in 1981 and White a year later, they’ve hosted for three decades. The Hollywood Reporter states their contracts expire in 2022, so does that mean they will leave the show?
“Pat, Vanna and Alex are simply the best. Night after night, they seamlessly entertain generations of fans on two of the most beloved television programs on air. We are thrilled that they’ll continue to do so through 2022,” the SPT chairman Mike Hopkins said back in 2018.
Though they can simply renew their contracts, the two may opt not to. Appearing on Good Morning America in 2019, Sajak said he would “rather leave a couple of years too early than a couple of years too late.” He also stressed he would “like to leave before people ask me to leave.”
While White hasn’t explicitly mentioned leaving, Sajak said in an interview with Access Hollywood if one left, they both likely would. “We’ve talked about it and we’ll probably walk off into the sunset at the same time.” Fitting considering the time they’ve spent with one another.