‘Wheel of Fortune’ Not Airing in Some Markets Tonight: Here’s Why

by Samantha Whidden

Much like its main competitor, Jeopardy!, CBS’ game show Wheel of Fortune is also going off-air in some parts of the U.S. this evening so that viewers can watch the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. 

Although Wheel of Fortune is not on this evening, the show still encourages viewers to check their SPIN ID to see if they are a winner in the Summer Secret Santa Giveaway. “Hey, Wheel Watchers! If you’re unable to see tonight’s episode of Wheel due to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, you have 24 hours to check your SPIN ID.”

Wheel of Fortune also announced that Friday (July 23rd) is the last night of the Summer Secret Santa Giveaway. 

The 2020 Olympic Games held its opening ceremony on Friday following a hiatus for a year, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Naomi Osaka, a Japanese tennis olympian, lit the Olympic Torch to begin the games. The event’s organization are doing things differently in order to prevent any spread of the deadly virus. Fans, as well as athlete’s assistants, are not to attend any of the events. Athletes are also being encouraged to only interact with one another for short periods of time.

The 2020 Olympics will take place from today until August 8th. 

‘Wheel of Fortune’ Co-Hosts Carried the Olympic Torch for the 1996 Games 

Wheel of Fortune also has some history with the Olympic Games. Co-hosts Vanna White and Pat Sajak carried the Olympic Torch for the 1996 games, which was held in Atlanta.

According to her Biography.com page, Vanna and Pat carried the Torch in different relays. This was due to the fact that Wheel of Fortune was one of the sponsors of the 1996 Olympic Games. 

AP News reports Sajak and White were taping in Atlanta in March 1996 as an official game show of the Olympics. The game show was promoted alongside a 1,996-foot hot dog that Olympic organizers were using to promote their official packaged meat sponsor.

Lisa Dee, who was Wheel of Fortune’s special projects coordinator at the time, states, “People make light of it. And we all have a good sensor of humor. But we take it very seriously. We’re [a] sponsor in the same way GM is a sponsor.” During that year’s games, the game show had Olympic images on set and featured prizes that came from other Olympic sponsors. 

Pat Sajak is currently in his 39th year as Host of Wheel of Fortune. He joined the game show in 1981 and Vanna came along almost one year later. Since becoming host, Sajak has been awarded three Emmy Awards, a People’s Choice, and a Hollywood Walk of Fame star. In 2011, he was presented with the Daytime Emmy Awards life Achievement Award. In 2018, he was inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame.