The Shows
(alpha sort | update sort)

Show Me
Simon Says
Shopping Spree
Shoot the Works
Second Honeymoon
Shoot for the Stars
Smart Alecks
Smart Money
Star Play
Strictly Confidential
Star Cluster
Split Decision
Second Guessers
Scrabble (1990)
Play For Keeps
Play Your Hunch
Pot O' Gold
People On TV
Party Line
Pressure Point
Pyramid (1996)
Run For The Money
Says Who?
Razzle Dazzle
Quick as a Flash
Pyramid (1997)
A Question of Scruples
Talking Pictures (1968)
Talking Pictures (1976)
What Do You Want?
What's On Your Mind
Wheel of Fortune
We've Got Your Number
Up and Over
Twenty One (1982)
Twenty Questions
You Bet Your Life (1988)
You Bet Your Life (1991)
You're Putting Me On
Write Your Own Ticket
Word Grabbers
Whose Baby
Top Secret
The Big Payoff
The Buck Stops Here
The Choice Is Yours
The Big Money
The Better Sex
Tell It to Groucho
Temptation (1981)
$10,000 Sweep
The Couples Race
The Fashion Show
The Waiting Game
Three of a Kind
Tic Tac Dough
The Price Is Right (1972)
The Plot Thickens
The Honeymoon Game
The Love Experts
Now You See It (1986)
Nothing But the Truth
Change Partners
Child's Play
Combination Lock (1996)
The Challengers (1974)
Chain Letter (1964)
Celebrity Doubletalk
Celebrity Secrets
Celebrity Sweepstakes
Comedy Club
Concentration (1985)
Decisions, Decisions
Dollar a Second
Countdown (1990)
Countdown (1974)
The Confidence Game
Cop Out
Celebrity Billiards
Caught in the Act
Beat The Genius
Beat The Odds (1962)
Beat The Odds (1975)
Be What You Want
ABC Carnival '74
Across the Board
Bedtime Stories
Big Spenders
Call My Bluff
Card Sharks (1996)
Body Talk
Blank Check
Body Language
Duel in the Daytime
Fast Friends
Match Game (1962)
Match Game (1973)
Match Game (1990)
M'ama Non M'ama
Let's Make a Deal (1990)
Keynotes (1986)
King of the Hill
Let's Make a Deal (1963)
Match Game (1996)
MatchGame (2008)
Money Words
Monopoly (1987)
Money in the Blank
Monday Night QB
Missing Links
Key Witness
Going, Going, Gone!
Head of the Class
High Rollers
Get Rich Quick
Finish Line (1990)
$50,000 a Minute
Finish Line (1975)
Hollywood Squares (1965)
Hollywood Squares (1985)
Jackpot (1984)
Jeopardy (1977)
Jokers Wild
How Do You Like Your Eggs?
House to House
Hot Numbers
Hot Potato
$64,000 Question (2000)

The Links

Show a Random Pilot
Show Unreviewed Pilots
Bob Stewart Flow Chart

Wheel of Fortune

Producer: Merv Griffin
Host: Edd Byrnes
Assistants: Susan Stafford
Announcer: Charlie O'Donnell
Taping Info: 1974, presumably Los Angeles
Made it to Air: Yes, although with Chuck Woolery as host. Woolery had hosted an earlier pilot called Shopper's Bazaar that somewhat resembles this show. Wheel debuted on the NBC lineup January 6, 1975, replacing Winning Streak. It first left the NBC lineup June 30, 1989, replaced by reruns of Golden Girls. It moved to CBS in July of 1989, replacing Now You See It. It left the CBS lineup on January 11, 1991, replaced by The Barbara DeAngelis Show, rejoining the NBC lineup until September 20, 1991, when the 10 o'clock hour was given back to the NBC affiliates.

Legend has it that Merv Griffin was given carte blanche to put a game show on NBC for the right to cancel Jeopardy! It seems a rather odd story, because why would you need permission as a network to cancel a show? Merv likes word games that he doesn't have to come up with, so he essentially took hangman and added a wheel to it. In addition, you would shop for your prizes instead of just being assigned them. Edd "Kookie" Burns, who ran out the 60s making spaghetti westerns, was the host of these two pilots.

Edd was hilarious. Unfortunately, he was not trying to be. Edd mentions in his autobiography Kookie No More that he was drunk during the pilot. In the first pilot, he was "crazy drunk", often making weird faces at the camera, that is, when he was not obviously reading from cue cards. In the second pilot, he was "happy drunk", often saying "whee" as the wheel spun. It also seemed to personally offend Mr. Byrnes that someone would actually be able to solve 11-letter puzzles based on three letters, imploring players to try for more letters.

Mechanically, the game was pretty much the game we knew on the daytime version. Most of the dollar values on the wheel were of the low three-digit variety, although the game did have the "Buy a Vowel" space. You still could buy them for $250 even if you didn't hit the space. One difference, however, was that the wheel seemed to have much less resistance during the spin, meaning much valuable air time was used to show a spinning wheel. Each of the two pilots got through only four puzzles without a bonus game.

Oh, and yes, you did shop for prizes. Unlike later episodes, there was only one shopping area which was used for the entire game. During the shopping, there was a scroll on screen listing the prizes available, their prizes, and whether or not the prize has been purchased. You could have the Las Vegas trip for $400, or the microwave for $430. Both the pilots had the same prizes.

There was a neat game here, unfortunately, the hosting had a lot to be desired. Merv Griffin was known for going off the board in finding hosts (Rolf Benirschke, Danny O'Neill, The Amazing Jonathan), but Edd was fortunately stopped before he made it on the air. By going with another game show rookie (Chuck Woolery), the show became legendary.

This pilot has been viewed 6640 times since October 6, 2008 and was last modified on Dec 12, 2009 14:46 ET
Feedback? Contact me at usgs-pilot at the usgameshows dot net domain