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Game Show Network

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GSN2008Logo

The 2008 logo.

Game Show Network (GSN for short) is a cable niche channel which debuted on December 1, 1994. The network is generally dedicated to airing of classic and more modern reruns of game shows, including Wheel of Fortune.

Wheel RerunsEdit

Wheel of Fortune was among the shows presented on Game Show Network's first day, which began with the 1983 syndicated premiere. The episode was prefaced by an intro by one of the network's on-air personalities, Peter Tomarken (himself no stranger to the genre), which consisted of a brief-but-thorough essay on the show's history while clips of the nighttime premiere played next to him; this included a statement that the daytime series ran for a grand total of 4,215 episodes.

NighttimeEdit

GSN has aired many nighttime episodes, barring Seasons 3-4, 8-9, and 11 for reasons unknown; they have also not aired most of the episodes produced since late Season 14. The network began by airing Season 1, adding Season 5 in early 1996, and Season 10 in October 1997. While GSN continued on a rotation of these seasons, they favored Season 10.

On October 5, 1998, all three were replaced by a near-complete cycle of Season 2, which was replaced by Season 13 on July 5, 1999 and Season 14 on April 3, 2000 (with Season 13 running on weekends).

Season 7 was featured on the lineup beginning in November, but jumped back to Season 6 in November 2001 and aired several "cycles" (returning to the season premiere following the season finale) through August 22, 2004. Interestingly, some owners of the 1988 Mattel game reported that the "invisible signals" were still present in the Season 6 reruns.

Beginning March 15, 2004 (when "Game Show Network" became "GSN: The Network For Games"), repeats of Wheel generally omit any sweepstakes rules, consolation prize plugs, and contestant/audience plugs; further, they "crunch" the credits to air promos and typically end the show prematurely. These tactics are generally frowned upon by game show fans, who prefer "complete" airings. This is further compounded by the fact that the omitted portions may have a joke, gag, or other notable incident which ends up being referenced later – references which make no sense without context (such as the 1976 episode that GSN reran in 2007). With the Season 30-31 shows currently airing, this sometimes results in solutions to Retro Bonus Rounds never being revealed, as the show sometimes fades to commercial before the plug originally shown between the puzzle and solution.

Probably the most recognizable season for recent viewers is Season 12, which GSN aired in its entirety for two consecutive "cycles" and a partial third from January 7, 2008 to January 21, 2010 (the second and third cycles beginning October 1, 2008 and July 6, 2009, with the last episode to air being #S-2280 from March 24, 1995). For the last decade or so, GSN has had similar limited leases of other shows from the Sony library such as Jeopardy! and The $100,000 Pyramid.

Reruns of Season 6 were often time-compressed per the network's standards (usually to egregious degrees), and some closing segments of early episodes had noticeable audio problems that caused everything to sound muted. Although the actual show had begun using closed captioning at that point, Season 6 reruns were not captioned, and Season 12 reruns had their closed captioning redone entirely in-house by GSN.

On October 24, 2016, GSN started airing Season 31 episodes on weekdays at 11:00 and 11:30 AM. Unlike the 2010 Black Friday marathon (see below), the SPIN ID drawings are edited out. On GSN HD, the episodes are presented in their original HD format. On the standard channel, they are presented in a letterbox format rather than cropped to 4:3 like the Season 24 shows shown during the Black Friday marathon. GSN's current lease includes almost the entirety of Season 31, though six episodes (#S-5886 from November 4, 2013, the sixth episode from Halloween week, and #S-5976 through S-5980 from March 10-14, 2014, all five shows from Beaches Resorts Family Week) have not been seen on the network to date. Interestingly, their vacancies are replaced with the final six episodes of Season 30 (#S-5845 through S-5850 from June 7 and 10-14, 2013). These episodes are inserted into the rotation towards the end of Season 31's run, marking Season 30's GSN debut on January 26, 2017.

Similar to previous seasons' reruns on the network, the rotation is usually aired in "cycles", though the normal rotation excludes some episodes and weeks themed after certain holidays, which are instead inserted to rerun on or near the appropriate occasion. Such episodes that are included or excluded in the normal rotation vary each cycle. The holiday rotation includes all of the season's Secret Santa Sweepstakes episodes, which are excluded from rerunning in syndication due to heavy sweepstakes references. As usual, all references to the sweepstakes are edited out (except for the theme's name), and the show fades to commercial as soon as Pat recaps the final total of the winner of the Speed-Up, removing most of the final tally.

On November 21, 2016, the number of episodes aired each weekday doubled from two to four, giving Wheel two hours on the schedule from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM. At first, both hours followed the same order, though starting December 5, the second hour began airing episodes independently, beginning with the start of the rotation at the Season 31 premiere, except when holiday-themed episodes were aired later that month across both hours.

On April 10, 2017, the 11:00 and 11:30 weekday timeslots were replaced with The Pyramid and Catch 21, respectively, bringing Wheel back down to two airings per weekday at 12:00 and 12:30 PM.

Edit

Initially on nighttime repeats (as well as those for sister show Jeopardy!), the King World logo, music, and spiel were replaced by the Columbia-TriStar Television logo, music, and spiel by Charlie O'Donnell. The spiel began with "Distributed by..." (said by either Johnny Gilbert for Jeopardy! or Jack Clark/M. G. Kelly/Charlie/Johnny for Wheel), followed by Charlie's "Columbia-TriStar Television!". The spiel also occurred on other Sony-owned games including Pyramid, The Joker's Wild, and Tic-Tac-Dough.

In November 2000, GSN began leaving the King World logo and spiel intact on Wheel with the Columbia-TriStar logo (minus Charlie's spiel) following it. This was dropped when the network opted to cut shows off early.

DaytimeEdit

The daytime version has remained largely untouched, minus three episodes (see below). A Total Living interview with Chuck Woolery included clips of the March 15, 1978 show with a 2004 GSN logo, suggesting that the network has it as well. They have all daytime episodes from about mid-1985 onward, as confirmed by at least three posts on alt.tv.game-shows in 1996-97.

Wheel 2000Edit

The entire series, which primarily ran on CBS, was also aired by GSN and continued in repeats afterward. While originally having a prominent place among the "Kids' Zone" block, along with network exclusive Jep! and classic child-oriented games (including Joker! Joker! Joker! and the 1970s-80s revivals of Juvenile Jury), it moved around the schedule several times over the ensuing three years.

By mid-2001, the show was put on Fridays at 4:30 AM as part of the "Cable in the Classroom" hour, with Jep! airing at 4:00. The reruns ceased in October 2001.

12 Games of ChristmasEdit

The December 25, 1992 show led off one of the network's Christmas-themed marathons of game show episodes that originally aired in December 2000 and was repeated on Christmas Day 2001. Hosted by Betty White, each episode had a play-along question for the home audience, the Wheel one being "What is the Christmas gift Vanna gives to Pat?" (the answer was "A book by Jack Paar").

Oddly, the episode had a TV-PG rating despite nothing in-show warranting it; however, a separate airing from early-mid December 2001 had a TV-G rating.

Merv Griffin TributeEdit

On August 18-19, 2007, following the death of series creator Merv Griffin, GSN aired several Wheel and Jeopardy! episodes in tribute along with the nighttime premiere of Play Your Hunch (April 15, 1960) and a To Tell The Truth episode he guest-hosted (April 17 or 24, 1961). While the Jeopardy! marathon only consisted of the Million-Dollar Masters tournament at Radio City Music Hall (May 1-14, 2002) and its 4,000th episode (aired on May 15 and taped at the same venue), Wheel fans got considerably more variety:

Daytime

  • June 7, 1976 (#368: only Woolery episode reran)
  • December 13, 1982 (#2,016: Vanna White's first permanent show)
  • January 9, 1989 (#3,564: Pat Sajak's last daytime show {listed by GSN as #NTD1-3686})

Nighttime

  • September 19, 1983 (#S-001/Premiere: Jeff/Leslie/Linda {listed by GSN as #S-0001})
  • October 5, 1987 (#S-796: Big Month of Cash, Day 1 {listed by GSN as #S-0796})
  • November 14, 1988 (#S-1026: Radio City Music Hall, Day 1)
  • September 24, 1992 (#S-1769: includes clips of the 10th-Anniversary gala)
  • February 24, 1997 (#S-2656: debut of the electronic puzzle board and green/gold W-H-E-E-L envelope holder)
  • April 1, 1997 (#S-2677: Alex Trebek and Lesly Sajak guest-host while Pat and Vanna play for charity)
  • November 10, 2003 (#S-3946: ceremonial 4,000th episode/clip show)

According to this post, the airing order was 368, 2016, S-0001, S-0796, S-1026, S-2656, S-3946, S-2677, NTD1-3686, S-1769.

Black Friday MarathonEdit

In an unexpected move, GSN aired six hours of Wheel on November 26, 2010. Strangely, while all 12 episodes were new-to-GSN, the marathon consisted of two shows from Season 23 and ten from Season 24.

Season 23

  • February 27, 2006 (#S-4411: Soap Stars Week, Day 1)
  • February 28, 2006 (#S-4412: Soap Stars Week, Day 2)

Season 24

  • November 13, 2006 (#S-4531: Family Week, Day 1)
  • November 14, 2006 (#S-4532: Family Week, Day 2)
  • November 15, 2006 (#S-4533: Family Week, Day 3)
  • November 16, 2006 (#S-4534: Family Week, Day 4)
  • November 17, 2006 (#S-4535: Family Week, Finale)
  • May 14, 2007 (#S-4661: Armed Forces Week, Day 1)
  • May 15, 2007 (#S-4662: Armed Forces Week, Day 2)
  • May 16, 2007 (#S-4663: Armed Forces Week, Day 3)
  • May 17, 2007 (#S-4664: Armed Forces Week, Day 4)
  • May 18, 2007 (#S-4665: Armed Forces Week, Finale)

GSN's schedule PDFs indicate the Season 24 shows were aired in their proper order, followed by the Season 23 ones. As with the Season 12 reruns, closed captioning was re-done in-house. Originally produced in HD, all Season 24 shows were cropped to the 4:3 aspect ratio. Oddly, the SPIN IDs were not edited out of these episodes.

PromosEdit

GSN has done several promos for Wheel, including a commercial parodying the wrestling company then known as WWF with Pat "Powerhouse" Sajak. Conversely, both Wheel and Jeopardy! promoted the network in short ads during the credits in the late 1990s, and also used part of the Radio City Music Hall intro footage from the 1988 shows as part of a promo for Press Your Luck when acquired by GSN in 2001.

Another Wheel-esque promo was part of the network's semi-generic 2007 "Get in the Drama" promotion. The faux Wheel included $0, $1,250, $2,000, $10,000, Bankrupt, a Jackpot wedge somewhat resembling its 1986-88 daytime version, and several other wedges not seen in regular gameplay; the wedges all had white borders, resulting in Bankrupt looking much like it did from 1974-75. Interestingly, an early-1976 episode held by the Paley Center for Media has white borders around all the wedges on all three Wheel layouts.

Other promos in the "Get in the Game" campaign were Action, Challenge, Fun (featuring Chuck Woolery and Bob Goen), and Thrills.

External LinksEdit

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