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Wheel of Fortune Season 26 title card

Go back to Season 25, or forward to Season 27?

A timeline for Season 26 of Wheel of Fortune, which aired in first-run from September 8, 2008 through May 29, 2009, with another week of shows from July 13-17, 2009.

Season ChangesEdit

  • When shown at the start of the Bonus Round, contestants' families and/or friends are now miked.
  • The Prize Puzzle bug is now a globe on a blue background, with only the word "Prize!" written on it in red Brush Script text.
  • The Wheel changes considerably:
    • The Big Money and "25" wedges are retired.
    • The yellow flipper is now preset to the Million-Dollar Wedge in Round 1, the Jackpot wedge in Round 2, and the Mystery Wedge next to Lose A Turn in Round 3.
    • One of the Mystery Wedges moves from the blue $500 (between $900 and $300) to the blue $300 next to Lose A Turn.
    • The green $500 becomes blue, the blue $600 becomes a yellow $500, and the yellow $300 becomes a green $600.
    • The second Bankrupt is moved back to the purple $600 next to the top dollar value.
      JackpotWedge

      The last Jackpot wedge.

    • The Jackpot wedge moves to the red $300 and changes to its final design, which recycles the housing of the Big Money Wedge. Since it snaps into the Wheel, the red $300 is also redesigned to snap into place.
    • The Wild Card is now removed after Round 3.
      MillionDollarWedge
      MDW Reverse
    • The $10,000 Wedge is replaced by the identically-structured Million-Dollar Wedge. If the Million-Dollar Wedge is taken to the Bonus Round, Pat reveals the location of the $1,000,000 envelope regardless of outcome. The $1,000,000 envelope has a modern Wheel of Fortune logo at the top, like the $100,000 one. It initially uses sparkly green lettering with "ONE MILLION DOLLARS" in curved text surrounding a large green dollar sign, similar to that of the Million-Dollar Wedge's reverse.
  • The show does a promo for the new cash prize with Don LaFontaine, who dies before the season begins. There is an additional promo where a man is dressed as the new Wedge, in a similar manner to $5K.
    • The LaFontaine promo uses the Season 22 Prize Puzzle graphic of the spinning Wheel, while the other promo uses a jazzy arrangement of the original "Happy Wheels".
  • Sixth-episode weeks are now themed as America's Game.
  • The opening consists of the Wheel wedges (including the Million-Dollar Wedge's reverse) falling into place. Once the graphic of the Wheel is complete, it wipes to a silver two-row logo on a blue-and-white background with spotlight beams. The blue-and-white background is also used for the Final Spin graphic and the post-game chat. The window for the chat is much smaller, and has 13 lights underneath flashing from left to right.
  • The category strips are changed to their current design, with white text in Gotham, on a spotted background that cycles from purple to blue to green. These strips extend the length of the screen, and incorporate the golden logo bug.
  • Wheel and Jeopardy! now air on CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). Canadian airings edit out the sponsors, and the SPIN ID readout is covered with a red graphic reading "Open to U.S. residents only".
  • This season starts a trend of using fewer categories in the Bonus Round, which continues through the end of Season 28.
  • Only one car is now used in the Bonus Round.
  • The Bonus Wheel wedges now spell out "AMERICA'S GAME SPIN&WIN", with a one-star space after "America's", a two-star space after "GAME", and a three-star space after "WIN". The font is also changed, from Impact to Frankfurter.
  • The prize values and post-Bonus Round totals become silver.
  • From about this point onward, one-word bonus puzzles become increasingly rare; the few that are used are almost always compound words.
  • The Round 3 "drop down" graphic changes to shiny rectangles whose edges fade, with white lines on the top and bottom, and a white star between each rectangle.
  • For this season, Pat, Vanna, Charlie, Alex Trebek, and Johnny Gilbert do national and local public service announcements to promote the change from analog broadcasting to digital broadcasting, using puns from their respective shows.
  • This season sets a new record for the most top prize hits in the Bonus Round, with 14 instances of either $100,000 or the Million being landed on.

September 2008Edit

  • September 8 is Endless Summer Week.
  • On September 11:
    • Rounds 2 and 3 are very short answers (BLUE JAY LENO and FIELDS OF CLOVER, respectively). It is not known why this was done, as the game did not run abnormally long, and comparatively longer answers were used in both Rounds 4 and 5.
    • Contestant Jeremy sweeps the game and wins $30,000 in the Bonus Round. Throughout the game, even during the Speed-Up, he never loses his turn, although he uses his Free Spin in Round 1 after landing on one of the Million-Dollar Wedge's Bankrupts.
  • September 15 is Nothing But the Best Week.
  • On September 16, the Million-Dollar Wedge is picked up for the first time.
  • On September 19, nobody solves the $1,000 Toss-Up, FINE WINE.
  • September 22 is Teen Best Friends Week.
  • On September 25, there are two sets of duplicate categories: the $1,000 Toss-Up and Round 2 are Phrase, while Round 1 and the Bonus Round are Thing.
  • On September 26, yellow contestants Sydney and Kaitlin hit Bankrupt five times over the course of four rounds. Overall, it is hit eleven times, a likely record.
  • September 29 is Great Escapes Week.

October 2008Edit

  • On October 2:
    • Rounds 2, 4, and 5 are played entirely by the person who began them, although the Free Spin is used in Round 4.
    • Six rounds are played.
  • On October 3, contestant Mandi becomes the first contestant to take the Million-Dollar Wedge to the Bonus Round. She loses $25,000 and is only two envelopes from the $1,000,000.
  • October 6 is Ultimate Adventures Week.
  • On October 6:
    • Contestant Scott says that he's always wanted to host the show ever since Chuck Woolery was hosting, to which Pat comments that Chuck is on the "longest vacation ever".
    • The Round 2 puzzle TO DREAM THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM is inexplicably categorized as Quotation instead of Song Lyrics.
    • There is a $100,000 loss.
  • On October 8, contestant Cassandra takes the Million-Dollar Wedge to the Bonus Round and wins $50,000. The shot of Pat revealing the $1,000,000 envelope is done in post-production.
  • On October 10, Proper Name is used in the Bonus Round for the last time.
  • October 13 is Canada Week, taped August 8. This week is intended to honor the show's airing on CBC, and probably also celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving which falls on October 13. During this week:
    • All of the Wheel Prizes are trips to Canada.
    • After Round 1, Alex Trebek gives a fact about Canada in a pre-recorded segment in front of the Jeopardy! board. The Canadian flag and Wheel of Fortune logo are on the monitors where the Final Jeopardy! category and clue would respectively be.
    • The Canadian flag forms the contestant window in the Bonus Round.
  • On October 13, there is an extremely rare instance of RSTLNE revealing more than half of the Bonus Round answer (JEAN SHORTS).
  • On October 14:
    • One "good" turn is edited out of Round 3. With $9,900, contestant Jennifer spins and calls a D, which is not in the puzzle, and a U is showing in the puzzle TORONTO'S SPECTACULAR SKYLINE despite not being present before she called the D. Also, her scoreboard can be seen displaying $9,650 as contestant Pete plays afterward.
    • Around the House makes its last appearance in the Bonus Round until January 2012.
    • Michelle Loewenstein becomes the show's first $1,000,000 winner, setting a new winnings record of $1,026,080. She hits the Million-Dollar Wedge on her first spin. Because of the win, the episode is re-broadcast on the weekend feed in place of a repeat from Season 25.
    • The $1,000,000 graphic is shiny gold numbers with four spotlights shining on them.
    • Near the end of the credits, there is a shot of the Used Letter Board's scoreboard displaying Michelle's total, followed by a slow-motion replay of Michelle's reaction, and finally, a shot of Michelle exclaiming "I won one million dollars!"
  • On October 15:
    • Contestant Josh has his friend Shawn spin the Wheel for him.
    • NOBEL PEACE PRIZE PUZZLE is a Before & After puzzle (Round 3).
    • The second-place contestant has $24,000, won entirely in Round 4.
  • On October 16:
    • Round 1 is JEOPARDY! HOST ALEX TREBEK.
    • The Prize Puzzle bug is accidentally put up during the Jackpot round (whose puzzle is a Same Name).
    • The contestants give eight incorrect answers to the Speed-Up puzzle WOOD-BURNING STOVE over five turns, with all three repeating the others' previous answers.
  • On October 17, contestant Dana solves the bonus puzzle FOOTPATH with 0.3 seconds left. After she solves, the timer on the Used Letter Board is shown on-camera.
  • The week of October 20 is America's Game, composed of sixth episodes.
  • On October 20:
    • In an unusual move, the Round 4 puzzle (CERTIFICATE OF AUTHENTICITY) is the longest of the show despite puzzles from Rounds 4+ now being limited to only two rows of the board. It is not known why shorter puzzles were used in Rounds 1-3, as the game did not run overly long; in particular, Round 2 is a very short answer of SANDY SHORELINE, which ends up being even shorter than the answers to both the $1,000 and $3,000 Toss-Ups.
    • Contestant Jazmyne (who does not solve the bonus puzzle) misses the $1,000,000 by one envelope.
  • On October 22, there is a $100,000 loss.
  • On October 24:
    • Two contestants buy a repeated I in Round 1.
    • There is a $100,000 win, resulting in the second instance of that envelope being hit twice in a week. For no particular reason, a pan across the back of the audience (similar to the shot used in intros) is used when Charlie announces the amount.
  • October 27 is Halloween Week.
  • On October 31:
    • Contestant Andrea loses $20,450 and the Million-Dollar Wedge to Bankrupt.
    • Round 4 is a very short answer of ROCK THE VOTE, suggesting that Rounds 1-3 ran overtime.

November 2008Edit

  • November 3 and 4 are the first two episodes of Wheel Across America Week.
  • On November 3, the Mystery Wedges and the Bankrupt on the reverse both change: the color is lightened, and the outlines on the sides are removed. This design remains through Season 31.
  • On November 4:
    • Wheel is pre-empted in most of the country due to coverage of President Obama's election.
    • The Wheel is preset before Round 1 so that the yellow podium's flipper is on $2,500 (which becomes normal in Season 27) instead of the Million-Dollar Wedge.
    • For only the third known time, a contestant calls Z in the Bonus Round. However, it is not in the puzzle.
  • November 5-25 are taped outdoors in front of the Hilton Waikoloa Village in Hawaii. The Hawaii episodes start on a Wednesday, most likely to prevent the string of episodes from being interrupted by the aforementioned Presidential coverage.
    • As a result, the remaining three episodes of Wheel Across America Week are not aired until November 26-28.
    • As with the last set of Hawaiian episodes, Pat wears Hawaiian-themed short-sleeved shirts.
    • The board has an extra frame around it which resembles a lei.
    • The puzzle board's steps are green instead of black.
    • November 6, 10, 11, 20, and 24 all have two males and one female contestant.
  • November 5 is Hawaii's Big Island Week.
  • On November 5, in an interesting coincidence, one of winning contestant Mark's family members flashes him a thumbs-up; he ends up solving the bonus puzzle THUMBS UP.
  • On November 6, Bankrupt is hit five times in Round 3, the second of which is from the Mystery Wedge.
  • On November 7, some audience members start yelling in the middle of the $1,000 Toss-Up.
  • On November 10:
    • The second-place contestant has $22,650.
    • The winning contestant's post-Bonus Round total is never announced on-air. After Pat and Vanna sign off, Loni is shown next to the car she just won, at which point the winning total is displayed.
  • November 12 is Best Friends Week.
  • On November 14:
    • A team solves the bonus puzzle MILK JUG with only the M and L revealed.
    • A team exceeds $100,000 without hitting that amount: after winning a pair of Ford Flexes in the Bonus Round, they leave with $107,340.
  • From November 17 through May 29, the show holds a "$5K Every Day" contest. During the contestant interviews, a SPIN ID is shown at the bottom of the screen. Home viewers who claim their SPIN IDs via the show's website win $5,000.
  • On November 17:
    • Pat forgets to ask contestants Jackie and Lorna for their extra consonant from the Wild Card and has to be reminded from offstage.
    • There is a $100,000 win by a team who picked up the Million-Dollar Wedge in Round 3 but did not solve the puzzle.
  • November 19 is Wheel Goes Waikoloa Week.
  • On November 19:
    • The second-place contestant has $20,000.
    • Contestant Kainoa wins despite failing to claim $36,000 in the Speed-Up.
  • On November 20:
    • The $2,000 Toss-Up DISCOVERY CHANNEL is inexplicably categorized as Show Biz instead of TV Title.
    • The second Bankrupt and $3,500 are accidentally placed one space clockwise from their normal positions in Rounds 2 and 3, putting the wedges over the normal top dollar value spot and the green $600, respectively. In Round 3, contestant Paul lands on the incorrectly-placed Bankrupt immediately after picking up the Million-Dollar Wedge; he turns in his Free Spin, but lands on Lose A Turn. Paul makes it to the Bonus Round regardless, and loses $30,000.
  • On November 21, nobody solves the $1,000 Toss-Up, STARGAZER LILIES.
  • On November 24, during the closing chat, a clip is shown from the February 13, 1996 episode where Pat introduced his daughter, Maggie.
  • On November 25, Fictional Place makes its only known appearance in the Bonus Round. The puzzle, UTOPIA, is solved.
  • On November 26, Wheel Across America Week is resumed.
  • On November 26:
    • Contestant Tara solves the Speed-Up puzzle HOLD THAT THOUGHT with only the T's showing.
    • Tara sweeps the game but loses $100,000 in the Bonus Round.
  • On November 28, Where Are We? makes its last appearance, in Round 2. This is also the last appearance of a "bonus" category until Season 28, and the last use of the High Rollers chimes. The puzzle is BEARS & CUBS THE WINDY CITY PAT'S HOMETOWN, the answer being Chicago.

December 2008Edit

  • December 1 is Holiday Shopping Week.
  • On December 2, when Pat prompts contestant Amy to use her Wild Card on $3,500, she asks if she can buy a vowel first, but Pat tells her that she cannot. Unusually, the audience shouts suggestions before she uses it.
  • On December 4, Vanna hides a wrapped present for Pat in her dress. At the end, Pat opens the box and finds that it is empty.
  • On December 5:
    • The Prize is $5,000 cash from LowerMyBills.com.
    • Six rounds are played.
  • December 8 is Pet Lover's Week.
  • On December 8, Betty White makes a guest appearance after the Round 2 puzzle THE GOLDEN GIRLS. As the puzzle is categorized as TV Title, it is likely that the show had intended to retire Classic TV after its last appearance on May 6, and that its subsequent uses in 2010 and 2013 are flukes.
  • On December 10, there is an $8,000 Jackpot win.
  • December 15 is the last Hollywood Movie Magic week. Throughout the week, the Prize copy includes a trailer: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull on Monday, The Tale of Despereaux on Tuesday, Horton Hears a Who! on Wednesday, Bedtime Stories on Thursday, and Bride Wars on Friday.
  • On December 15, contestant Edgar makes an incorrect guess of FISH LOVE on the $3,000 Toss-Up WISH LIST. Later on, after he celebrates his Bonus Round win, Pat tells Edgar to look at the puzzle board, which reads FISH LOVE.
  • On December 16:
    • Bankrupt is hit four times in the Jackpot round.
    • The same round's Same Name puzzle is an awkward answer of FACTS & ACTION FIGURES, eliminating the "and" from "Facts and figures".
  • On December 17, the second-place contestant has $20,000.
  • On December 19:
    • Rounds 1, 2, and 4 are played entirely by the person who began them.
    • The Round 5 puzzle LEX LUTHOR is a now-rare maingame puzzle that is shorter than 10 letters; unusually, it uses only one line.
    • For only the fourth known time, a contestant calls Z in the Bonus Round.
  • December 22 is Happy Holidays Week.
  • On December 22:
    • There is an $7,850 Jackpot win.
    • A contestant takes both the Wild Card and Million-Dollar Wedge to the Bonus Round.
    • Pat does not reveal the location of the $1,000,000 envelope.
  • On December 23:
    • Contestant Jessica accidentally removes the backing from a Gift Tag when picking it up in Round 2, and turns in both pieces after losing it to Bankrupt.
    • There is a $13,450 Jackpot win.
    • In the final segment, Charlie is shown in his booth so he can give Christmas greetings to viewers.
  • On December 25, contestant Claudia solves the bonus puzzle SIBLING RIVALRY just after the buzzer, after getting no help from her extra letters.
  • All five Bonus Rounds are lost on the week of December 22, the second year in a row that this happened during Christmas Week. The losing streak extends three more days, into December 31.
  • December 29 is the second America's Game Week.
  • On December 29:
    • As this is the sixth episode from Happy Holidays Week, the Christmas decorations are still present.
    • The Prize Puzzle trip is a $10,850 tour of Italy, a rare instance of a trip over $10,000 on a non-team episode.
    • There is a $100,000 loss.
  • On December 30 (the sixth episode from Canada Week):
    • The Round 1 Rock On! puzzle uses the now-deprecated format of Artist/Song (BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN'S BORN TO RUN).
    • Bankrupt is hit six times in Round 3, including one from the Mystery Wedge. This ties the record for most known Bankrupts in one round.
  • December 31 is the sixth episode from Halloween Week.

January 2009Edit

  • On January 1 (the sixth episode from Wheel Across America Week):
    • The Prize is $5,000 cash courtesy of V8. As it is won, that company donates that amount to Feeding America.
    • Same Name (in Round 2) spells out AND. From this point onward, the category begins using AND with increasing frequency, without any obvious pattern.
  • On January 2 (the sixth episode from Holiday Shopping Week), On the Map appears in the Bonus Round for the last time until October 15, 2013.
  • January 5 is Armed Forces Week.
  • On January 6, the unsolved bonus puzzle reveals like one that is solved: the entire answer is put up at once (instead of the letters revealing one at a time in a zig-zag pattern) and the board's border flashes.
  • January 12 is Dream Vacation Week.
  • On January 12, two males play. This makes six consecutive episodes without the typical two female/one male setup, and interestingly also makes six consecutive episodes with at least one member of the Armed Forces. His presence here probably explains the two males/one female abnormality, as he could have not gotten the cut for the previous week (probably taped immediately before since both weeks have the same set).
  • On January 15, the Jackpot is not adjusted in post-production after a "null" cycle, as it suddenly jumps from $5,300 to $7,200 before the second spin of the round is added.
  • January 19 is Teachers Week.
  • On January 20, contestant Daniel spins the pink $900 six times in a row.
  • On January 23, Pat does not reveal the location of the $1,000,000 envelope.
  • January 26 is Destination Relaxation Week.
  • On January 26, the winning contestant, whose real name is Robert, is referred to as Skittles on the show.
  • On January 27:
    • The Prize Puzzle trip is an $11,174 tour of Germany, a rare instance of a trip over $10,000 on a non-team episode.
    • There is a $100,000 loss.
  • On January 28:
    • Unusually, there is no shot of contestant Lusine after she hits Bankrupt in Round 2.
    • Contestant Asya sweeps the game and wins $30,000 in the Bonus Round, solving the bonus puzzle BALCONY despite getting no help from her extra letters.

February 2009Edit

  • February 2 is Gone Fishin' Week.
  • On February 3:
    • No vowels are bought in Round 3.
    • Six rounds are played.
  • On February 6:
    • The Round 2 puzzle ROW ROW ROW YOUR BOAT GENTLY DOWN THE STREAM is inexplicably categorized as Quotation instead of Song Lyrics.
    • In the Mystery Round, contestant Jacinta calls a letter that fills in the puzzle entirely after landing on a Mystery Wedge. She opts to flip the wedge, and finds $10,000 on the reverse, thus becoming the third known contestant to win that round with only the Mystery prize.
    • Contestant Duncan solves the Speed-Up puzzle THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY with only the T's showing.
  • February 9 is Second Honeymoon Week, from the Hilton Waikoloa Village in Hawaii. During this week:
    • All couples are Hawaiians.
    • Home viewers may submit the bonus puzzle to the show's website for a chance to win a trip to the Hilton Waikoloa Village.
  • On February 13:
    • Contestants Byron and Kimberly lose $10,050 and a trip to New York by mis-solving the puzzle GOING TO THE CHAPEL AND WE'RE GONNA GET MARRIED with a second "going to" in place of "gonna". The team makes it to the Bonus Round regardless.
    • There is a $100,000 loss.
  • February 16 is Great Outdoors Week.
  • On February 16:
    • The Wheel Prize is a Vespa scooter.
    • In the final segment, Pat and Vanna discuss Michelle's $1,000,000 win, including footage of said win and news footage of Michelle's parents being interviewed. Michelle and her husband then appear onstage so that Pat can give her an oversized replica check and discuss the win. This was presumably done because the episode ran unusually short. (According to a YouTube user present at this taping, the staff took away her fake check immediately after the segment and handed her an envelope; after opening it, she "looked shocked and seemed like she started crying. It was obvious that part wasn't meant to be on TV though.")
    • Following the above, there is a post-production clip of Pat and Vanna paying tribute to wardrobe manager Alan Mills, who died on the 6th.
  • On February 18:
    • For the first known time, a contestant (Victoria) solves the Prize Puzzle with $0 but does not solve any other puzzles, thus leaving with only the Prize Puzzle package.
    • There is a $100,000 loss by a contestant who says the answer just after the buzzer.
  • On February 19, contestant Samantha is the sister of February 6's top winner, Jill.
  • On February 20:
    • Contestant Scott says "spots" when solving the Prize Puzzle FANTASTIC SURFING SPOT, but this mistake is never realized and does not affect the outcome.
    • Contestant Kara (who solves her bonus puzzle) misses the $100,000 by one envelope.
  • February 23 is the third America's Game week. At the end of each episode, a clip montage is shown of the previous milestone shows and surrounding episodes.
    • On the 23rd, the montage for #S-1000 begins with M.G. Kelly reading the production slate for said episode, likely because there was no mention of the milestone in the episode itself. After that is the logo shot from a Season 6 intro, the prize spiel (includes shots of the rugs and turntables) and Pat's opening monologue from said episode, three of Vanna's outfits from that period, a shot of the second $25,000 sign, Vanna modeling a fur coat, shots of various prizes and Prize wedges from the time, and two puzzles related to the pop culture of that era. It ends with still images of Pat and Vanna from #S-1000.
    • On the 24th, the montage for the 2,000th episode begins with the "dancing wedges" intro from Season 10, followed by the opening where Pat mentions that it is the 2,000th episode. After that is the 1994-97 intro with various clips played over it: one of Vanna's outfits, Pat's pants dropping during a closing chat, Mica who has won the $10,000 and a motorcycle, one of Pat's quirky behaviors, a Bonus Round win, and Pat wearing a wig during a New York City road show. After that are shown various prize wedges and contestant wins, as well as footage of Vanna "playing" a walking piano prize while modeling it (most likely the "BIG" Piano at FAO Schwarz, also during a New York City episode). Another Bonus Round win in which a contestant wins a Volvo sedan is shown, followed by that car's prize copy and footage of Vanna modeling a Relaxair exercise machine while moving around like a bug Pat once sprayed. A Final Spin and a shot of Pat and Vanna walking out follow, then several outfits of Vanna's from the era are shown, as well as footage of her stating that she has walked 222 miles on the puzzle board and a clip of the trilon-based board's last show. Several more Bonus Round wins follow this, and the montage ends with a banner identifying the 2,000th episode as such followed by Pat and Vanna pieing each other on a 1991 episode.
    • On the 25th, the montage for the ceremonial 3,000th episode begins with the Season 16 intro, followed by a couple of Pat and Vanna's walkouts, Pat spinning Vanna while she is wearing a Dior dress and calling her "a revolving Dior", and a very rare instance of Vanna wearing green in the same hue as the puzzle board. After that is a shot of a "Fashion" Prize wedge on the Wheel, a prize copy for a car, a contestant win, a shot of the W-H-E-E-L envelopes, a couple of pop-culture themed puzzles followed by more contestant wins, Pat being picked up by Jeff who has won the Bonus Round, and the closing segment of the ceremonial 3,000th episode.
    • On the 26th, the montage for the ceremonial 4,000th episode begins with a shot of that episode's main title sequence, Charlie's intro, and Pat and Vanna's walkout. This is followed by Pat and Vanna riding a golf cart from behind the puzzle board during a New Orleans episode in January 14, 2002, carrying a giant fake hot dog during a Wheel Goes to the Movies week, Pat "dancing" with Vanna wearing a gown with a hoop skirt during a Princess Cruises week, clips from two road shows where Pat and Vanna sample local cuisine, a Final Spin, the Season 19 incorrect answer of MINERS & HOES for the puzzle FINGERS & TOES (edited so that the answer reveals right after he guesses), Pat saying "We're laughing with you." to another contestant from the same season, the fireworks-based Prize Puzzle graphic wipe from Seasons 22-23 followed by a contestant from the corresponding era reacting to having won a Prize Puzzle prize, a Headline from January 28, 2004 of CALIFORNIA ELECTS SCHWARZENEGGER GOVERNOR followed by Pat quoting the SpongeBob SquarePants theme song on another episode from the same season, several Bonus Round wins, Vanna dancing during a Cash & Splash week, Pat wearing a mullet, Vanna wearing fake lips, and Pat driving an early Wheelmobile on a racetrack.
      Million Envelope
  • On February 23, the $1,000,000 envelope changes to black text with "ONE" in very small letters and "MILLION" in much larger letters.
  • On February 27:
    • Despite being the ceremonial 5,000th episode, only three connections to the event are made: the first two Toss-Ups (A HUGE MILESTONE and SPIN OR SOLVE) are themed, and the final segment features a clip of Pat kissing Vanna on his last daytime episode (January 9, 1989), after which Pat and Vanna are seen with a celebratory cake styled after the Wheel.
    • There is a $100,000 loss.

March 2009Edit

  • The weeks of March 2-16 are taped outdoors at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida. During these shows:
    • The set floor is blue with the SeaWorld Orlando logo on it.
    • One of the props is an animatronic seal which does varied behaviors for different events, such as barking hello at the beginnings of episodes.
    • The puzzle board's steps are white.
  • March 9 is Family Fun Week.
  • On March 9, the second-place team has $20,490.
  • On March 10, yellow contestants Adam and Eric appear to say the Speed-Up Puzzle answer on the buzzer. After conferring with the judge, Pat moves on to blue contestants Michelle and Mike, who call a letter and solve. He then says that there is a possibility that Adam and Eric beat the buzzer and won instead of Michelle and Mike; before the Bonus Round, it is determined that Adam and Eric did not beat the buzzer, so Michelle and Mike have won.
  • On March 11, the Round 3 puzzle QUARTERBACKS PEYTON & ELI MANNING is the second of only two known instances of Family using a descriptive term.
  • March 16 is Big Splash Week.
  • Between March 5 and 18, ten bonus puzzles in a row are Thing(s).
  • On March 18:
    • When contestant Marissa loses the Million-Dollar Wedge to Bankrupt in Round 3, the camera cuts to the animatronic seal, which does a facepalm.
    • Contestant Brandon solves the bonus puzzle BOLD MOVE with the L, D, and E showing.
  • March 23 is Coast to Coast Week.
  • On March 23, there is a $100,000 win.
  • On March 25, blue contestant Connie rings in on the $2,000 Toss-Up, but red contestant Tani, mishearing Pat, starts to say the answer before Connie does. Due to the confusion, Pat says before the $3,000 Toss-Up that he will refer to Tani as "Ed"; he does so after Tani rings in, but she does not realize it immediately and almost gets buzzed out.
  • March 30 is Going Green Week. During this week, the "Going Green" logo on the video wall has the traditional logo in place of the O.
  • On March 31, Pat and Vanna promote Sony's Take Back Recycling Program, a program for recycling electronics, in the final segment.

April 2009Edit

  • On April 2, a total of $60,000 is unclaimed in Round 4.
  • April 6 is Vacation Adventure Week, a fourth week of episodes from SeaWorld.
  • On April 6, contestant Eric has his friend Nick spin the Wheel for him.
  • On April 7, the $3,000 Toss-Up CAESAR'S PALACE is improperly punctuated, as the name does not contain an apostrophe.
  • During the week of April 6, all five winners are male.
  • April 13 is Spring Break Week.
  • On April 13, contestant Kara begins to call a repeated S in Round 2, but catches herself and says H. She is credited with the H, which is in the puzzle.
  • On April 14, there is a $100,000 win.
  • April 20 is the fourth America's Game Week.
  • All five Bonus Rounds are lost on the week of April 20, part of a nine-loss streak stretching from April 15-27.
  • April 27 is Sandals Resorts Week. During this week, Vanna reads the Prize copy.

May 2009Edit

  • On May 1, contestant Robyn finishes in second place with $20,950, despite failing to claim $36,000 in the Speed-Up round by mispronouncing the second word of CHERRY ORCHARD as "orc-ard".
  • May 4 is Wheel Around the World Week.
  • On May 5:
    • There is a $7,300 Jackpot win.
    • The $3,000 Toss-Up is a redundant answer of SPOTTED LEOPARD.
  • May 11 is Fun and Games Week.
  • On May 11:
    • There is an $8,400 Jackpot win.
    • The second-place contestant has $27,400.
  • On May 12:
    • The $3,000 Toss-Up THE JONAS BROTHERS is both the first of only three known instances of Family being used in a Toss-Up, and the second known instance of it naming a specific family instead of the individual members.
    • Contestant Pam (who solves the bonus puzzle) misses the $1,000,000 by one envelope.
  • On May 13:
    • Contestant Mike says the answer to the $1,000 Toss-Up but forgets to ring in, allowing Nancy to ring in and say the answer immediately afterward.
    • SAME NAME is the $2,000 Toss-Up, and the Round 1 puzzle category is Same Name.
  • On May 14, the second-place contestant has $25,100.
  • On May 15:
    • Two males play.
    • Show Biz makes its last appearance in the Bonus Round until May 4, 2011.
  • May 18 is Star Treatment Week.
  • On May 18, the second-place contestant has $21,980.
  • On May 21:
    • For the only known time, a contestant gets buzzed out while trying to solve for the Jackpot; shortly before the buzzer, Pat suggests choosing to spin or buy a vowel instead since she did not start her answer.
    • There is an $8,400 Jackpot win. Because of this, a "null" cycle that occurred earlier in the round is left intact to avoid any inconsistencies in the Jackpot value (a Lose A Turn, an incorrect R, and another Lose A Turn).
  • On May 22, contestant Javaid solves the bonus puzzle BAGGAGE CLAIM on the buzzer. Although the win music plays and the answer is revealed, Pat tells him that they will have to stop tape to check his answer. In the final segment, Pat and Vanna tell him that he solved 1/10 of a second before the buzzer, and the show ends after Charlie describes the Audi that he won. This is also the last car won in the Bonus Round until December (see below).
  • May 25 is the fifth and final America's Game week of the season.
  • On May 28:
    • The Wheel prize is $5,000 cash, and the copy includes a trailer for Paul Blart: Mall Cop.
    • All three contestants hit Lose A Turn in Round 2.
    • Contestant Christian makes two incorrect guesses on the Round 2 Prize Puzzle HIKING AMONG EXOTIC PLANTS AND ANIMALS before giving the right answer on his third attempt.
    • A "null" cycle is not edited out of Round 2 (a Lose A Turn, a second incorrect guess from Christian, and a Bankrupt from a contestant who also hit Bankrupt on her previous turn), possibly due to Pat forgetting to take a forfeited Gift Tag until just after the second turn in the cycle.
  • On May 29:
    • The third-place contestant has $13,550.
    • New episodes end temporarily.

July 2009Edit

  • July 13 is World Café Week, a set of episodes which comprise a sweepstakes sponsored by CoffeeMate non-dairy creamer, offering viewers a chance at winning a European vacation. This is only the second time that new episodes have aired out of the typical September-May/June cycle, not counting Season 1.
  • Beginning July 13, cars are no longer available in the Bonus Round.
  • On July 16, there is a $100,000 loss, setting a new record of nine $100,000 losses in one season.
  • On July 17, for no particular reason, Round 1 is a very short answer of PUMPKIN PIE.

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