A timeline for Season 4 of Wheel of Fortune, which aired in first-run from September 8, 1986 through June 19, 1987. Please note that this page is incomplete, as Game Show Network has never aired any episodes from this season and few episodes circulate among collectors.
- The Wheel templates are overhauled:
- Lose A Turn changes from tan to yellow.
- In Round 1, $1,000 becomes pink. Going clockwise from there, $500 changes from light orange to yellow, $400 from red to purple, $200 from tan to red, Free Spin from brown to peach, $700 from orange to pink, $200 from tan to peach, $150 from red to blue, and $450 from brown to red. The blue $400 decreases to a purple $200, while the $250 next to it becomes a peach $400. The green $900 becomes a pink $250, the tan $600 darkens to peach, the brown $250 becomes purple, the blue $350 becomes orange, the tan $750 darkens to yellow, the orange $800 becomes blue, and the orange $200 lightens to peach.
- In Round 2, $1,000 becomes yellow. From there, the orange $600 becomes red, the red $300 becomes pink, and the brown $700 lightens to peach. Lose A Turn swaps positions with the $150 two wedges clockwise (which becomes purple), while the tan $800 becomes red, the red $500 becomes pink, the tan $400 becomes blue, the blue $250 becomes purple, the tan $400 upgrades to a peach $900, the blue $550 reduces to a red $300, and the brown $300 becomes a blue $250. The red $200 and tan $900 trade places (the former becoming pink and the latter becoming yellow), the orange $200 increases to $400, the blue $400 becomes a purple $550, the tan $500 becomes an orange $200, the second Bankrupt moves one wedge clockwise to replace the tan $600 (with a red $500 replacing the Bankrupt), the brown $250 becomes a pink $600, and the red $200 becomes blue.
- In Rounds 3+, the $1,500-Bankrupt-$700-$500 stretch is reversed. Also, $1,500 becomes yellow, the blue $700 becomes purple, the orange $500 becomes blue, the red $350 becomes pink, the brown $350 becomes purple, and the tan $300 becomes pink.
- Sometime this season, the $200 between $500 and $550 is temporarily increased to $900 for Rounds 2+, and the peach $900 temporarily becomes lime green.
- The King World logo becomes aqua blue, a color which remains through the end of Season 6.
- Around this point, Pat no longer says "For [amount], [solve/identify/what's] this [category]" after a contestant asks to solve.
- On an episode sometime this season, a $15,000+ Buick Skylark is the Wheel Prize. It is not picked up.
- On an episode during the week of October 13 (Julie/David/Nita), the puzzle board uses its original chase light sequence.
- As of the above episode, the set still looks the same as it did in October 1984.
- On an episode sometime between October 20 and November 13 (Marsha/Ed/Kathleen, known to have been rerun on September 11, 1987):
- Oddly, the red portions are missing from the opening logo.
- The Round 3 puzzle FOOT-LONG HOT DOG is a very rare instance of a puzzle with only one vowel.
- Ed wins with $4,750, earned entirely from a $5,000 spin in Round 3 followed by the purchase of a vowel.
- After Ed wins the Bonus Round, he is briefly shown in a "window" accompaying a shot of the prize played for (a diamond necklace), similar to the shot used in shopping rounds at the time.
- By November 13, two set changes are made:
- The contestant backdrops are changed to streamline the "jagged" edges while retaining the same color scheme. The new backdrops' "beams" appear to resemble flower buds.
- The walls are replaced by a set of lights and a more colorful background.
- As of November 13, the Enterprises logo still looks the same as it did on September 10, 1984.
- Sometime this month, known to be after the third sunburst backdrops are introduced, a female contestant named Leigh sets a new one-round record of $44,300 by solving AN AMERICAN SUCCESS STORY. She also wins three cars: one from the Prize wedge, the other two from the aforementioned one-round record. Her overall maingame winnings are $59,013, but she loses a $17,000+ piece of jewelry in the Bonus Round.
- On an episode sometime in November or December (Kate/Marc/Caryn):
- A $13,187 Renault Alliance convertible is the Wheel Prize. It is won.
- Round 4 is played for a gift certificate despite not beginning as a Speed-Up.
- By the above episode, and definitely by December 22, the Enterprises logo is altered to add the line "A unit of The Coca-Cola Company" between the "Enterprises" marking and copyright date.
- As of December 11, the Used Letter Board is still a chalkboard.
- Reruns air during the week of December 29.
- On January 5, 6, or 7 (Ann/Valerie/Helen):
- The puzzle board uses its original chase light sequence.
- Strangely, the Prize wedge closeup has it on the Round 1 layout, specifically the red $300 next to $800.
- Valerie sweeps the game and wins a Hi-Lo trailer in the Bonus Round.
- On February 12 (taped January 18), then-future Oprah Winfrey Show producer LeGrande Green is a contestant. He wins $4,900 in the main game (including a sofa bed, brass clock, stereo system, and trip to Hawaii) plus a Renault in the Bonus Round, a total of $19,508.
- By February 12, the puzzle board's chase lights begin using the reversed sequence permanently.
- On an episode sometime this month (Therese/Ed/Rodger):
- The Round 2 puzzle PLEASE DON'T FEED THE ANIMALS is on the second through fourth rows, a practice normally done only if the first word is too long for the top row.
- In Round 2, Ed accidentally asks to buy a vowel after spinning, but is prompted for a consonant by Pat. He then calls an S, which is in the puzzle.
- The camera is zoomed too far out for the entirety of Round 2, showing the entire puzzle board, and a portion of the Wheel.
- Round 4 begins as a Speed-Up, with no shopping. Oddly, the letter ding is used when the apostrophe in the puzzle is revealed.
- During the end-of-game tally, Pat mentions that Rodger's twin brother had been a contestant as well.
- Possibly due to the presence of Round 4, Pat signs off after the Bonus Round.
- Sometime between March 17 and 30, the money graphic begins zooming in rather than "flipping".
- By March 30, Jack begins announcing from a booth in front of the audience. This setup remains through at least mid-October 1988, and likely through the end of Season 6.
- Reruns air during the week of April 13.
- On an episode sometime this month (Mark/Barbara/Susan):
- In a rarity for the shopping era, two contestants (Mark and Susan) win at least $10,000.
- Mark wins two cars: a Jeep in the main game, and a Renault in the Bonus Round.
- On another episode sometime this month (Sandra/Janet/Ray), Jack appears on-camera.
- On an episode sometime this month (Martine/Jim/Gerri), the bonus puzzle UNITED STATES AIR FORCE is only the third known bonus puzzle to use all four lines of the board.
- As of the above episode, the category chyrons are still not present during Speed-Up rounds.
- As of the above episode, the Enterprises logo still looks the same as it did on December 22, 1986.