It looks like “Wheel of Fortune” has solved a tough puzzle — how to safely play the game during the coronavirus pandemic.
The beloved game show will return for its 38th season next Monday, with some modifications in light of the virus.
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Watch TODAY All Day! Get the best news, information and inspiration from TODAY, all day long.© Carol Kaelson The spinning cap will help contestants safely spin the wheel in the hopes of racking up a lot of cash. (Carol Kaelson / Sony Pictures Television)
“To keep contestants and talent safe while taping the shows, the Wheel was slightly redesigned to extend the platform surrounding the Wheel to allow for 6 feet of space between Pat Sajak and each of the contestants,” a press release read.
“This was also an opportunity to install an all new curved monitor that surrounds the Wheel. In addition, each contestant is given their own spinning cap, which Sajak has dubbed, ‘The White Thing.’ The cap fits over each spoke on the Wheel so contestants can spin without personally touching the Wheel.”
Download the TODAY app for the latest coverage on the coronavirus outbreak.© Carol Kaelson Pat Sajak will return for more
“Our challenge was not unique, to get back up and running in a way that is safe for everyone involved while making subtle improvements to make America’s Game even better,” executive producer Mike Richards said in a statement.
“I think we have accomplished that in a big way, and our fans can be comfortable knowing that they’re going to tune in to see the 'Wheel of Fortune' they love.”
“Wheel of Fortune” suspended production back in March. It resumed shooting last month.
Viewers should not expect any changes in how the game itself is played, although the minimum prize in the Bonus Round has been bumped up to $38,000 in honor of the show’s 38th season.
“Wheel of Fortune” returns the same day as “Jeopardy!,” which will kick off its 37th season with a new set and legendary champ Ken Jennings serving as a consulting producer.
Jan. 7 (UPI) --Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak says Celebrity Wheel of Fortune will have a 'different' vibe than the regular show.
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Sajak, 74, shared details about the new, star-studded version of the show in an interview with Entertainment Weekly published Thursday.
Celebrity Wheel of Fortune will premiere Thursday at 8 p.m. EST on ABC. The series will feature Leslie Jones, Tony Hawk, Chrissy Metz, Drew Carey, Chris Harrison, Jennie Garth and other stars as contestants.
Sajak said Celebrity Wheel of Fortune will be played the same as the regular game but have a different vibe.
'We've jazzed up the set a bit, made it look a little more prime-timey, whatever that means. And it's going to be a different kind of vibe,' Sajak shared.
'We want [the contestants] to play a good, solid game, but we're mainly there to have fun. It'll be a little lighter in attitude,' he added.
Sajak said the Celebrity version was a long time coming but that the timing seemed right 'because of what's going on in the world.'
Wheel Of Fortune Host
'Wheel of Fortune is kind of a sign of normalcy for people; they were very glad to have us back on the air. So this seemed like a good time to expand into primetime a little bit, at least one time, and extend that normalcy,' he said.
Thursday's episode will feature Jones, Hawk and Chandra Wilson. ABC shared a teaser for the episode Wednesday that shows Hawk about to solve a puzzle.
Really, @tonyhawk?! Don't miss a moment of #CelebrityWheelOfFortune starting TOMORROW at 8 7c! pic.twitter.com/7tZQW1uqOW— ABC (@ABCNetwork) January 6, 2021
Wheel of Fortuneresumed production in July after shutting down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The show's 38th season premiered in September.