Re-inventing the Wheel

March 27, 2008

Execs at Channel 9 have decided the best way to take on the ratings Goliath that is Deal or No Deal is to roll out a new version of Wheel of Fortune.  To support the transition from Ch 7 to Ch 9 they’ve signed a host who’s also making that journey – ex Home and Away actor and Dancing With the Stars contestant Tim Campbell.

The original version of Wheel graced our screens for almost 25 years and viewers endured new hosts and the impact of technology when the co-host was no longer required to turn the letters around, but still had to turn up in ballgowns.

So how is the latest incarnation of the television version of hangman going to win this coveted timeslot?  Well, the new name hints at their strategy – Million Dollar Wheel of Fortune.  The idea of throwing more money at a tried format made no difference to Price Is Right when Larry Emdur was directed to give away an apartment and wads of cash to a few very lucky audience members.  So why will this be any different?

Looking at the newest US series, there are more similarities to Deal than to the old Wheel.  The wheel itself no longer dominates the set and the clues certainly seem skewed differently to the old days.  If nothing else, having young women scream and hold on to one another like this is sure to get someone watching.