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Wheel of Fortune is one of the many shows that were impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. After having to shut down filming, the popular game show is heading back to the airwaves, and the show will not look the same as it did before the COVID-19 shutdown. So, how will it be different?
The show is taking social distancing guidelines seriously. Deadline reports that the “wheel” in Wheel of Fortune underwent a post-coronavirus upgrade ahead of its September 14 premiere. The platform upon which the centerpiece of Wheel of Fortune’s fortune sits will allow for six feet of distance between contestants and host Pat Sajak.
That is not all! Wheel of Fortune has also added a curved monitor to surround the wheel. In another precaution, contestants will no longer touch the spokes with their bare fingers. They will have a covering they put over to spin it. In not entirely related news, the minimum amount that viewers can win on the bonus wheel has been set at $38,000 in honor of Season 38.
The encouraging news comes after some uncertainty regarding Wheel of Fortune’s future. It and many other shows waited months to restart production, before finally beginning again in August. As the pandemic spread earlier this year prior to the shutdown, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! tried to keep filming by getting rid of studio audiences. Now, the show will return with social distancing and wheel barriers.
Wheel of Fortune’s return does not indicate there will be any quarantine, although intensive testing protocols are being followed. Many other shows have taken a quarantine step as they have headed back into production. Dancing with the Stars has had its married pros separately quarantine for its upcoming season, as just one example. Thankfully, due to the nature of the game show, latex mannequins did not have to enter the equation.
Thankfully, Pat Sajak will presumably be healthy enough to return to Wheel of Fortune. Before the production shutdown, Sajak had to step away from his role temporarily. The Sajak magic was not far away from the wheel, though. Pat Sajak’s daughter, Maggie, filled in for her dad. This, after Vanna White had taken a break from turning letters to host.
The return of Wheel of Fortune is now days away. Its comeback may not have been as early as some others, but it will arrive before many of primetime’s scripted dramas. That is a feat in itself.
Wheel of Fortune returns on September 14. Be sure to check your local listings to see when the game show airs locally. It will provide of the new content this fall, and you can find more on our 2020 fall TV premiere schedule.