Having been at the forefront of Wheel of Fortune for 37 years now, Pat Sajak has seen the hugely popular game show change its format time and again, though often without the chance to actually speak up about what comes and goes. However, Sajak did get to air out some Festivus grievances on a recent episode (via TVLine) after a contestant waxed nostalgic for Wheel of Fortune's old shopping rounds, in which contestants picked prizes from a line up. It turns out Sajak was most certainly NOT a fan of that era.
After Pat Sajak had already referred to the shopping round as the "most boring three minutes of television," he brought the segment up again to Vanna White at the end of the episode, and they shared the following exchange.
PAT: You know, one of our players, Chris, said something that a lot of people say to me. They say, ‘I really miss the Shopping days on the show.’ I don’t miss ‘em. Do you?
VANNA: I don’t. It’s so much better now.
PAT: But you think, in retrospect, ‘Oh, that was kind of fun.’ But really, it was this thing going around with the woman’s head in a circle, and she’d be going, ‘I’ll have the…no, I’ll have the table.’ It really was not exciting television. We like it just the way it is.
While there are no doubt tons of viewers out there who would love to see the shopping round return to Wheel of Fortune, Pat Sajak and Vanna White clearly cannot be counted among them. I can totally see where they're coming from, since seeing people take whole minutes to choose prizes in such a fashion doesn't invite viewer participation in the way that Wheel of Fortune does with just about every other segment. And while certain contestants could be more engaging than others, the shopping round didn't allow for a whole lot of variance from one episode to the next.
That said, one of the biggest draws that game shows provide is the chance for viewers to live vicariously through those competing, so that we can either judge them for not getting puzzles fast enough, or marvel at their skills for answering things far quicker than we would have. And that vicariousness definitely extends to instances where the contestants are getting choosy with prizes. It can be almost as fun to rail on someone for picking a furniture set as it can be to solve a super-random "Before & After" puzzle with only one letter on the board.
Considering how long it's been since Wheel of Fortune utilized its shopping round, younger viewers might not even be aware that such a thing existed. That portion was eliminated from the nightly game show back in 1987, so it's not likely it'll ever make a return. Especially since both Pat Sajak and Vanna White apparently still hold disdain for that portion, though Sajak seems to have disdain for a lot of things these days. Here's hoping the upcoming primetime Wheel episodes go as smoothly as possible, except maybe wish some hilariously terrible guesses from the celebrity guests.
Wheel of Fortune airs weeknights in syndication, so be sure to check your local listings to see where and when it's playing in your area. While waiting to see what Wheel of Fortune will change up next, head to our Fall 2020 TV premiere schedule and our Winter and Spring 2021 TV rundown to see what new and returning shows are on the way soon.