The set of Wheel of Fortune has come a long way from the days when Chuck Woolery and Susan Stafford ran the show. From disco-tiles to sunbursts to video walls, the current set is one that can be easily changed, while retaining the basic elements of Wheel of Fortune.
In the contestant area, the first and most important thing of all is the wheel. Coming out from the wheel's green center are the many sections of the wheel. Starting in the fall of 1999, all the dollar values are outlined in white.
Next to the wheel is the railing where the contestants and Pat stand. The contestants' "podiums" are built into this railing section. You have red, yellow, and blue spaces, each with a pointer pointing at a space on the wheel, so you know what you spun. The podiums flash when its that position's turn. Behind the contestants is a video wall. This replaced the "sunbursts" in each contestant's respective color. The video wall shows various things during non-game play moments. During game play, the video wall is blue, and shows pictures of money, the Wheel of Fortune logo, as well as various words, all meaning money. Visible in the picture at left are the words "funds", "dough", and "greenbacks".
Across the stage from the contestants is the puzzle board. Here, the puzzle is shown. This is also where Vanna White spends most of her time, as she "turns" the letters. The current puzzle board, introduced in the late 1990's, is completely electronic. Each letter space is a separate video monitor. When a letter is revealed, it lights up blue until Vanna comes over and touches the letter (as opposed from going from gray to bright white before being turned on the previous board). When the puzzle is solved, the letters simply light up, instead of having to be turned or touched.
But the puzzle board retains that classic touch to it. All spaces not in the puzzle are green, the border around it is gold-colored, and the letters are white, and in the same font as back in the day.
Between the podiums and the puzzle board is a video wall. On the episode where these stills were taken, during most of the shots of this monitor, the "Big Money Week" sign was up. Otherwise, it shows pictures of what's happening on the show (it has been observed showing the wheel, as well as the contestants up close). It also likely shows contestants the pictures of the prizes that we see full-screen on our TV sets at home.
With these basic elements in place, the remainder of the set changes with regularity. This particular week was "Big Money Week" (literally!). Last week was something else, and the next week will be something different from that.
A Salute to Game Shows © 1999-2001 Ben F. Schumin, Chris-Place.com. All rights reserved.