All this week, Wheel of Fortune has been celebrating the 30th anniversary of the syndicated version of the show. On the May 30 show (tomorrow as of this writing), there seems to be a major event occurring. What is it, you may ask? Allow me to show you with this promo from Wheel of Fortune themselves:
If that didn't hit you over the head hard enough, it would seem that Wheel will be giving away another million dollars. The first such winner was Michelle Lowenstein in 2008. Winning the prize is no easy task. To win the prize, one has to first land on the Million Dollar wedge (a 1/72 chance), call a letter in the current puzzle, solve the same puzzle, win the game while not hitting Bankrupt the rest of the game, land on the million-dollar envelope on the Bonus Wheel (1/24 chance there), and finally solve the bonus round puzzle. Quite the arduous task.
The issue, though, is that Wheel's promotions department can't keep a good thing quiet. For example, a major game show news site tweeted a "friendly warning" to watch all this week. Various affiliates from all over the US have tweeted similar thoughts, to "watch Thursday's show". And just today (5/29), the same game show news site's Facebook page featured a partially-filled in Wheel of Fortune puzzle, alluding to the fact that it is indeed the million-dollar puzzle. The fine folks at the Buy A Vowel Boards, an active Wheel fansite have compiled a list of information about the big event that has been gleaned directly from anything Wheel of Fortune has put out on their website, Facebook, Twitter, etc. They have concluded that you can find out:
- What day this is happening
- The contestant's appearance, gender, and name
- What podium the contestant will be at
- What round the Million Dollar Wedge is hit
- Who makes it to the Bonus Round
- What the Bonus Round puzzle is
- The outcome of the Bonus Round
- The prize in play
The bottom line here is that Wheel's promotions and social media department needs a big lesson in handling spoilers. A TV show in this day and age needs to be careful about spoiling major events. Sure, they may want to drum up viewership, but people not watching hasn't been a problem since the '70s. Based on the most recently available ratings reports for the week ending May 10, Wheel had 9.7 million unique views during the week with a 6.3 rating among households watching at the time Wheel airs. They were the 2nd most-watched program during the week among all of television.
Can they keep things under wraps? Yes. Do they choose not to? Also yes. I will be watching to see how things turn out. For all I know, nothing could happen. If history is correct, something will.