• 101
    Stargate Atlantis

    Stargate Atlantis

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    Syfy (ended 2009)
    The Lost City of Atlantis Has Been Found! A secret group of scientists have discovered the location of the famous lost city of Atlantis, but it's not on Earth. It's located in another galaxy altogether, the Pegasus galaxy. Stargate Atlantis, a spin-off from the highly successful Stargate SG-1 series, follows a multinational scientific and military group, lead by Diplomat Dr. Elizabeth Weir (played by actress Torri Higginson), headed on a one way trip to Atlantis. Their mission: to investigate the secrets of Atlantis, a city now known to have been built by ancient powerful beings, and bring whatever they discover back to Earth. They will be all on their own, with no means to return, with no means of rescue or support, unless they can find the technology they need in Atlantis to return them to Earth. Once in Atlantis, the group finds the city abandoned; asleep for tens of thousands of years, and no power source left for a return home. They must find a power source within Atlantis' own Pegasus galaxy using the same Stargate system that got them there or they will be stranded forever. On the first planet they visit, they accidentally waken a new, powerful, and more evil enemy than human kind has ever faced, the Wraith. And the Wraith are hungry – for humans! Follow the extraordinary adventures of an SGA team lead by Major John Sheppard (played by actor Joe Flanigan), and his team made up by his second in command Lt. Aiden Ford (played by actor Rainbow Sun Francks), and the Astrophysicist/Scientist Dr. Rodney McKay (played by actor David Hewlett, reprising the role he played in Stargate SG-1). Joining the team will be Teyla Emmagan (played by actress Rachel Luttrell), a beautiful, exotic, and strong-willed woman from the Pegasus galaxy.moreless
  • 102
    The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

    The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

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    Comedy Central
    Forget the 24 hour biased left wing news media, the best fake news show in the world will provide you with all the news you can handle. The Daily Show is a comedic view of recent news headlines and political figures through a series of satirical monologues by Jon Stewart along with segments by "correspondents" and finally interviews with guest celebrities and political figures. Craig Kilborn (SportsCenter) was the original host until the fourth season when Jon Stewart (The Jon Stewart Show) came in to take over after Kilborn left for CBS. The Daily Show has won multiple Emmy's and other prestigious awards such as the Peabody Award. It airs Mondays-Thursdays at 11pm ET on Comedy Central. It re-airs the following day at 1am ET, 10am ET, 2pm ET, and 8pm ET on Comedy Central.moreless
  • 103
    CSI: NY

    CSI: NY

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    CBS (ended 2013)
    The third edition of the "CSI" franchise sets up shop in the Big Apple, where taciturn Detective Mac Taylor (GarySinise) leads a crime-solving team. Like his counterparts in Las Vegas and Miami, Taylor knows that people may lie, but the evidence rarely does. In the city that never sleeps, CSI: NY never rests. A spin-off from CSI: Miami, the third edition to the CSI franchise follows a New York City forensics team/police officers headed by former tough Marine Major, Det. Mac Taylor. Against a backdrop of simmering ethnic and cultural tensions, Taylor probes cases similar to their Las Vegas and Miami counterparts, along with his team of Detectives, consisting of Det. Danny Messer (Carmine Giovinazzo), Det. Lindsay Monroe (Anna Belknap), and Det. Dr. Sheldon Hawkes (Hill Harper). The CSIs work alongside Medical Examiner Sid Hammerback (Robert Joy), lab rat Adam Ross (A.J. Buckley), hardcore homicide Det. Don Flack (Eddie Cahill) and the newest addition to the team, Det. Jo Danville (Sela Ward), an experienced investigator from Washington, D.C., whose work is driven by her empathy for the victim. Former team members include the late Det. Aiden Burn (Vanessa Ferlito) and Mac's former second in command, Det. Stella Bonasera (Melina Kanakaredes).moreless
  • 104
    CSI: Miami

    CSI: Miami

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    CBS (ended 2012)
    CSI: Crime Scene Investigation took television by storm in 2000 with its innovative and cutting-edge updating of a standard series concept – in this case, the cop show. Suddenly, instead of simply whodunit, solving crimes was a matter of howdunit, and with what size shoe, and whether anyone left behind traces of evidence that the blue ALS light could pick up. Now that gritty approach to crime known as forensic science makes its way from Las Vegas to the streets of Florida in CSI: Miami. A whole new team of crime scene investigators is on hand to probe the seamy underside of what some refer to as Cuba North and others call Georgia South. Consider it a tropical blend of people, culture, nightlife and, of course, the occasional killing or two. Just as you do in Vegas, come for the crime, stick around for the clues. And there's always a clue. The Team Horatio Caine is the lead criminologist, sort of the Grissom of the spin-off. But he's got a dangerous edge and a "blind allegiance to justice." Tim Speedle was a young, well-educated criminalist who did his job in honor of his high school friend, who died two years after he was paralyzed in a snowmobile accident. He died on duty when he was shot in a jewelry store while investigating a murder. Eric Delko is a funny and lovable character, now working as a CSI, specializing in underwater recovery. Alexx Woods is a young coroner. Alexx has the education that has earned her the nickname "knowologist," and she often challenges the other CSIs. She is known to talk to the victims. Calleigh Duquesne is the team's ballistics expert, sometimes known as the "bullet girl." Ryan Wolfe is the newest member of the team. He is young and often thinks outside the box to help solve cases.moreless
  • 105
    Gilmore Girls

    Gilmore Girls

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    The WB (ended 2007)
    Set in a storybook Connecticut town populated with an eclectic mix of everyday folks and lovable lunatics, Gilmore Girls is a humorous multigenerational series about friendship, family and the ties that bind. Thirtysomething Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) has made her share of mistakes in life, but she has been doing her best to see that her college-bound daughter - and best friend in the world - Rory (Alexis Bledel), doesn't follow in her footsteps. That may be easier said than done, considering that the two share the same interests, the same intellect, the same coffee addiction and the same eyes. Rory is more serious than Lorelai, but there are tendencies, especially in the love department, that clearly indicate she is her mother's daughter. From the beginning, this unique mother-daughter team has been growing up together. Lorelai was just Rory's age when she became pregnant and made the tough decision to raise her baby alone.

    Gilmore Girls was the first series to make it to air supported by the Family Friendly Forum's script development fund. An initiative between some of the nation's top advertisers and The WB, the program is intended to offer a greater array of compelling family programming on network television. The strong and loving mother-daughter relationship portrayed in Gilmore Girls reflects the growing reality of this new type of American family.moreless
  • 106
    Scrubs

    Scrubs

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    NBC (ended 2010)
    This half-hour comedy focuses on the bizarre experiences of fresh-faced medical intern John "J.D." Dorian (Zach Braff) as he embarks on his healing career in a surreal hospital crammed full of unpredictable staffers and patients – where humor and tragedy can merge paths at any time.

    Joining the rumpled J.D. in his exhilarating brave new world are his college buddy, Chris Turk (Donald Faison, "Clueless"), an intern with a more elite surgical group, and J.D.'s fellow medical intern, the beautiful and driven Elliot Reid (Sarah Chalke, "Roseanne"). Keeping the new interns on their toes are: The fatherly chief of medicine, Dr. Bob Kelso (Ken Jenkins); the abrasive, worldly Dr. Perry Cox (John McGinley), and the caring but slightly jaded nurse Carla Espinosa (Judy Reyes). The hospital janitor (Neil Flynn) also never seems to miss an opportunity to harass his target.

    Scrubs is filmed in a real-life hospital. It's the North Hollywood Medical Center, which has gone under severe reconstruction to fit all the equipment and represent Sacred Heart Hospital. The Opening Theme Song: "Superman" performed by Lazlo Bane NBC Broadcast History: October 2001 - May 2002 --- Tuesdays, 9:30pm September 2002 - October 2003 --- Thursdays, 8:30pm November 2003 - January 2004 --- Thursdays, 9:30pm January 2004 - May 2004 --- Tuesdays, 9:30pm June 2004 - August 2004 --- Thursdays, 9:30pm August 2004 - December 2004 --- Tuesdays, 9:30pm January 2005 - May 2005 --- Tuesdays, 9:00pm January 2006 - March 2006 --- Tuesdays, 9:00pm & 9:30pm March 2006 - May 2006 --- Tuesdays, 9:00pm November 2006 - April 2007 --- Thursdays, 9:00pm April 2007 - May 2007 --- Thursdays, 9:30pm October 2007 - April 2007 --- Thursdays, 9:30pm April 2007 - May 2008 --- Thursdays, 8:30pm The show then moved to ABC for the 2009/2010 television season. ABC Broadcast History: January 2009 - February 2009 --- Tuesdays, 9:00pm and 9:30pm March 2009 - May 2009 --- Wednesdays, 8:00pm December 2009 --- Tuesdays, 9:00pm January 2010 - March 2010 --- Tuesdays, 8:00pm and 9:00pmmoreless
  • 107
    Married... With Children

    Married... With Children

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    FOX (ended 1997)
    Married... with Children is a show about shoe salesman Al Bundy who raises his dysfunctional family. Peg Bundy is Al's wife, she is addicted to shopping and watching Oprah. Marcy Rhoades/D'Arcy is the Bundys' neighbor who works as a banker. Marcy was married to Steve Rhoades, another banker, for a few years but they ended up getting a divorce. A year later Marcy met and got married to Jefferson D'Arcy, a former spy who had various jobs, but he preferred being a house husband. Kelly Bundy is the attractive daughter with the intelligence of a fruitfly. Bud Bundy is the son who has bad luck with women. Fox Broadcast History: April 1987-October 1987---Sundays-8:00 p.m. October 1987-July 1989---Sundays-8:30 p.m. July 1989-August 1996---Sundays-9:00 p.m. September 1996-June 1997---Saturdays-9:00 p.m.moreless
  • 108
    Farscape

    Farscape

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    Syfy (ended 2004)
    Five years ago, astronaut John Crichton attempted to use the Earth's atmosphere to propel his ship, Farscape 1, at great speeds across the solar system. He went much further though and was sucked down a wormhole to a distant part of the galaxy and into the middle of a battle. He was rescued by a group of escaping prisoners and taken aboard their ship, a living ship. As the years went by, Crichton has made enemies, powerful and dangerous enemies. On his journey to find a way back home, he freed other captives who became part of the crew on Moya.moreless
  • 109
    Neighbours

    Neighbours

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    Network Ten
    Neighbours is a weekday soap opera exploring the lives and relationships of the residents of Ramsay Street in Erinsborough. Now in its 26th year of production, Neighbours is Australia's most successful television program, not to mention being a hit world-wide. Neighbours has already hit the 6000th episode mark and looks set to continue serving up the laughter, tears and drama that has taken the world by storm. The show is currently produced by FremantleMedia Australia. Reg Watson is the man who created the show. Music tracks provided to the show are done so by Mushroom Music Publishing. Animals appearing on the show are provided by Animal Actors. The current network's drama executive is Claire Tonkin and the network's publicist is Paula Lucarelli, these associations and people are credited at the end of each episode. Neighbours originated on Australia's Seven Network in 1985, then moved to Network Ten from 1986-2010. In 2011 it moved to one of Network Ten's free-to-air digital channels, Eleven, where in currently airs Monday-Friday at 6:30pm. It should be noted that this episode guide runs at the same pace as the episodes originally air in Australia. For New Zealand the guide is approximately 3 weeks ahead (15 episodes). In the UK and Ireland the guide is approximately 9 weeks ahead (45 episodes). The end credits of each episode show the entire main cast and any main cast that have moved from starring in the show, to take on a recurring role, even if they didn't appear in an episode. The episode guide however only contains the cast specific to the episode, along with the crew credited for appearing on the show. Stefan Dennis (Paul Robinson) is the only current cast member to appear in the first episode and remain on the show, although had left in 1992, before returning in 2005. He lives at number 22, with his daughter Lucinda 'Elle' Robinson (Pippa Black) her boyfriend Lucas Fitzgerald (Scott Major) and Donna Freedman (Margot Robbie). Number 24 is the home of the Ramsays donated to them by the Salvation Army. Here brother & sister Harry (Will Moore), and Kate (Ashleigh Brewer) live with younger sister, Sophie (Kaiya Jones). Number 26 is were the currently longest serving cast member Tom Oliver lives, as Lou Carpenter. The Napiers also live here, with mother Rebecca (Jane Hall) lives with her son Declan (James Sorensen) and his daughter India (currently played by two twin babies, Alia & Gab Devercelli). Number 28 is the Kennedy's family home, were Susan (Jackie Woodburne) and Karl (Alan Fletcher) live, alongside their adoptive son Zeke Kinski (Matthew Werkmeister) and his friend Ringo Brown (Sam Clark). Sunny Lee (Hany Lee Choi) also lives here. Number 30 or 'The House of Trouser' as dubbed by many of it's residents over the years, is Jarrod "Toadie" Rebecchi (Ryan Moloney) home. Were he lives with his adopted son Callum Jones (Morgan Baker). The pair are joined by Dan Fitzgerald (Brett Tucker), Karl & Susan's daughter and Dan's husband, Elizabeth "Libby" Kennedy-Fitzgerald (Kym Valentine), Libby's son Ben (Blake O'Leary) also lives here. Number 32, is the Scully family home, Steph Scully (Carla Bonner) lives here with her son Charlie Hoyland (Jacob Brito) and her mum Lyn (Janet Andrewartha).moreless
  • 110
    Prime Suspect

    Prime Suspect

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    ITV (ended 2006)
    Welcome to the Prime Suspect guide at TV.com. This is a long-running occasional detective drama series starring Helen Mirren as DCI (later Detective Superintendent) Jane Tennison, based on stories by Linda La Plante. The show has won awards on both sides of the Atlantic.moreless
  • 111
    Ultimate Force

    Ultimate Force

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    ITV (ended 2008)
    Ultimate Force is co-devised by Rob Heyland and former SAS soldier Chris Ryan. It follows the lives of a group of SAS soldiers known as Red Troop lead by Sergeant Henno Garvie as they put their lives at risk for their country.moreless
  • 112
    Kitchen Nightmares

    Kitchen Nightmares

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    FOX
    Gordon Ramsay's British series gets made over for America. In this series, Ramsay will hit the road to help many a struggling restaurant find the path to success in just one week.moreless
  • 113
    The Doctors

    The Doctors

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    This Dr. Phil spin-off features a panel of doctors discussing a variety of health topics. The group of specialists that comprise the panel deliver medical advice in an easily digestible, down-to-earth manner. Each doctor will weigh in on medical topics brought up by guests and their real life experiences, as well as issues raised by users that are a part of the series' online community.moreless
  • 114
    Futurama

    Futurama

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    Comedy Central (ended 2013)
    Futurama follows the comic exploits of Phillip J. Fry, a pizza delivery boy, who was accidentally cryogenically frozen in 1999, and awakens in the year 3000, finding much has changed, and, yet, is seemingly familiar. Together with an assortment of alien, robot, and human friends, he works for an intergalactic delivery service, Planet Express, run by his descendant nephew, and finds many adventures along the way.moreless
  • 115
    90210

    90210

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    The CW (ended 2013)
    "You wanna live in the zip, you've gotta live by the code." Based on the 1990s FOX hit, Beverly Hills, 90210, the series revolves around a new generation of friends dealing with the trials and tribulations of life while living in the most glamorous city in America.moreless
  • 116
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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    The WB (ended 2003)
    In every generation there is a Chosen One. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons and the forces of darkness. She is the Slayer. Sarah Michelle Gellar stars as Buffy Summers, The Chosen One, the one girl in all the world with the strength and skill to fight the vampires. With the help of her close friends, Willow (Alyson Hannigan), Xander (Nicholas Brendon), and her Watcher Giles (Anthony Stewart Head), she balances slaying, family, friendships, and relationships. For five years Buffy slayed vampires on the WB; then for her last two seasons she went to UPN. Theme music by Nerf Herder.moreless
  • 117
    Arrested Development

    Arrested Development

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    Netflix (ended 2013)
    The Emmy Award-winning comedy series ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT revolves around MICHAEL BLUTH (Jason Bateman), the "normal" one in a family of crazies, who is forced to stay in Orange County and run the family real estate business after his father, GEORGE BLUTH SR. (Jeffrey Tambor), is sent to prison for shifty accounting practices. While George Sr. spent the last year in the slammer discovering his newfound Judaism and recording inspirational tapes, Michael spent it picking up the pieces and trying to teach his offbeat family how to live without an endless expense account. All the while, Michael has also been trying to do right by his 14-year-old son, GEORGE MICHAEL (Michael Cera), an earnest kid who works diligently at the family's frozen banana stand. The Bluths are led by manipulative matriarch LUCILLE BLUTH (Jessica Walter), a socialite who is as icy as her martinis. Then there's the oldest son, GOB (Will Arnett), a womanizer and struggling magician (sorry, "illusionist") whose biggest trick will be to make a real job appear. The youngest brother is BUSTER (Tony Hale), a neurotic professional grad student and glorified mama's boy (he spent 11 months in the womb). The Bluth siblings are rounded out by cause-obsessed sister LINDSAY (Portia de Rossi), who is married to the hapless TOBIAS (David Cross), a doctor-turned-actor who might get more work if he wasn't a self-proclaimed "never-nude." Lindsay and Tobias are the ultra-permissive parents of MAEBY (Alia Shawkat), a 14-year-old who loves finding unique ways to rebel against their overindulgence.moreless
  • 118
    Merlin

    Merlin

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    BBC (ended 2012)
    This BBC series shows the dramatic outcomes of living in a land of myth and a time of magic, putting a new spin on the story of the famous sorcerer Merlin (Colin Morgan). Set in the Kingdom of Camelot, the story follows young Merlin's dangerous journey as he, a young prince Arthur (Bradley James) and other characters come face to face with legendary and fantastical foes and forces. Merlin originally aired on BBC-1.moreless
  • 119
    Justice League Unlimited

    Justice League Unlimited

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    Cartoon Network (ended 2006)
    Earth's seven greatest heroes unite against the threat of an alien invasion and decide to remain together to defend Earth against attacking aliens, sorcerers, super-villains, and any other threat that might arise. Among their number are the Martian Manhunter, last survivor of Mars; Superman, the super-powered last survivor of the planet Krypton; Batman, the Dark Knight Detective; Green Lantern, wielder of an alien Power Ring; The Flash, the Fastest Man Alive; Hawkgirl, Winged Wonder and policewoman from the planet Thanagar, and Wonder Woman, Princess of the Amazons. Starting with the third season, the show was retitled "Justice League Unlimited" and now the core members, under the guidance of the Martian Manhunter, command teams of specialist heroes brought together to deal with specific crises they are best suited to handling.moreless
  • 120
    Wheel of Fortune

    Wheel of Fortune

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    Wheel of Fortune is in its 26th season (2008-2009 Season) with Pat Sajak & Vanna White. Wheel debuted in 1982.Wheel of Fortune has been renewed through the 2011-2012 season.

    One of the most successful game shows in history, Wheel of Fortune actually is a version of the children's game Hangman (with a large carnival wheel and prizes added). The game show, which did modestly well in the 1970s, became a worldwide phenomenon in the 1980s through syndication and made household names out of its hosts, Pat Sajak and Vanna White. Simply put, the Wheel has never stopped spinning since its premiere as an NBC daytime show that winter day in January 1975. (Ironically, the series replaced Jeopardy!, which later in 1984 when it returned, became its current companion in syndication.)

    The rules of the game Three contestants -- at various times during the run, including a returning champion -- compete. The host announces a category to a mystery puzzle (person, place, thing, phrase, quotation, event, landmark, occupation, etc.). The puzzle was originally contained on a three-tier, 36-space board (in 1981, changed to a four-tier, 52-space board; and in 1997, an all-electronic four-tier, 52-space board).

    The contestant selected to go first (by blind draw before the show) spin a large horizontally-situated carnival wheel containing dollar amounts and other spaces (including Bankrupt, Lose a Turn and Free Spin). If the contestant landed on a dollar amount, he/she could guess a letter thought to be in the puzzle; if it appeared, they received the cash multiplied by the number of times it appears in the puzzle (ergo, if the player guessed "T" after landing on $250, and "T" appeared twice, they received $500). An incorrect guess or landing on a penalty space (Bankrupt or Lose a Turn) caused control of the wheel to pass to the next contestant.

    At any point, the contestant in control of the wheel could spin again, ask to buy a vowel (at which point $250 was deducted from their score, and only if they had at least $250) or attempt to solve the puzzle; very early in the show's run, a player had to land on a Buy a Vowel space in order to buy a vowel, but this idea was scrapped before Wheel completed its first month on the air. The Bankrupt space caused the player to lose his accumulated winnings for that round (though all previous winnings were considered safe -- hence, "Once you buy a prize, it's yours to keep").

    If the player correctly guessed the puzzle's solution, he/she got to keep their accumulated winnings. Any contestant solving the puzzle and not having at least $100 (later $200 and still later, $500) was spotted that amount "on the house." Early rounds typically had lower dollar values on the wheel ($500 as a top space on round 1 early in the run/Bob Goen version, later that was changed to $750), but increased in subsequent rounds ($1,000 and $2,000 for the later rounds, to increase the excitement; $1,250 when Bob Goen hosted).

    Originally, the winnings were used to "go shopping" (i.e., purchase prizes) in one of the three revolving rooms on the set -- each containing: * Furniture -- enough to fill any room in the house, from the living room and dining room to bedroom or game room. * Appliances -- large and small, enough to make that dream kitchen or efficient laundry room. * Things for outside -- everything from swimming pools and patio furniture to barbecues, lawn games and garden equipment. * Clothing -- for every occasion. * Trips -- to any place imaginable, domestic or foreign. And don't forget the luggage and camera outfits. * Electronics -- TVs, stereos and much more! The show was among the first to offer early versions of VCRs (c. 1976), home video game units (c. 1978, Atari) and satellite dishes (late-1970s). * Gift Certificates -- everywhere to restaurants (Bonanza, Dairy Queen), clothing outlets (Casual Corner) and any other store (Western Auto). * Food -- from steaks from the Iowa Beef Council and chocolates to items from the Dessert of the Month Club. * Overall comfort and fun -- from a central air conditioning system and pinball machines to hot tubs and pizza parties. * Miscellaneous items -- everything from magazine subscriptions and collections of LPs from a record label to those famous ceramnic dalmations. and MUCH more.

    There were other announced prizes, usually worth much more than in the revolving rooms. While some prizes offered during the early years were no doubt unusual (such as rare antiques and African masks), the favorite prize, of course, were the cars. In the daytime show, there were two or three available, usually, a sports model (such as a Chevrolet Camaro) and an economy model (a Chevrolet Monza), but there were also more upmarket family cars (the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme) and exotic foreign cars (a Lancia Beta coupe).

    Other top-ticket items proving popular were: * Other forms of transportation -- everything from boats, motorcycles and camping trailers. There was even, at one time, a 4-seat airplane and a motorhome available! * Furs -- before the animal rights groups got their way. * Jewelry -- everything from rings, necklaces, pearls, earrings, watches and much more!

    Starting in 1987 (primetime) and 1989 (daytime), the winner of a round received his accumulated bank in cash (thanks to beefs from contestants who had to pay steep taxes and preferred cash). During the shopping era, a contestant could elect to place any unused cash "on account" (which they could claim only upon winning a subsequent round AND avoiding the bankrupt space in the meantime); otherwise, unused winnings were placed on a gift certificate (usually to Gucci, Dicker and Dicker of Beverly Hills or another luxury shop seen on Rodeo Drive).

    If time ran short (signified by a series of "dings"), a "speed up" round was played, wherein the host gave the wheel one final spin, with vowels worth nothing and all consonants worth whatever the host landed on. The top-winning contestant after so many rounds completed within each show was the day's champion. In case of a tie, one of several things happened, depending on the year:

    * At first, all three players returned on the next show (even the third-place player). Everyone kept what they won on all shows. * Later, the two (or possibly all three) tied players played a one-round speedround to determine the champion. This format was used once the permanent bonus round was started.

    End Game - The Bonus Round At first, there was no bonus round, the top winner simply returned. Starting in 1981, the champion advanced to a bonus round, where they could select a prize (always worth $1,000 or more and signified with a gold star (or announced in some other way)) and, after choosing five consonants and one vowel, had 15 seconds to solve the puzzle.

    Prior to the bonus round becoming a permanent part of the game, there were several special weeks where bonus rounds were played. Games included (but not limited to):

    * 1975 hour-long format Bonus Round - Played during Wheel's short-lived 60-minute format, the day's overall winner selected one of four puzzles (labeled easy, medium, difficult and hard); the level of difficulty determined the prize (e.g., an easy puzzle may have been worth a TV-stereo console, while the difficult puzzle may have won the player a new Cadillac). The player then chose four consonants and a vowel and tried to solve the puzzle within 15 seconds. This is very similar to the current bonus round, except the level of difficulty did not necessarily correspond with the prize's value.

    * Any Prize in the House - The top winner simply chose a prize and they got it.

    * Star Bonus - By landing on a special token on the wheel, a contestant had the opportunity to advance to a special bonus round if they were one of the runners-up. That player could become champion by solving a puzzle and winning a prize that was worth more than the amount of the first-place player's lead. As with the 60-minute format's bonus round, the prize's value corresponded with the difficulty of the puzzle.

    This short-lived format wasn't always played, however, since the Star Bonus token sometimes wasn't landed on the entire show; the token could serve as insurance for a dominating player who wins the game (and possibly purchases the most-expensive prize, thereby making it unavailable for the opponents); or the expensive prize's value was not worth enough to cover the difference between the champion's winnings and his/her opponents.

    The rules of other games varied, but usually, the show had a bigger prize budget than during regular weeks.

    Changes through the years Many changes were made through the years, some very successful (luxury prizes in the syndicated version; $25,000 cash top bonus round prize), while others weren't (e.g., a "Doubler" token, which allowed contestants to double the potential value of the next spin; Rolf Benirschke as host of the daytime show; the infamous Megaword category, where a contestant had to correctly use the revealed word in a coherent sentence for an extra $500). Some of the more successful changes are detailed below.

    * For the syndicated version, decidedly luxury prizes were often advertised ("This $41,000 customized Cadillac Seville! "A $60,000 log cabin!" "A $25,000 trip around the world!"); plus a silver $5,000 space on the wheel's third round (replacing the $2,000 daytime show top space, though early syndicated shows had both the $2,000 and $5,000 spaces). Also, a bonus prize space was added in the second round of the syndicated show (and in 1987, a different bonus to the fourth round).

    * Meanwhile, in the daytime show, a "Jackpot" bonus space was added to the second round in 1987; it based at $1,000 and grew by $1,000 per show until claimed.

    * With the syndicated show's change to an all-cash format in 1987, the bonus round changed to having four (or sometimes, as many as six) grand prizes and $25,000 cash available as prizes. Originally meant to be a month-long promotion (the "Big Bonanza of Cash" before reverting to the tried-and-true post-puzzle shopping), this well-received format allowed more rounds – save for celebrity week gabfests, always at least four – to be played. Originally, the top wheel values were set thusly:

    - Round 1: $1,000. - Round 2: $2,500 (plus a bonus prize). - Round 3: $3,500. - Round 4-on: $5,000 (plus a bonus prize for Round 4 only, if time permits; sometimes, the bonus was used in Round 3 instead).

    This has since been changed, with the current setup as follows:

    - Round 1: $2,500, plus an $1,000 online shopping spree card that is placed on the wheel for the rest of the show a la the Free Spin, and may be picked up if a letter is correctly guessed. - Round 2: $3,500, plus a bonus prize, which remains on the wheel until a contestant picks it up. Until 2002, additional bonus prizes were placed on the wheel in subsequent rounds. – Round 3: $3,500, plus the Mystery Round spaces. - Round 4-on: $5,000, including the speed round.

    * During the 1988-1989 season, the contestant was given the six most popular letters -- R, S, T, L, N and E, and asked to select three more consonants and one vowel; the bonus round time limit was then shortened to 10 seconds.

    * Starting in 1989 (since $25,000 cash was far and away the most popular prize choice), the five grand prizes were placed in a blind draw, and could only be won once per week.

    * In 1996, the "returning champions" idea was scrapped, with a "Friday Finals" format instituted. Three new contestants appeared Monday through Thursday, with the week's top winners returning on Friday (regardless if they were their show's top winner) to play for a jackpot prize package. The latter format lasted only a couple of seasons before it, too, was scuttled.

    * In the 1990s, a Surprise space was added to the wheel, which was simply a prize that was announced only if won (usually a trip); this space has since been scrapped.

    * In the mid-1990s, a Jackpot round (third round initially, later the second round) allowed a contestant to claim an accumulating jackpot -- which based at $5,000 and accumulated with each dollar space landed on -- if they landed on a Jackpot space, correctly guessed a letter and solved the puzzle all in the same turn.

    * A few years after the jackpot round, a $10,000 space added to the wheel. The space was not multipliable; rather, it simply added $10,000 to the contestant's winnings if they solved the puzzle and avoided bankrupt. The space took up the center third of a standard wheel space, with two bankrupt spaces taking up the remainder (to add to the suspense). If the $10,000 part of the space was landed on and the contestant guessed correctly, it was placed face down in front of the contestant to read $10,000 (unlike the standard prize space, which was left face up).

    * "Toss Up" puzzles -- to determine who started the game -- were added prior to the first and fourth rounds, starting in the 2000-2001 season, each worth $1,000; a year later, two "Toss Up" puzzles were played, once before the contestant introductions and the second (now worth $2,000) to determine first round wheel control, with the pre-fourth round "Toss Up" now worth $3,000. If a contestant made an incorrect guess, he/she was out of the remainder of the puzzle; if all the letters were filled in or everyone guessed wrong, nobody won anything and wheel control began either with the left-most contestant or wherever it left off before.

    * During the 2000-2001 season, the "speed up" round was changed, wherein $1,000 was added to whatever dollar amount Sajak landed on. There was some cool music added, too.

    * Changes to the Bonus Round in October 2001. The contestant spun a mini- wheel containing 25 envelopes; Sajak removed the envelope; and win or lose, revealed the prize contained within (a car, $25,000 cash or a new top prize of $100,000; the top prize was contained in just one of the envelopes). In 2002-2003, more money amounts (one each of amounts between $30,000 and $50,000, each in $5,000 increments) were thrown into the mix. There have been at least five $100,000 winners and several others who have not been quite as fortunate.

    * Starting in 2002-2003, contestants who won nothing during the front game were given $500 just for playing (in addition to those lovely parting gifts).

    * A new Mystery space, added in the 2002-2003 season. Played in Round 3, two such spaces were placed on the wheel, with a $500 dollar value. Contestants landing on this space guessed a letter could either spin again or risk their accumulated bank, not knowing what's on the other side of the Mystery card. It could be Bankrupt or a new car (on occasion, it could be another prize, such as a $10,000 shopping spree). If it was a car, the contestant had to solve the puzzle and avoid the Bankrupt spaces to claim the car. The other Mystery space was then put out of play, becoming a regular $500 space. In September 2004, the values of the Mystery spaces dooubled to $1,000.

    A prize puzzle, added in the 2003-2004 season. One puzzle on each show (usually the second or third round) had some connection to a prize the contestant would win for solving the puzzle. For example, a contestant solving the puzzle "Check Your Local Listings" could win a plasma wall-screen television. The set underwent some revisions, too.

    Chuck and Susan and Pat and Vanna When the show started in 1975, Chuck Woolery was the host. For a brief time in the fall of 1979, Alex Trebek served as substitute host when Woolery took a leave of absence. In 1981, Woolery left for good when he was denied a pay raise (he wanted $500,000 per year, more than Merv Griffin was willing to offer. Chuck left, and Pat Sajak replaced him. Most of the Chuck Woolery episodes are hard to find, due to NBC's practice of destroying tapes from old shows. On the daytime version, ex-football star Benirschke on January 10, 1989, but he didn't work out too well. When the show moved from NBC to CBS, 6 months later, Bob Goen became the host, and was the host for two years (the show moved back to NBC in 1991 for 9 months). Pat Sajak still hosts the nighttime syndicated version.

    Susan Stafford was the original "letter turner." She was replaced by Summer Bartholemew on October 22, 1982, then Vicky McCarty three weeks later. (None of the Summer Bartholemew episodes exist due to NBC's practice of destroying tapes of old shows.) On December 13, 1982, McCarty left, and Vanna White became the new permanent hostess (BTW -- Vanna's first letter turned was a "T," in the puzzle "General Hospital"). As most game show fans know, this is not Vanna's first appearance on a game show. In June 1980, 2 1/2 years before her first appearance on Wheel of Fortune, America's favorite hostess was a contestant on The Price is Right in 1980, but she never left contestant's row (BTW – as a recurring joke, TPiR former icon/host Bob Barker always wondered aloud whatever became of her).

    Originally, Vanna rarely spoke on-camera (though she occasionally engaged in small talk with Pat at the end of the show); back then, Sajak would be introduced and then he would introduce Vanna, who always showed off a different dress or outfit (and for the record, no, she did NOT get to keep her clothes, which always come from the most glamorous of shops). However, as Vanna gained acclaim with the viewing audience, she talked more and more. Today, both Pat and Vanna walk out together and they always conversate after each program. Vanna often does the car prize descriptions prior to each bonus round.

    Charlie O'Donnell as the original announcer when Wheel of Fortune began. He left in 1982, and Jack Clark (who had earlier announced on occasion) took over full-time. Clark died of cancer in 1988 (Sajak offered a tribute to the long-time announcer in the 1988-1989 syndicated season premiere), and after a five-month stint by M.G. Kelly, O'Donnell returned, his trademark phrasing "WH-EEEEEEE-L OF FORTUNE" and "25 THOOOOOOOOOUSAND DOLLARS" intact.

    Retrospectives and going on the road Several tributes to the series have been shown through the years, most commonly as part of daytime talk shows and occasional bloopers specials. During its syndicated run, Wheel of Fortune has aired two retrospectives of its own - the first in November 1998, to mark its 3,000th show; and again in November 2003, when its 4,000th show aired, as part of a series of shows taped in New York.

    Speaking of which, Wheel of Fortune has gone "on the road" all over the country to tape shows. Among the first aired in November 1988, when the show taped from New York's Radio City Music Hall (legendary NBC announcer Don Pardo did voiceovers). Other cities have included (but are not limited to) Chicago, Nashville, Phoenix and Honolulu; and many of those episodes were part of special theme weeks (such as Best Friends Week) or have paired contestants with celebrities from a particular genre (e.g., NFL football players, country music stars).

    From Hangman to Wheel and everything in between The idea for the game show that eventually became Wheel of Fortune grew from a game known as Shopper's Bazaar. Two such pilots were produced – one in 1973 with Woolery as host, the other (from 1974) helmed by Edd Byrnes (best known as "Kookie" from the 1958-1964 detective drama, 77 Sunset Strip). The rules for the earlier pilot, hosted by Woolery, was quite different from the game we all came to know and love (e.g., a self-spinning wheel and the host pressing a button at the contestant's direction; prize money carried over to subsequent rounds and always "at risk;" etc.).

    The later pilot, hosted by Byrnes and a more talkative Stafford, was similar to what viewers first saw in 1975. When Merv Griffin Enterprises made their final plans to enter production in late 1974, a host had yet to be chosen. The story goes that Griffin's decision was made when he saw the producer's first choice, Byrnes, in the hallways prior to the taping of the first shows, repeating "A-E-I-O-U, A-E-I-O-U;" in an attempt to recall the vowels.

    It's the 60-minute Wh-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-l of Fortune In December 1975, a month after The Price is Right became a one-hour show, NBC experimented with an hour-long version of Wheel of Fortune.

    The game played thusly: Two sets of three contestants compete in three-round games each, as usual, with the returning champion playing in the second set of games. The top money winners of each three-round match met in a one-puzzle showdown for the right to advance to the bonus round (described above).

    The hour-long Wheel of Fortune lasted but a month, and returned to the 30-minute game we all came to love by the end of January 1976. BTW, several other NBC game show hits, including The Hollywood Squares, also briefly expanded to 60 minutes as part of the networks' promotion.

    Syndication Wheel of Fortune's phenomenal run in syndication almost never happened. As early as the fall of 1975, there was interest in producing a weekly nighttime show, but few syndicators were wanting to try and even fewer stations willing to buy, particularly because there were other powerhouse game shows airing (either Match Game PM or Family Feud, depending on the year) that were seen as insurmountable in the ratings.

    In 1983, King World Productions – a small-time distributor that had edited Our Gang shorts for television airing – took a chance on the show ... and it paid off royally! Airing on just 59 stations when the premiere aired Sept. 19, 1983, Wheel of Fortune (often pitted against latter-day Dawson's Family Feud) quickly soared in the ratings and within two years, was airing on nearly 200 stations and began its (thus far) permanent reign as the nation's top syndicated program. Jeopardy! rates second, with Friends reruns currently the shows' closest competitor.

    Wheel across the world (and (yuck) a kid's version, too) As Wheel of Fortune grew in popularity during the mid-1980s, countries all over the world began staging their own versions; each had their own "Pat and Vanna," and minor rules changes. Clips of these international versions are seen from time to time on the U.S. version.

    Also, a children's version of the program under the name Wheel 2000 also aired on CBS during the 1997-1998 season (with many modifications, see page for details).

    Merchandising Merchandise ... thy name is Wheel of Fortune. Even in the mid-1970s, there were two editions of the home game issued by Milton Bradley (complete with wheel, puzzle board and prize cards).

    But that was just the beginning, as by the mid-1980s, there were T-shirts, key chains, calendars and even an album of prize cue music featured on the show. Vanna merchandise also appeared, including her biography "Vanna Speaks."

    Home video games - from electronic hand-held units to cartridges and CD-ROMs for units that connect to TV - have also been highly popular (and have seen, in addition to subsequent editions with more puzzles and categories, special editions for children and sports fans).

    And through it all, one thing has not changed -- a vowel still costs you $250 (except during the Bob Goen network era/1989-91 CBS and 1991 NBC, when those A's, E's, I's, O's and U's cost just $100).moreless
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