Wheel of Fortune is an American television game show created by Merv Griffin. The show features a competition in which contestants solve word puzzles, similar to those used in Hangman, to win cash and prizes determined by spinning a giant carnival wheel. The original daytime version aired on NBC from January 6, 1975, to June 30, 1989. It was on CBS from July 17, 1989, until January 11, 1991, and returned to NBC from January 14 to September 20, 1991, when it was canceled permanently. The daily syndicated version of the series premiered on September 19, 1983.
The daytime version was originally hosted by Chuck Woolery and Susan Stafford, with Charlie O’Donnell as its announcer. O’Donnell left in 1980, Woolery in 1981, and Stafford in 1982; they were replaced, respectively, by Jack Clark, Pat Sajak, and Vanna White. After Clark’s 1988 death, M. G. Kelly took over briefly as announcer until O’Donnell returned in 1989; O’Donnell remained on the daytime version until its cancellation, and continued to announce on the syndicated show until his 2010 death, after which Jim Thornton replaced him. Sajak left the daytime version in January 1989 to host the late-night talk show The Pat Sajak Show, and was replaced on that version by Rolf Benirschke. Bob Goen replaced Benirschke when the daytime show moved to CBS, then remained as host until the daytime show was canceled altogether. The syndicated version has been hosted continuously by Sajak and White since its inception.