You may have seen the above ad in the Tulsa World or the billboards around the Tulsa metro. Two of the most popular television game shows ever are back on Channel 8. Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune begin Monday (9-17) in their old-time slots on our station. Jeopardy! at 4:30 and Wheel at 6:30.
Kristin and I went out to LA a few weeks ago to help promote the two shows. We spent a day each with the Jeopardy! and Wheel folks, watching them tape, shooting promos and interviewing their long-time hosts.
Jeopardy! is now in its 29th season with Alex Trebek as host. I chatted with him about the secret of the show’s success (people at home can play along to see if they’re as smart as those playing in the studio), his health (he’s had two heart attacks in recent years), and what he’d do if he wasn’t a game show host ( ? ).
Wheel of Fortune has been at it even longer (30 years) with Pat Sajak and Vanna White as hosts. Kristin and I got to spin the famous Wheel (it takes a special knack to get it going), and pick the brains of Pat and Vanna. Pat is a funny guy, with non-stop jokes. Me: “Vanna says she’s never worn one of her more than 5000 gowns twice on-the-air.” Pat: “I could do one better. I can say I’ve never worn her gowns even once on-the-air.”
We went out to LA with photojournalist David Peterlinz (that’s him in the above picture) and promotion guru Larry Nitz (he’s the one holding the small camera in the picture below). Before our trip Larry said, “If we can get Vanna to hug one of you (Mark or Kristin) on camera, the whole trip would be worth it.”
Fast forward to Vanna’s dressing room as we’re waiting for her to show up for Kristin’s interview with her. Her handlers told us she would be there in about 15 minutes. 5 minutes later she surprised us. Cameras weren’t ready. Still there wasn’t any hug from Vanna, just handshakes. But David, our camera guy, started gushing about how much he’s been in love with her his whole life (he’s 27). The love fest went on throughout the next half hour. Then as Vanna was leaving, she gives the hug Larry was waiting for, but not the one he wanted. She hugged David. Larry was ready for the hug with his camera, but it’s a shot you’ll never see. We all got a good laugh out of that.
Check out our interviews with Alex Trebek, Pat Sajak and Vanna White, as well as our behind-the-scenes stories about Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune throughout the week. I think you’ll enjoy them. And I know you’ll love to see both shows back on Tulsa’s Channel 8.