It lasted two weeks longer than I expected, but that’s made up for by it being axed effective immediately .
Channel Nine’s awful attempt to revamp Wheel Of Fortune by sticking the words “Million Dollar” in front of its name, having the tackiest set and version of the wheel that the show has seen in decades, and finding the worst possible host for the show, has finally met its fate .
I caught glimpses of the first show, forced myself to sit through the entire second show and attempted to watch it again in the second week to see if it had improved at all, and the result was my personal bewilderment that:
1. Somebody at Channel Nine actually thought that it was a good idea
2. Fremantle Media, who own the rights to Wheel Of Fortune in this country, allowed the format to be degraded and tarnished in such an awful manner.
Even though Channel Nine wanted a show to compete with Deal Or No Deal and give their news a better ratings lead-in, they shouldn’t have so blatantly targeted the show at a young adult audience. Wheel Of Fortune has never been a show aimed at a young adult audience, the key demographic is older, and if done properly it will attract others as well. Part of the key to this is the host, Rob Elliott was very good at it, so was John Burgess, the same thing applies to Andrew O’Keefe on Deal Or No Deal…they know how to host a game show and to interact with the guests in (at least what appears to be) a natural manner.
It also helps if you actually have a set which doesn’t look like you brought in the team from (the now defunct game show) Changing Rooms to decorate it, and having a wheel which lights up was just plain odd. Speaking of the wheel, why Nine had to revert to having the wedges cling to the pegs is beyond me as it made it noticeably difficult for the contestants to remove special wedges, and made the whole thing look rather cheap and nasty. I don’t know for sure, but it looked like Seven’s wheel had magnetic wedges as they weren’t connected to the pegs and were much easier to remove.
Also, and I doubt this affected the ratings at all, why was the wheel flat? Seven worked out many years ago that the wheel is easier to work with from a camera perspective if it’s tilted…it looks better on the set too as you can look across at the contestants and read the wheel at the same time.
Personally, I think Nine would have been better off with a more experienced host, a different timeslot (probably 7pm, much like Sale Of The Century/Temptation), and a less deranged production team. Originally the show was (apparently) promised to John Burgess (click here to hear Burgo’s version of events , as told on 3MP Breakfast, March 25 2008), he probably would have made a good host reprising his former role, or perhaps Bert Newton who is still on Nine’s books.
Sadly, Nine botched the show badly, and now after a less dramatic failure with Larry Emdur and Laura Csortan on Seven in 2006, Tim Campbell and Kelly Landry will be known as the hosts who finally managed to consign Wheel Of Fortune to Australia’s “Do not touch with a ten foot barge poll, lest you face the wrath of the ratings” television show bin. Wheel may return somewhere, at some stage, but after this disaster, you can be guaranteed that no television executive will be brave enough to go near it for many years to come.