While it’s never going to compete with "The Sopranos" for edginess, "Wheel of Fortune" is far from sleeping with the fishes.
On Monday, the show will air episode No. 4,000. The special, taped at Radio City Music Hall, features highlights of host Pat Sajak and letter-turner Vanna White’s two-decade run on the show.
"I’ve been doing the show for 21 years, and I still can’t explain why we’ve lasted this long," White said.
"Wheel of Fortune," which airs at 6:30 p.m. weekdays on KNXV-TV (Channel 15), has been the most-watched syndicated series since 1984 and averaged 16 million viewers last season, according to Nielsen Media Research.
White said the simplicity of the game has helped the show stick around when others have failed.
"It’s just a great show that everyone of all ages can enjoy," White said. "There’s no crime. It’s great family entertainment. It’s just a half-hour of pure fun."
Valley fans will be able to get in on the fun Jan. 9-11, when Pat and Vanna come to the Dodge Theatre to tape "Phoenix Week" episodes in front of a live audience. The production crew has designed a set that will honor the city’s American Indian heritage.
"We like taping the show at different locations because it gives fans a chance to see the show in person and gives us a chance to bring some excitement to the community," White said. "And it’s fun for the people watching at home, too, because we show different highlights from the city so everyone watching the show will feel like they are in Phoenix."
Become a contestant
From 6 to 10 p.m. Dec. 1-3, the Wheelmobile, a 32-foot Winnebago that tours the country in search of contestants for "Wheel of Fortune," will be at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, 15406 Maricopa Road, Maricopa. Everyone who attends the event will be able to submit an application, and participants will be selected to audition via a random draw.
See the show live
"Wheel of Fortune" will tape episodes Jan. 9-11 at the Dodge Theatre. The shows will be part of "Phoenix Week," which will air in February. For ticket information, watch "Wheel of Fortune" 6:30 p.m. weekdays on KNXV-TV (Channel 15).