Skip to main content

A 'Wheel' Success

After 21 years on the air, King World's Wheel of Fortune
is getting younger. Season-to-date, the show is up 13% year-to-year in women 18-34. The show has grown in the young-female demographic every year since 2000, jumping 35% among young women since 2000.

In women 18-49, Wheel
has improved 19% year-to-year and is up 24% since 2000. In women 25-54, the show has increased 15% since last year, an 11% increase since 2000.

Syndicated shows tend to skew female, and 60%-70% of the Wheel of Fortune
audience is women, according to Moira Coffey, King World's senior vice president of research. But the show also is seeing gains in the male demographics.

Year-to-year, Wheel
has improved 13% among men 18-34, 16% in men 18-49, and 9% among men 25-54. Since 2000, the jumps are more drastic: 36% in men 18-34, 31% in men 18-49, and 25% in men 25-54.

"Getting the highest ratings in four years in every single key category across the board is really a tremendous turnaround. It's like a rebirth of viewing for the program," Coffey says.

"I think our stated mission of the past few years to bring in younger viewers while maintaining our established viewers is finally working," says Harry Friedman, executive producer of Wheel of Fortune
as well as King World's other top-rated game, Jeopardy.

Despite the gains, the show hasn't returned to the same ratings levels it reached among young demos in 1999. And Wheel of Fortune
still skews among the oldest shows on TV, with a median age of 63.3 years old.

But Wheel's total audience size is awesome. It's 4,000th episode, which aired last Monday, scored an average 10.6 rating/17 share in Nielsen's weighted metered markets. That audience transcends ordinary syndication.

remains one the highest-rated shows in many local markets, including prime time. Last Tuesday, Wheel of Fortune
was the highest- rated show in households on WABC-TV New York for the entire day, including prime time, and only Law & Order: SVU
on WNBC-TV beat it out in the entire New York City broadcast market.

Paige Albiniak
Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.