After a hiatus brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, Wheel of Fortune is finally returning. The long-running game show will be back for its 38th season on Sept. 14. Per a Sony Pictures Television release, the show will undergo several tweaks to keep production safe for all parties involved. The program, which stars Pat Sajak and Vanna White, also implemented testing protocols and is following local government guidelines for its procedures.
"Our challenge was not unique, to get back up and running in a way that is safe for everyone involved while making subtle improvements to make America's Game even better," executive producer Mike Richards said. "I think we have accomplished that in a big way, and our fans can be comfortable knowing that they're going to tune in to see the Wheel of Fortune they love."
Among the changes viewers will see is that the platforms around Wheel of Fortune's titular wheel will be extended, so contestants are 6 feet away from Sajak. A new and improved curved monitor will also surround the setup.
Producers and crew also tackled the potential germ-spreading that comes with contestants spinning the wheel. Instead of grabbing the apparatus with their hands, players use a cap that covers the wheel's spokes to spin. Sajak has apparently taken to calling each cap "The White Thing."
Aside from these aesthetic changes, Wheel of Fortune as a game will not change. The only gameplay change is that the minimum amount that can be won on the Bonus Wheel is changing. That amount is $38,000 in honor of the Season 38.
Another popular aspect of the syndicated series is the various social media puzzles that go along with the show. Sony promises that "Wheel Watchers" will want to be observant because "something happens within the first two weeks of shows that has never happened before in the history of the show."
Wheel of Fortune fans will be glad to hear the show's new episodes will be back in the rotation after months and months of reruns. This news also comes after some switched-up episodes that aired while Sajak recovered from intestine surgery. White took the reigns as host for these episodes, which aired around the start of 2020.