How Wheel of Fortune's Return to TV Will Look Different Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

As Wheel of Fortune heads back to the studio, longtime host Pat Sajak and the show's contestants prepare to follow social distancing guidelines.

By Jonathan Borge Sep 10, 2020 5:00 PMTags

Where there's a will, there's a way to play.

Beloved game show Wheel of Fortune is gearing up for its season 38 premiere on Sept. 14 and viewers can expect the show to look a little different. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, new safety measures and "rigorous" testing protocols have been introduced to ensure contestants, the crew and everyone on set remain healthy and ready to win big, according to a press release.

Already back in the studio, longtime host Pat Sajak, 73, and each episode's contestants will remain six feet away. Namely, the fancy wheel that's home to all the action has been redesigned with a new curved monitor to keep everyone socially distanced. And contestants will also be required to use a new spinning cap, which is basically a small piece of cloth that allows them to spin the wheel free of touch. According to Deadline, Sajak has dubbed it "the white thing."

TV Shows That Have Resumed Production Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

In honor of the 38th season, the minimum amount that can be won on the bonus wheel has also been updated to $38,000.

Carol Kaelson

"Our challenge was not unique, to get back up in a running in a way that is safe for everyone involved while making subtle improvements to make ‘America's Game' even better," 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."

TV viewers have already noticed slight tweaks to newly-aired shows such as Love Island and Big Brother, which requests that all eliminated house guests wear a mask and practice social distancing before their exit interview with Julie Chen Moonves.

The good news? Producers across various networks and streaming platforms are intelligently working around the dangers of the virus. So far, shows that have currently resumed production amid the coronavirus pandemic include Grey's Anatomy, Sex Education, Outer Banks, and RuPaul's Drag Race.