Wheel of Fortune is an American television game show created by Merv Griffin. The show features a competition in which contestants solve word puzzles, similar to those used in Hangman, to win cash and prizes determined by spinning a giant carnival wheel. The original network version aired on NBC from January 6, 1975 to June 30, 1989. It was on CBS from July 17, 1989 to January 11, 1991, and returned to NBC from January 14 to September 20, 1991, when it was cancelled permanately. The daily syndicated version of the show premiered on September 19, 1983.
The network version was originally hosted by Chuck Woolery and Susan Stafford, with Charlie O'Donnell as the announcer, he left in 1980. Woolery also left the show in 1981 and Susan left in 1982. They were replaced by Jack Clark, Pat Sajak, and Vanna White. After Clark's death in 1988, M.G. Kelly took over as announcer until O'Donnell returned in 1989; remaining until the network version was cancelled. He continued to announce on the syndicated version until his death in 2010, he was then replaced by Jim Thornton who is the current announcer of the show. Sajak left the network version in January 1989 to host his own late-night talk show, and was replaced by Rolf Benirschke. Bob Goen replaced Rolf when the network version moved to CBS, and remained until it was cancelled. The syndicated version has been hosted continuously by Pat Sajak and Vanna White since its inception.
As of 2009, Wheel of Fortune ranks as the longest-running syndicated game show in the United States, with over 5,000 episodes aired. TV Guide named it the "top-rated syndicated series" in a 2008 article, and in 2013 , the magazine ranked it at number 2 in the list of the 60 greatest game shows ever. The syndicated version's 31st season premiered on September 16, 2013.