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Spin the Wheel is an American trivia and strategy game show that premiered on Fox in June 2019.[1] Hosted by actor and comedian Dax Shepard, the show features a 40 feet (12 m) high vertical roulette wheel that has 48 wedges potentially worth either money or "lose everything".[2] The show's producers scout for Good Samaritans to reward with a chance to earn up to $23 million per episode.[3][4]

Spin the Wheel
Created by
Presented byDax Shepard
Composer(s)Michael Lord
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes10 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
  • Justin Timberlake
  • Andrew Glassman
  • Rick Yorn
  • Johnny Wright
Producer(s)Dax Shepard
Production location(s)Universal Studios, Universal City, California
Production company(s)
DistributorIMG
Release
Original networkFox
Original releaseJune 20, 2019 (2019-06-20) –
present
External links
Website

GameplayEdit

The game consists of the contestant taking sixteen spins, over four rounds, of a vertical roulette wheel that has 48 wedges, and during the first three rounds answering multiple choice pop culture or general knowledge trivia questions.

The sixteen spins are grouped in four rounds of four spins each.[2] During the first two rounds, the contestant spins the wheel and answers a trivia question while the wheel is spinning. For each spin of the wheel, the result of the spin is either added or deducted from the contestant's total prize pool based on whether they get the question right or wrong.[5] The highest wedge on the wheel is $500,000. In the ‘Quickspins’ round, questions have two possible answers. There is a possible earnings of up to $2 million.[2] In the Quickspins+ round, questions have three possible answers. During this round, a friend or family member joins the game and is put in control of a button. For each spin, if the button is pushed (during the period in which the contestant is answering the question), the amount at stake to win or lose is doubled,[5] the possible earnings for this round are presumably doubled as well to $4 million.

In the third Build Your Wheel round, two "Back to Zero" wedges are added to the wheel which, if landed on, automatically reset the total prize money to $0. Two $1 million wedges are also added, along with several red wedges that have negative values. During this round, the contestant answers questions before spinning the wheel for a chance to upgrade a span of four low-value wedges on the wheel ($1 to $1,000). The contestant is first shown the beginning of the question and asked to choose a prize value: $250,000, $500,000, $1 million, or $2 million,. The full question is then revealed and answered. If the answer is correct, the contestant may apply the full prize value they chose on one of the low-value wedges, or split the amount amongst two, three or all four low-value wedges. If the question is answered incorrectly, some of the low-value wedges are converted to "Back to Zero" wedges based on the prize value chosen (from one to all four wedges respectively). After the wheel is changed, the contestant spins the wheel. Regardless of how they answered the question, positive values add to the total prize amount, and negative values subtract from it.[2]

In the fourth Final Spins round, there are no more trivia questions. In this round, any spin that takes the total prize amount down to $0 automatically ends the game. The changes to the wheel made in the third round remain, though some lower-value wedges are upgraded. For the fourteenth spin, a $1 million and a "Back to Zero" wedge are added. For the fifteenth spin, a $2 million and two "Back to Zero" wedges are added. For the sixteenth final spin, a $3 million and three “Back to Zero” wedges are added.[2]

Before each of the "Final Spins", the contestant's partner is offered a "Walk Away" offer with a guaranteed monetary prize. If the offer is taken, the game is effectively over and the contestant is guaranteed to win that amount, and only that amount. However, it is not revealed whether any offer was accepted until all sixteen spins have been played or a spin brings the prize amount down to $0, whichever occurs first. If no offer is taken, the contestant leaves with total money earned at the end of the game, if any.[2]

The wheelEdit

The show features a 40 feet (12 m) high, vertical roulette wheel divided into forty-eight light-emitting diode wedges worth either a dollar amount or “Back to Zero”.[6] In contrast, popular game show The Price Is Right's Big Wheel is 9 feet, 8 inches tall, and Wheel of Fortune's namesake is 16.5 feet wide.[5]

The wedges’ typeface for displaying the dollar amounts is inspired by Federal Reserve Notes from U.S. Currency.[7] The wheel has thick metal pipes for contestants to hold onto to start the rotation.[7] To determine which wedge is chosen is a large silver disco ball-stylized metallic ball that bounces off the metal pipes but stays within the wheel’s glass-enclosed area, coming to rest when the wheel stops moving.[7] The wheel is so large that a structural engineer, Fraser Smith of Mendenhall Smith Structural Engineers,[7] was commissioned to plan the execution of how to construct as well as support the device.[6]

Neither the wheel nor the game are fixed to have any certain outcome.[6] In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Federal Communications Commission v. American Broadcasting Co., Inc. 347 U.S. 284,[8] that quiz shows were not a form of gambling which paved the way for their introduction to television. In the years that followed a series of quiz show scandals tainted the genre. A formal congressional subcommittee investigation began in 1959.[9] In 1960, Congress amended the Communications Act of 1934 to prohibit the fixing of quiz shows.[10] Spin the Wheel, like all U.S. television quiz shows, is bound not to fix the game by leaking trivia questions or rigging the wheel.[6]

EpisodesEdit

The show's producers scout for Good Samaritan-type individuals to reward with a chance to earn up to $23 million per episode.[11][12] Each episode starts with the backstory of who the contestant is and what makes them deserving of a monetary windfall.

Episode 1: "Konzelman Family"Edit

The contestant on the June 20, 2019, premiere was Dan Konzelman, a former Eagle Scout from Tacoma, Washington,[13] who heroically pulled at least fifteen victims from the crash of the 2017 Tacoma Amtrak derailment.[14]

Playing with him was his younger brother Darien, also an Eagle Scout, the team ultimately won $195,318.[13] Before the end of the game, his brother used the "Walk Away”, not risking losing everything in the final spins.[13] Had Darien not done that they would have won over $1.3 million.[13] The episode helped secure Fox the top spot in the Nielsen ratings for the night.[15]

Episode 2: "Feiler Family"Edit

The June 27, 2019, episode featured Las Vegas, Nevada's Annmarie Feiler, founder and executive director of Urban Seed Foundation (USF), a school gardening program for at-risk students. Feiler was also central in a relief effort by Las Vegas chefs and restaurateurs to provide meals to first responders, medical personnel, blood donors, as well as coroners and funeral home workers dealing with the immediate aftermath of the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting.[16] The "largest mass shooting in modern American history", was by one man into an outdoor concert crowd of thousands resulting in 58 deaths and injuries to over eight hundred people.[17] Utilizing social media, initially Facebook, then its messaging service WhatsApp, with a new online group "USF Food Volunteers", scores of people donated, cooked, and delivered thousands of hot prepared meals each day to thirty drop-off locations to feed the aid workers and volunteers.[16]

Joined by her daughter Mackenzie, they were playing to earn money to pay for more USF gardens.[2] Mackenzie took the first offer of $39,478. Had Mackenzie rejected the offers, Annmarie would have walked away with over $1.1 million.

Episode 3: "Latham Family"Edit

The July 11, 2019 episode featured U.S. Marine Corps veteran, and Purple Heart recipient Joe Latham from Aliso Viejo, California.[18] During his first combat deployment in 2004, he was hospitalized when an improvised explosive device (IED) went off near his vehicle.[18] He was happy that he escaped without major injuries.[18] After sixteen years in the service he went to school to become a clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for fellow veterans.[18]

His family partner was his wife T.J., their game ended early when the ball landed on a “Back to Zero” wedge.[18]

Episode 4: "Smith Family"Edit

The July 18, 2019 episode featured Justin Smith, a women’s basketball coach for the University of Dubuque in Dubuque, Iowa.[19] He heroically saved the team from a traffic accident when they were traveling back New Year's Eve from a NCAA Division III tournament in Nashville, Tennessee.[20] While on Interstate 24 in Kentucky, the driver had a medical emergency and "kind of passed out," said Justin, "we hit a guard rail going about 70 [miles per hour]."[21] Justin stepped in to take the wheel, and get the bus off the highway; then diverted traffic until the bus was moved out of the way.[22]

His family partner was his wife Casey, the girls basketball coach at Hempstead High School.[19] Their spins did not go well for the first three rounds netting only $1,000.[19] In the Final Spins round they fared better, accumulating $4.05 million.[19] Ultimately they finished with $736,000 as Casey accepted the final Walk Away offer.[19]

Episode 5: "Villarreal Family"Edit

The July 25, 2019 episode featured Mariana Villarreal, a Hooters girl (waitress) in Roswell, Georgia,[23] and a student majoring in environmental science.[24] In May 2015 the-then twenty-two year old underwent surgery to donate a kidney to a long-time customer, and Vietnam War veteran who lost both of his to cancer.[23] In talking with him she found out he was undergoing dialysis and wanted to help.[25] The Hooters Community Endowment Fund honored the newly hired employee by donating $20,000 in her name to the National Kidney Foundation.[23] Her grandmother, who she was unable to help, had recently died from kidney failure, so she was glad she could assist.[26] For normal function you only need one kidney.[26] In August 2015, to draw attention to National Minority Donor Awareness Week (first week of August), she was the guest of Senator Jose Peralta to encourage organ donation among minority communities in New York.[27]

Her partner in the game was her younger sister Melissa; their game ended early when the ball landed on a “Back to Zero” wedge during the fourth round.[24]

Episode 6: "Stenzel Family"Edit

The August 1, 2019 episode featured salon owner and non-profit worker Leah Stenzel from Scottsdale, Arizona.[28] In 2013 she founded a non-profit, Global Rescue Project, which runs an orphanage in Ghana, West Africa to address the exploitation of children in the fishing industry.[29] “Children are sold by their parents in exchange for the false promise of a better life.”[29] They actually become child slave labor on Lake Volta, the world's largest man-made lake.[29] They face malnourishment, no “health care or education”, and “violent conditions”, and 16-hour work days.[29] The orphanage has saved ninety children from slave child labor conditions as of August 2019,[30] she hopes to save another 6500.[31]

Her partner in the game was her sister Tricia. Their game ended early when the ball landed on a “Back to Zero” wedge on the second spin during the fourth round.[31]

Episode 7: "Bellamy Family"Edit

The August 8, 2019, episode featured Febin Bellamy, an Indian immigrant and Georgetown student in Monroe, New York who started an initiative called Unsung Heroes.[32] Raised in Brooklyn, Bellamy did not always appreciate the opportunities he had at school.[33] In his later years of high school his father suffered a debilitating stroke so Bellamy took a service job cooking burgers to bring in more funds.[33] While there he felt judged for his work rather than his potential and realized others likely thought the same.[33] He earned enough to get into Georgetown and ended up interviewing over a hundred service workers who were likely under-appreciated.[33] He started Unsung Heroes to help them achieve their dreams.[33] In 2017 “the organization is expanding to thirty colleges and five high schools across the country.”[34]

His partner in the game was his older sister Blessy. They had $865,100 at the end, but won $95,650 as Blessy took the second Walk Away offer.[35]

Episode 8: "Harrolle Family"Edit

The August 15, 2019 featured Angela Harrolle from Phoenix, Arizona.[36] She is president of the 100 Club of Arizona, an organization “providing financial assistance and other support” for emergency professionals killed in the line of duty.[37]

Her partner in the game was her sister Casey. Their game ended early when the ball landed on a “Back to Zero” wedge on the first spin during the fourth round; however, Casey took the first and only "Walk Away" offer of $81,767, ensuring their leaving with that amount instead of nothing.

Game summariesEdit

Game Summaries
Episode Contestant Family Partner Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Offer #1 Offer #2 Offer #3 Offer #4 Round 4 Result
1x01 Daniel Konzelman Darien, younger brother $227,000 $537,000 $2,070,434 $140,358 $195,318 $225,469 $368,049 $1,370,434 $195,318
1x02 Annemarie Feiler Mackenzie, daughter $20,999 $516,199 $0 $39,279 $84,523 $121,686 $223,860 $1,140,000 $39,279
1x03 Joe Latham T.J., wife $200,001 $150,201 $550,301 $61,866 $101,417 N/A N/A $0 $0
1x04 Justin Smith Casey, wife $215,000 $184,900 $1,000 $39,478 $112,309 $168,445 $736,161 $4,051,000 $736,161
1x05 Mariana Villareal Melissa, younger sister $90,001 $10,200 $1,150,200 $57,770 N/A N/A N/A $0 $0
1x06 Leah Stenzel Tricia, sister $355,000 $326,000 $240,000 $53,456 $72,765 N/A N/A $0 $0
1x07 Febin Bellamy Blessy, older sister $255,099 $316,099 $100 $62,241 $95,650 $129,182 $196,132 $865,100 $95,650
1x08 Angela Harrolle Casey, younger sister $265,000 $320,002 $1,220,002 $81,767 N/A N/A N/A $0 $81,767
1x09 Yaya Genfi Rena, sister $0 $200 $1,633,534 $137,724 N/A N/A N/A N/A $0
1x10 Levi Ponce Sara, wife $31,100 $200,000 $0 $68,899 $130,695 $152,404 $200,518 $550,000 $152,404

ProductionEdit

Fox, in an effort to acquire more unscripted shows, like its other successful ones such as Hell’s Kitchen, The Four, and Love Connection, entered a bidding war with multiple networks to obtain Spin in 2017.[38]

Spin the Wheel is the result of three production companies: executive producer Andrew Glassman’s Glassman Media; creative and executive producer Justin Timberlake’s Tennman Entertainment, a 2007 joint venture between Interscope Records and Timberlake; and executive producer Rick Yorn’s LBI Entertainment.[38]

RatingsEdit

No. Title Air date Rating/share
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
DVR
(18–49)
DVR viewers
(millions)
Total
(18–49)
Total viewers
(millions)
1 "Konzelman Family" June 20, 2019 0.8/4 3.45[39] 0.2 0.59 1.0 4.04[40]
2 "Feiler Family" June 27, 2019 0.6/3 2.53[41] 0.1 0.49 0.7 3.02[42]
3 "Latham Family" July 11, 2019 0.6/3 2.67[43] 0.1 0.49 0.7 3.16[44]
4 "Smith Family" July 18, 2019 0.5/3 2.43[45] 0.1 0.38 0.6 2.81[46]
5 "Villarreal Family" July 25, 2019 0.5/3 2.45[47] 0.1 0.38 0.6 2.83[48]
6 "Stenzel Family" August 1, 2019 0.5/3 2.43[49] 0.1 0.39 0.6 2.82[50]
7 "Bellamy Family" August 8, 2019 0.5/2 1.90[51] 0.1 0.34 0.6 2.26[52]
8 "Harrolle Family" August 15, 2019 0.5/3 2.07[53] 0.1 0.34 0.6 2.41[54]
9 "Genfi Family" September 5, 2019 0.4/2 2.08[55] 0.1 0.21 0.5 2.20[56]
10 "Ponce Family" September 5, 2019 0.4/2 2.08[55] 0.1 0.24 0.5 2.41[56]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "FOX Announces Summer Premiere Dates". The Futon Critic. March 27, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Feiler Family". Spin the Wheel. Season 1. Episode 2. June 27, 2019. Fox Broadcasting Company.
  3. ^ "New Pop Culture Game Show "Spin the Wheel," Executive-Produced by Justin Timberlake, and Hosted by Comedian Dax Shepard, To Air During the 2018–2019 Season on FOX". The Futon Critic. August 2, 2018. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  4. ^ Holloway, Daniel (August 2, 2018). "Justin Timberlake Game Show 'Spin the Wheel' Ordered by Fox". Variety. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Russell, John. "'Spin the Wheel' EP Says 'Knowledge, Strategy & Luck' Could Win Players $23M – TV Insider". Retrieved 2019-06-29.
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  8. ^ "FCC V. AMERICAN BROADCASTING CO., INC., 347 U. S. 284 (1954) - US Supreme Court Cases from Justia & Oyez". Justia.us. Retrieved February 17, 2010.
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  10. ^ Enacted in the 1960 amendments to the Communications Act of 1934. See 47 U.S.C. §509 and associated legislative history.
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  55. ^ a b Welch, Alex (September 9, 2019). "Thursday Night Football, 'Big Brother' adjust up, 'Lego Movie' and others adjust down: Thursday final ratings". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
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See alsoEdit