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Wheel of Fortune
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this fun, long-running game show -- in which contestants solve word puzzles for cash and other major prizes -- is mild and very family-friendly (about the only potentially iffy thing is the low-cut dresses that hostess Vanna White sometimes wears). Prizes are sponsored by major companies like American Airlines, Whirlpool appliances, and others, and contestants are very excited to win them.
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What's the story?
On popular game show WHEEL OF FORTUNE, contestants compete for major cash and prizes by solving word puzzles. The show, which is hosted by Pat Sajak and Vanna White, requires players to guess at the correct letters to fill in the blanks representing a word or phrase. Before they choose a consonant or buy a vowel, they must spin a giant roulette-like wheel to determine how much money (or which prizes) they can play for. An unlucky spin can also lead to lost turns and/or automatic bankruptcy. The player who successfully solves each puzzle wins the round and the cash and prizes that he or she collected along the way. At the end of the show, the person with the most winnings gets a chance to play a bonus round for an additional prize.
Is it any good?
This popular game show is the modern version of the original Wheel of Fortune series that aired from 1975-1981. Despite some minor changes -- including replacing the original manual word puzzle board with an electronic one -- the overall show has remained much the same. Despite contestants' efforts to win as much money and as many prizes as possible, the series does require a bit of intellect (as well as guesswork) in order to solve the puzzles. As a result, it offers an entertaining way for families to work on their word-building skills.