How does Wheel of Fortune make money? Winner's prizes explored!

How does Wheel of Fortune make money? The CBS show hands out huge cash prizes, so where does the funding come from? Let’s find out more about the show that’s been running since 1975.

Wheel of Fortune is a long-running game show that sees contestants compete against one another in a bid to solve word puzzles. Hosted by Pat Sajak and Vanna White, it’s essentially a TV version of hangman.

Game shows such as Jeopardy!, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire or Wheel of Fortune often leave viewers wondering how exactly there is that much money to giveaway. So, let’s see how it all works…

Screenshot: Wheel of Fortune – Netflix

How does Wheel of Fortune make money?

Wheel of Fortune prizes include sums of money in the hundreds of thousands, houses, holidays and more.

It’s likely that Wheel of Fortune makes its money via sponsorship deals. If a new car was to be given away on the show, it may be gifted to Wheel of Fortune in order to advertise the motor brand.

The show would also make money via advertising. The TV network adverts will contribute to the running of the shows that air on CBS.

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Can you take cash instead of prizes on Wheel of Fortune?

No, cash can’t be substituted for prizes on Wheel of Fortune.

Many winners on the show are awarded expensive prizes such as world-round trips, new cars and much more. However, these can’t be swapped out for the monetary equivalent.

Contestants also have to pay taxes on their winnings. As reported by Cheat Sheet: “They have to pay taxes on their earnings, including the worth of any additional prizes such as vacations and cars“.

Why does Wheel of Fortune giveaway $37,000?

In 2020, many viewers of Wheel of Fortune were confused as the cash giveaway prize was frequently $37,000.

The reason for the specific cash prize amount is due to the fact that the show was in season 37 in 2020. Wheel of Fortune had also been airing 37 years in 2020. The game show was created by Merv Griffin in 1975, but Pat Sajak and Vanna White began hosting the syndicated version of the show in 1983.

Each season the giveaway prize money is increased by $1000, so in 2021, for season 38, the cash prize is $38,000.

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