'Wheel' and 'Jeopardy!' Renewed Through 2012
By Jim Benson -- Broadcasting & Cable, 12/31/2006 7:00:00 PM
Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, the top-two syndicated shows, have been renewed through the 2011-12 season in about a third of the country.
Stations from ABC, CBS, Post-Newsweek, Hearst-Argyle and Sinclair Broadcast Group have agreed to extend the show two years beyond the current expiration of their contracts in the 2009-10 season.
By the end of the new deal, Wheel will have completed 29 seasons and Jeopardy! 28.
The two game shows from syndication giant King World have dominated the syndicated household ratings race for decades but skew to an older audience.
Some large market stations have looked at ways to supplant the pair, but their continued strength made renewals mandatory, even at hefty license fees believed to be approaching several hundred thousand dollars per week.
The Wheel and Jeopardy! renewals include ABC's owned-and-operated stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Raleigh-Durham (N.C.) and Fresno, Calif.; CBS' KTVT Dallas, WSBK-TV Boston and WCCO Minneapolis; and Post-Newsweek's WDIV Detroit and WPLG Miami.
"It's a real tribute to our production partner, Sony, and executive producer, Harry Friedman, that, after more than 20 years, these are still two of the highest-rated shows in syndication, and station demand for them remains high," says Roger King, CEO of CBS Television Distribution.
Wheel has ranked as the top-rated syndicated series for 23 years.
It attracts a total of more than 46 million viewers per week.
Jeopardy! has ranked among the top-three syndicated shows for 22 years, averaging more than 37 million viewers a week.
Friedman says the programs will continue "through 2012 and beyond."
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