The top-two syndicated shows, King World’s Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, 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’s station groups 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 have dominated the syndicated household ratings race for decades but skew to an older audience. Some large market stations are known to 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.
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, CA.; 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,” said Roger King, CEO of CBS Television Distribution.
Wheel has ranked as the top-rated syndicated series on television for 23 years. Now in its 24th season, it attracts a total of more than 46 million viewers per week.
Jeopardy, which is in its 23rd season, has ranked among the top-three syndicated shows for 22 years, averaging more than 37 million viewers a week.
Friedman said the programs will continue “through 2012 and beyond.”