Lesley Goldberg, a Hollywood Reporter reporter, reports reports that Wheel Of Fortune and Jeopardy! have been renewed by CBS Television Distribution through the 2017-18 television season. The two game shows are prized by stations for their reliable ratings—they both regularly bring in more than 10 million viewers, with Wheel tending to perform slightly better than Jeopardy!—so their continued presence on the air has been a foregone conclusion for decades.
The only renewal drama with these programs revolves around the desire of the senescent hosts to keep presiding over their games: Jeopardy! emcee Alex Trebek turns 75 this July, and Wheel host Pat Sajak is 68. (Vanna White, Wheel’s letter wrangler, is a relatively sprightly 58.) But all of the shows’ top talent will be staying on for the duration of the new deal, because game show hosts are ageless. Hell, a 91-year-old Bob Barker expertly hosted a segment of The Price Is Right this April Fool’s Day.
The most intriguing portion of the Reporter article is a quote from CBS Television Distrubtion’s head of sales, who mentioned that Wheel and Jeopardy! are “two of the most sought after shows by political advertisers, so our station partners will benefit from locking up these shows through the upcoming 2016 presidential election season.” That makes sense: The elderly love these shows, they love to vote, and they are not generally the most avid DVR users, so they watch commercials. In essence, Trebek and Sajak will be mass media’s political kingmakers as America chooses a new president. Just like Thomas Jefferson drew it up!