--Top two game shows will broadcast Sept. 12 in
Times Square to kick off premiere week celebration -
(Culver City, CA, September 7, 2006) - Game show powerhouses Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! are making history as the first two syndicated television shows to broadcast in High Definition, starting the week of Sept. 11.
The growing number of viewers who are capable of watching television in HD will be able to enjoy Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! in a higher resolution, meaning they'll see a crisper picture with more vibrant colors. Both shows' sets have been reconfigured to accommodate the wide shots inherent to HD-including Wheel of Fortune's iconic wheel and puzzleboard; and the famous Jeopardy! gameboard and contestant podiums.
"Our goal has always been to keep the shows as fresh as possible and by offering our shows in high-definition, we are able to broadcast in the best quality for our viewers," said Harry Friedman, executive producer of both Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! "Nearly $4 million has been spent on these changes and the investment further supports our commitment to these shows."
While Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune have been shooting with HD cameras for several years, about 5,000 man hours and 6 miles of new cable went into building a new control room for the shows' full HD conversion. The post-production facility was also upgraded to support HD editing.
Aside from the higher quality picture, the most noticeable changes viewers will see on screen will be the sets, which were redesigned in order to accommodate the wider camera angles used in HD's 16x9 format. Changes include:
• The distance between Jeopardy's contestant podiums was increased so the wide camera angle could catch single contestant shots.
• Jeopardy! installed a new gameboard consisting of a seamless wall of monitors, which looks better in HD than the wall of old individually framed TV monitors.
• Wheel of Fortune extended the staging areas of its studio to accommodate the 16x9 aspect ratio, which creates a wider view of the set. About 60 studio audience seats were removed during the reconfiguration.
• More vibrant colors, which really pop in HD, were used on both the sets.
While HD viewers will see a more detailed picture than standard definition, those without access to HD television sets or signals will not be disappointed either - the higher quality format still gives viewers a crisper, brighter picture on screen even if it airs in standard definition.
To celebrate the shows' groundbreaking conversion to HD, Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune will be broadcast on Tuesday, September 12, at 7 p.m. (EST) from Times Square², a series of LED screens stretching across Times Square in the heart of Manhattan. Simultaneously, game show icons Pat Sajak, Alex Trebek and Vanna White will toast the shows' new format at an event on the Wheel of Fortune stage at Sony Pictures Studios in Los Angeles.
Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! can be seen in more than 210 cities nationwide. The number of stations converting to HD is rapidly growing as local affiliates are embracing this state-of-the-art technology. (Check your local listings to see if the affiliate in your market is broadcasting in HD.) By the end of 2006, 30% of television households will have HD TV sets, according to a study published last month by Kagan Research. That number is estimated to grow to 81% by 2010.
Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! - entering their 24th and 23rd seasons, respectively, on Sept. 11 - are the two most popular syndicated game shows on television. Wheel of Fortune is the #1 show in all of syndication, with more than 46 million viewers a week. Jeopardy! is the #2 syndicated game show, with more than 37 million viewers a week.
Merv Griffin is the creator of both Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!. The series' are produced by Sony Pictures Television, a Sony Pictures Entertainment Company. Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! are distributed domestically by King World Productions, Inc., and internationally by CBS Paramount International Television. King World Productions and CBS Paramount International Television are units of CBS Corp.
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