"Wheel of Fortune" back for 31st season

(FOX19) - America's Game®, Wheel of Fortune, will kick off its 31st season  on September 16 with shows taped at The Venetian and The Palazzo in Las Vegas.

The season will include the introduction of the "Express Wedge" game element, a richer nightly giveaway in the "$5K Every Day Plus" promotion, and a wealth of home viewer sweepstakes opportunities.

Wheel of Fortune returned to Las Vegas to tape 30 episodes at The Venetian and The Palazzo which will be interspersed throughout the season.

Theme weeks of shows taped there include: "Las Vegas Vacation," "New Year's From Las Vegas," "Venetian Valentine's Day" and "Taste of the Good Life."

"Las Vegas is an ideal location for Wheel of Fortune. It's all about the fun excitement of winning big money, and so are we," said Harry Friedman, Executive Producer, Wheel of Fortune.  "This is the third time we've taped at the Venetian and The Palazzo, more than any other Las Vegas location. Our friends at these two beautiful properties are gracious hosts and outstanding partners."

Starting this season, Wheel of Fortune will say good-bye to the "Jackpot Wedge" on the Wheel, replacing it with the "Express Wedge" during the third round of play, which is also the "Prize Puzzle" round.

When the "Express Wedge" is landed on, the player will call a consonant.  If the consonant is in the puzzle, he/she earns $1,000 per letter and the player must declare "pass" or "play."

If the player "passes," play proceeds as usual.  If he/she decides to "play," the player will not have to spin the Wheel, but can continue calling consonants, earning $1,000 for each one in the puzzle or buying vowels at the regular price until they are able to solve the puzzle. But, if they call a wrong letter, they will go "Bankrupt," losing their turn and any cash or prizes acquired in that round.

The "$5K Every Day" giveaway promotion will also return this season.  Now called the "$5K Every Day Plus" giveaway, the program still gives away $5,000 to Wheel Watchers Club members who watch each night for the special "$5K Every Day" SPIN ID reveal.

However, if the member is an active Sony Card holder, Sony Rewards will double that prize to $10,000.

Season 31 will also see the return of popular Wheel of Fortune partnerships with top brands including Sandals Resorts, Sears, Disney, Caesars Entertainment and others.

You can catch Wheel of Fortune each weeknight on FOX19 at 7:00 p.m.

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