Game Shows Wiki
Chuck Woolery
Mike Lawrence
SBZR 04.png
Unsold Pilot for NBC: 9/1973 or 10/8/1973
Merv Griffin Productions

Shopper's Bazaar was the first attempt at Wheel of Fortune. To make a long story short, Merv didn't like it, the late Lin Bolen (then-Vice President of NBC Daytime) didn't like it, and the test audiences didn't like it. To put it simply, it didn't work.


In its most basic essentials, Bazaar has elements of what became Wheel, except for the following:

The Wheel[]

The Wheel was stand-up vertical and motorized, based on similar casino wheels. It stopped with a press of a button, and the contestants would yell "Stop the Wheel!" causing the Wheel to slow down and come to a full stop.

This Wheel had no Bankrupts, but two (later four) Lose A Turn wedges. There were also two $0 spaces (meaning that even though you'd keep your turn, you don't score for that consonant), Free Vowel (as opposed to Buy A Vowel which was also there, today you'd only get a free vowel by landing on Free Play), and Your Own Clue (the contestant who landed on it would get a private clue by phone, the first of which was the category).

The Puzzle Board[]

The puzzle board was brown with 45 spaces divided into three rows, with the letters revealed by pull-cards. A fourth row of 15 spaces was used for letters that were called but not in the puzzle, as opposed to having an offscreen Used Letter Board.


Scoring was handled by the Accounting Department, a wall that contained each contestant's three prizes. Each player kept their money from round to round, but prizes could only be won through solving a puzzle. Once the bottom prize on the list was "paid for", that player began working on the next prize.

Bonus Round (Shopper's Special)[]

The winner of the game (the one who had won the most prizes as opposed to accumulating the most money) played this round where she had 30 seconds to call one correct consonant after seeing all the vowels in the puzzle. The solution was the prize she was playing for (in this case, ISLE OF CAPRI), and solving the puzzle won said prize (or, in this case, a trip there).

A better Bonus Round was used briefly in 1975-76 and 1978 (as a Star Bonus), but did not become permanent until December 1981.

Other Pictures[]


  • Main - "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" (instrumental)
  • Commercial - "Spinning Wheel" (instrumental)
  • Bonus Round - "A Time for Tony" by Merv Griffin (later used on Wheel of Fortune)

Other Versions[]

Wheel of Fortune the show Shopper's Bazaar eventually became later.
Wheel 2000 (a.k.a. Wheel of Fortune 2000) is the children's spinoff of the eventual series.
Wheel of Fortune Comes to Norfolk A behind-the-scenes special from Wheel's trip to Norfolk, VA.
Wheel of Fortune on Tour A behind-the-scenes special from Wheel's return trip Phoenix, AZ.
E! True Hollywood Story: Wheel of Fortune Episode about the history of the show.
Cover Story: Wheel of Fortune – Greatest Moments Episode that shared the greatest moments from the show.
Celebrity Wheel of Fortune the show's All-Star primetime counterpart.


Shopper's Bazaar at Game Show Garbage

YouTube Links[]

Long intro to the Shopper's Bazaar pilot