Pat and Vanna's 6,000th. Time's arrow points in one direction, as The Price is Right's 8,000th episode reminded me.
Low production costs have always been a selling point for our little genre. So after a while - like three or four decades - the episodes of a successful game show really pile up. Wheel does 195 eps a year without breaking a sweat. And they definitely don't break the bank. The show turns a tidy profit, thank you.
Our Wheel pair has an understated charm that wears well over the long haul. And Wheel's haul has been truly long by the standards of commercial TV. Most shows just pray for a 13-ep pickup and eventually enough episodes for syndication.
After all this time Wheel of Fortune rides comfortably ahead of the entire syndie field. Unlike Jeopardy, where chatter about Alex's successor has become routine, people rarely speculate about eventual replacements for Pat and Vanna. It just seems impossible, in an odd way.
UPDATE: Commenter Zach Horan says it's 195 eps a year instead of 185. I've made the change. He also points out that the 6,000 figure only covers the nighttime version with Pat and Vanna. Yep, but that's the way they're counting. The 8,000 figure CBS used for The Price is Right didn't include the original Bill Cullen version, either.