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Author Topic: Woolery's Departure from Wheel  (Read 1325 times)

Card Shark

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Woolery's Departure from Wheel
« on: July 20, 2020, 04:17:47 PM »
It is known that Chuck left in late 1981 over a contract dispute. According to Come On Down!!! The T.V. Game Show Book, by Jefferson Graham, Woolery wanted a raise from $300K to $500K and Merv only offered $375K. Other sources online have stated that he was making $65K a year and wanted the $500K. I have tried to find the E! True Hollywood Story on Wheel, but have been unable. If memory serves correctly, on this subject, Chuck stated that Wheel was beating daytime Feud in the ratings.

So, for those in the "know", what was the actual amount of money Chuck earned per year? $65K would seem low to me, while $300K does not. Was Wheel actually beating Feud? I thought it was the number one game show in the ratings. Thanks in advance for any clarification.
Adam Strom

NickintheATL

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Re: Woolery's Departure from Wheel
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2020, 06:51:43 PM »
Well from 8/4/1980 until the end of his run - Wheel was not on against Feud, rather the first half of Price on CBS and the first half of Love Boat repeats on ABC.

I would hazard a guess that Wheel was a comfortable #2. It would be interesting to see the numbers but I don't think Woolery could have ever justified that kind of salary increase for hosting a show that was then against the hottest show on daytime television.
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calliaume

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Re: Woolery's Departure from Wheel
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2020, 07:03:00 PM »
I just checked EoTVGS -- for roughly five years from 1978 to 1983, The Price Is Right, Family Feud, and Wheel of Fortune were 1-2-3.

However, there were only six game shows on daytime overall when Chuck was axed--the three mentioned above, plus Blockbusters, Battlestars, and Password Plus, and those three were obviously pretty weak. And considering Family Feud aired at 12 noon, finishing ahead of Wheel didn't look good either.

JakeT

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Re: Woolery's Departure from Wheel
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2020, 07:47:01 PM »
So, for those in the "know", what was the actual amount of money Chuck earned per year? $65K would seem low to me, while $300K does not. Was Wheel actually beating Feud? I thought it was the number one game show in the ratings. Thanks in advance for any clarification.

I can't believe there is any way possible that Woolery was only earning $65K a year...that would have put him beneath union scale, wouldn't it?

JakeT

Bryce L.

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Re: Woolery's Departure from Wheel
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2020, 08:20:04 PM »
So, for those in the "know", what was the actual amount of money Chuck earned per year? $65K would seem low to me, while $300K does not. Was Wheel actually beating Feud? I thought it was the number one game show in the ratings. Thanks in advance for any clarification.

I can't believe there is any way possible that Woolery was only earning $65K a year...that would have put him beneath union scale, wouldn't it?

JakeT
In the E! THS, Woolery said he "asked for parity with Dick Dawson". He was supposedly getting $5K a week (multiplied by 52 weeks gives $260K a year), and wanted to double that. Merv would've signed off on $7,500/week. Chuck said no, and the rest is history.

splinkynip

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Re: Woolery's Departure from Wheel
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2020, 08:41:44 PM »
NBC supposedly offered to make up the difference between what Merv was offering and what Chuck wanted, but Merv then threatened NBC by saying hell take the show to CBS.

BrandonFG

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Re: Woolery's Departure from Wheel
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2020, 08:43:20 PM »
At some point in the 2000s, Chuck claimed it was never about the money, because that wouldn't be right as a Christian.

There's also a Donahue interview from the late-80s where he confirmed it was indeed about the money.
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JakeT

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Re: Woolery's Departure from Wheel
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2020, 09:00:55 PM »
At some point in the 2000s, Chuck claimed it was never about the money, because that wouldn't be right as a Christian.

There's also a Donahue interview from the late-80s where he confirmed it was indeed about the money.

Ahhhhhhh, Chuck Woolery...a man of great integrity...

Not...

JakeT

NickintheATL

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Re: Woolery's Departure from Wheel
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2020, 09:05:22 PM »
I just checked EoTVGS -- for roughly five years from 1978 to 1983, The Price Is Right, Family Feud, and Wheel of Fortune were 1-2-3.

I guess I should have specified #2 in that time slot. But this info isn't surprising in and of itself.

Quote
However, there were only six game shows on daytime overall when Chuck was axed--the three mentioned above, plus Blockbusters, Battlestars, and Password Plus, and those three were obviously pretty weak. And considering Family Feud aired at 12 noon, finishing ahead of Wheel didn't look good either.

Now that is a much more interesting comparison. Not trying to threadjack here but I would love to know how many markets were doing a Noon news at this point and either didn't air Feud or time-shifted/tape delayed it. It has to be at least a few.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2020, 01:44:34 PM by NicholasM79 »
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TLEberle

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Re: Woolery's Departure from Wheel
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2020, 09:20:05 PM »
At some point in the 2000s, Chuck claimed it was never about the money, because that wouldn't be right as a Christian.

There's also a Donahue interview from the late-80s where he confirmed it was indeed about the money.
Well then, that's sort of hilarious. He also could have done a big heap of good with the difference between $present remuneration and $raisethatIwant. I presume that there's an equivalent to Seattle's Union Gospel Mission, Treehouse Foundation and the like in just about every large metropolis.

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Card Shark

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Re: Woolery's Departure from Wheel
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2020, 10:24:11 PM »
Thank you all very much for clearing this up. While $65k may have been a lot in 1981, it still seemed way too little for a network game show host. Thanks.
Adam Strom

tyshaun1

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Re: Woolery's Departure from Wheel
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2020, 11:46:17 AM »
I would hazard a guess that Wheel was a comfortable #2. It would be interesting to see the numbers but I don't think Woolery could have ever justified that kind of salary increase for hosting a show that was then against the hottest show on daytime television.
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Up until mid-1983, Wheel struggled against The Love Boat as well. After the syndie debut, Wheel usually edged out the first half of TPIR until Pat left.