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  • Mark Eaton

Review: Dax Shepherd hosts 'Spin The Wheel' on Fox

Courtesy of Fox Television 


School’s out for summer and that only means one thing for television...reality TV is back! This year, it means more and even bigger game shows than ever before.

Just when you thought the $12M+ prize money on NBC’s “The Wall” couldn’t be topped, here comes Fox’s newest game show, “Spin the Wheel”. Produced by triple threat Justin Timberlake (or does that make him a quadruple threat now with a producer title?!), contestants take on a mighty 40-foot wheel for their chance to take home up to $23 million. With a concept that simply finds contestants having to answer trivia questions and spin the wheel 16 times, it’s not that easy as it seems as each of the four rounds introduces additional risk.

Contestants begin by answering four fairly unchallenging multiple choice questions — get the question right and whatever wedge the contestant lands on is banked; get the question wrong, and the money is subtracted from the contestant’s total.

Round two ups the ante by including a contestant’s friend or family member who chooses whether to double each of the next four questions. Like round one, get it right and the money is banked. Get it wrong, and money is subtracted. And then the madness begins!

Round three and four introduce new wedges (negative-valued and back to zero wedges!) as well as wedges valued at up to $3 million. Taking a page from "The Wall" and adding the twist of another person choosing whether to take the guaranteed money or risk it for millions keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. 

While guests should tune in weekly to see how a contestant will ultimately fare, host Dax Shepard is a weak link, lacking any charisma and adding little value to the overall production. And, with the show featuring a ginormous, heavy wheel, having contestants simply touch the wheel to get it started robs the show of additional fun and strategy — skeptics may even argue that the “randomly generate wheel” is rigged to make each episode more dramatic.

Attempting to take the best of many game shows and combine them for a new hit show, “Spin the Wheel” relies on viewers finding it against the many options that exist on summer TV. Having the largest prize money on primetime will certainly go a long way, but other game shows feature more engaging, funny, and likeable hosts such as Joel McHale on ABC’s “Card Sharks” and Chris Hardwick on “The Wall”. Ultimately it may be someone walking away with tens of millions of dollars for Fox to make this "Wheel" a fortune.

Grade: B

“Spin the Wheel” airs on Fox on Thursdays at 9:00 p.m. ET / 8:00 p.m. CT.

About writer: Mark Eaton 

Mark is an entertainment junkie, spending much of his leisure time watching movies, TV, or listening to any and all genres of music. Most evenings, after finishing a day of work and hanging with his wife and kids, Mark can be found in an eternal battle with his DVR, trying to clear it before another 5-6 hours of shows are recorded the next day.With a past career in the publishing industry, working with libraries and K12 and academic institutions, one would think that Mark adopted a greater love of reading books, however if it isn’t the newspaper, entertainment industry magazines (Variety and Entertainment Weekly are his favorites), or perusing websites such as Deadline, THR, and Cinemablend, it doesn’t readily exist in Mark’s universe.Favorite Films: Goodfellas, Glengarry Glen Ross, Cocktail, Top Gun, Dazed and Confused, The Breakfast Club, Austin Powers, Airplane

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