The Wheel hosts the theme song “Insane Ear Candy” for the new NBC game show

America is poised for its first major spin on the hit British game show The Wheel, which will take over NBC’s primetime weeknight schedule for two consecutive weeks beginning Monday, December 19.

Its launch commemorates ABC’s premiere of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire – based on the British series – which aired for two consecutive weeks in August 1999 with host Regis Philbin (the rest is history).

Created and hosted by exuberant English comedian Michael McIntyre, “The Wheel” mixes trivia, celebrity and randomness as contestants vie for over $100.00 – at the whim of a 42-foot spinning wheel.

“It’s very much an entertainment/quiz show type show,” McIntyre, 46, told the Post. “My colleague calls it ‘quint-etainment’, which is a term he’s trying to coin, but I’m not sure if it catches on.

“It’s like a human roulette wheel,” he said. “I liked the idea of ​​people spinning around and having six celebrities helping out is completely arbitrary [the contestants] Answering questions. Every celebrity brings with them a category in which they claim to be an expert, but there’s only a one in six chance that you’ll get them to help you. There is also a “Danger Zone” so every spin you will be knocked out by one of the celebrities. So if you land on them you’re off the wheel… but you can come back up so it’s all about staying there and holding on to controlling the wheel to the end.”

Michael McIntyre on the set of "The wheel." Wearing a dark blazer and blue shirt, he has his arms outstretched in front of him as he greets the audience.
British comedian Michael McIntyre created and will host “The Wheel,” which will air on NBC for two consecutive weeks beginning Monday, December 19.
Chris Haston/NBC

The series premieres on December 19, starring celebrities Christina Ricci, Amber Ruffin, Mark McGrath, Cat Cora, Todrick Hall and Steve Kornacki; future episodes include Chrissy Metz, Loni Love, Chris Kattan, Clay Aiken, Jalen Rose and Margaret Cho (among many others).

“The idea [for the contestants] is to stay there and clear the wheel from all categories and then try to cash out at the bank at the end,” McIntyre said. “We rank the celebrities according to the strongest and the weakest [re: trivia] and if you’re playing the strongest celebrity, you’re playing for the least amount of money and vice versa.

“As you play the game … it becomes very engaging and engaging and ultimately very dramatic,” he said. “Often the celebrities talk the candidate out [their answer] but the candidate gets nervous and starts to rely on someone they shouldn’t – someone who says very early on, ‘I don’t know the answer.’ There’s something in people that makes them think, ‘If I just go with go to them, then it’s not up to me.’

“It’s that mix of luck and skill and I think it’s just right.”

A popular standup comedian in the UK, McIntyre was a judge on Britain’s Got Talent and has hosted and starred in a number of TV shows including his BAFTA winning Michael McIntyre’s Big Show.

A photo from a series of "The wheel" shows Taye Diggs and a contestant seated in chairs on the show's set, while presenter Michael McIntyre sits cross-legged and hands clasped in front of him as if praying for luck.
Taye Diggs, Michael McIntyre and contestant Angelica on an upcoming episode of The Wheel.
Chris Haston/NBC

He launched The Wheel on BBC One in November 2020 and it has aired for three seasons so far.

“NBC bought it very quickly, maybe after a show or two, and that was on hold,” he said, referring to the pandemic and, tongue-in-cheek, to the restrictions placed on television viewers during that time. “It was going great, but it was illegal to leave home, so the ratings were certainly artificially high. But now we’re out of lockdown and the ratings are even higher [in the UK]so it went really well.”

McIntyre said he had one rule in the first place when he created The Wheel.

“It’s a simple game and it’s easy to understand, which is always the best game shows. People don’t have the patience for direction, I certainly don’t, and that’s really why I tried to invent a game show,” he said. “‘Millionaire’ was the last big one that really turned things upside down, so I thought I’d try to find one that didn’t take a long time to explain. he said. “There is a statement in the American version that I fought hard against.”

And, according to McIntyre, The Wheel has a great secret weapon that has contributed to its popularity in Britain.

Photo of a contestant named Jane sitting in her chair "The wheel" with celebrity Christina Ricci sitting in a chair next to her and watching.  The name "JANE" is in capital letters at the top.
Jane, a contestant, and Christina Ricci on an episode of The Wheel.
Chris Haston/NBC

“We are very fortunate to have a very catchy theme tune. People fell in love with the music right away,” he said. “The ear candy is insane. There is only one lyric, namely “The Wheel”, but it seems to be enough.

“I went to a soccer game a few months ago with my son, who is 14 now but was 13 at the time,” he said. “The animosity [at UK games] is off the scale and there were these two men and they were literally yelling obscenities. They were from opposing teams, one from my team and one from Manchester United.

“They were screaming and wanting to fight and I was really scared but I had to get past them to the car and I was holding my son’s hand trying to get past them,” he said. “As I walked past them, they both turned and looked at me and said ‘The Wheel’ at the same time and started singing the theme song – and then went on to the fight.”

The Wheel airs weekdays on NBC from December 19-23 (10 p.m. to 11 p.m.) and December 26-30 (8 p.m. to 9 p.m.). The Wheel hosts the theme song “Insane Ear Candy” for the new NBC game show

Emma Bowman

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