The executive producer of syndication mainstays “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy!,” who has been with the programs for almost 25 years, is retiring. The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports that Harry Friedman will stay on at both shows through the end of his current contract, which expires May 1, 2020.
Friedman, 72, broke the news to the staffs of both shows Thursday morning.
“I think all of you know how much I love these shows, and that I deeply respect how hard you’ve worked to make them so successful,” Friedman said in a statement. “We’ve celebrated a lot of milestones together, and now with my own personal 25th anniversary milestone just a few months away, it felt like this was the right time for me to step away. Please join me in making this the best season yet.”
Mike Hopkins, chairman of Sony Pictures Television, which produces the shows, is quoted by THR saying: “We are proud to have had one of the industry’s most prolific executive producers at the helm of our flagship game shows, ‘Wheel of Fortune’ and ‘Jeopardy!,’ for the past 25 years. Under Harry’s direction, these iconic shows have become among the longest running and most successful game shows in television history. We look forward to working with Harry over the next nine months to create more outstanding television, and to ensure a smooth transition once a replacement has been identified. Harry is truly one of a kind, and he will be greatly missed.”
Both shows will premiere their new seasons on Monday, Sept. 9, marking the 37th season for “Wheel” and the 36th for “Jeopardy!” The programs are distributed by CBS Television Distribution.
Here’s a clip of Friedman talking about winning a Lifetime Achievement Emmy, posted by “Jeopardy!” in 2017 …