‘Jeopardy!’ and ‘Wheel of Fortune’ Pro goes to a new game show
Harry Friedman, the longtime executive producer of Peril! and Wheel of Fortune, came out of retirement late last month to work on a new game show at NBC. Friedman will serve as showrunner for Capital One University Bowl Season 2. Friedman tried again in 2019 and was replaced by the now-disgraced Mike Richards.
University bowl is a new quiz show featuring teams from 16 universities answering questions on a wide range of topics. NFL Hall of Famer Peyton Manning hosted the first season, which aired in the summer of 2021. The show averaged around 2.7 million viewers, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Village Roadshow Television and Universal Television Alternative Studio are the studios behind University bowl. Manning serves as an executive producer alongside his brothers Eli Manning and Cooper Manning under their Omaha Productions banner. Richard Reid of Richard Reid Productions and Mark Itkin of Tough Lamb Media are also executive producers of the show. University bowl is a revival of the original game show, which aired on CBS from 1959 to 1963 and from 1979 to 1982, and on NBC from 1953 to 1955 and from 1963 to 1970. A version also aired on the Disney Channel in 1987.
Friedman retired in 2019 after overseeing Wheel of Fortune for 25 years and Peril! for 21 years. He has won 14 Daytime Emmy Awards, winning his first as a member of the Hollywood Squares writing staff in 1974. He also won the Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award and earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Richards replaced Friedman at both Wheel and Peril!, but his tenure was short-lived. Richards oversaw a season of Peril! with rotating guest hosts, leading audiences to believe it was an audition process for their favorite celebrities. Once the season ended, Richards made himself a full-time host. Days later, lawsuits and offensive comments he made during his tenure at The price is right resurfaces, causing him to lose the hosting gig. Sony then fired him as executive producer of both Wheel and Peril!.
In April, Sony named interim executive producer Michael Davies as the new showrunner for Peril!, which featured Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik as hosts this season. “I am both honored and touched by the trust the studio and staff have placed in me,” Davies wrote in a blog post. “Over the next few months, the scope of our plans will become clear. But, for now, I just want to thank everyone in the Peril! community for your phenomenal support.”
In March, Sony hired Bellamie Blackstone as its new Wheel executive producer. She will oversee the show’s 40th season with co-executive producer Steve Schwartz. Pat Sajak and Vanna White will return as hosts.