Harry Friedman

Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tab

About
About this interview

In his two-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Harry Friedman recalls his early life in Omaha, Nebraska, where his father was the first television repairman in town and Johnny Carson was the local television star. He describes his early career path and how he came to be a writer on The Hollywood Squares in the 1970s. He talks about producing the late '80s version of the show that featured Joan Rivers as the center square. Friedman speaks in great detail about his long association with the game shows Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, which he began producing in the mid-'90s. For Wheel of Fortune he talks about changes made to the game play through the years, such as the addition of the "Jackpot Round" and the "Mystery Round" as well as the "Wheel Watchers Club."  For Jeopardy!, he recounts the winning streak of Ken Jennings. He also outlines what make Pat Sajak, Vanna White, and Alex Trebek successful on-screen personalities. Karen Herman conducted the interview on October 10, 2007 on the Sony Pictures Studios lot in Culver City, California.

"I don't think you can train someone to be a game show host. it's a certain trait that either you have or you don't. Are hosts born or are they made? I think they're born."

Highlights
Harry Friedman on writing for the celebrities on Hollywood Squares
03:57
Harry Friedman on Pat Sajak as host of Wheel of Fortune
06:27
Harry Friedman on Vanna White's wardrobe on Wheel of Fortune
01:34
Harry Friedman on the Jeopardy!  think music
00:27
Harry Friedman on repealing the five show limit on Jeopardy!  and record breaking contestant Ken Jennings
02:11
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on Johnny Carson's early television career; on television he watched growing up
On moving to Los Angeles and becoming a writer for Hollywood Squares; on the premise and rules for Hollywood Squares; on working with the celebrities on the show
On what he learned from Hollywood Squares; on Hollywood Squares host Peter Marshall; on becoming a producer on the show

Chapter 2

On the end of Hollywood Squares; on his post-Hollywood Squares projects; on the 1986 revival of Hollywood Squares
On coming to produce Wheel of Fortune; on changes he brought to Wheel of Fortune; on his relationship with Wheel of Fortune creator Merv Griffin; on changing the puzzle board on the show
On adding elements to Wheel of Fortune; on the Wheel of Fortune set; on the prizes on the show

Chapter 3

On Pat Sajak and Vanna White on Wheel of Fortune; on Wheel of Fortune announcer Charlie O'Donnell
On the contestants of Wheel of Fortune; on Wheel of Fortune's trips and theme weeks; on Wheel of Fortune's ratings and affiliates; on how emerging technologies have affected the show

Chapter 4

On Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! switching to high definition; on the then-future of Wheel of Fortune; on taking over as producer of Jeopardy!; on Alex Trebek as host of Jeopardy!
On the questions and studio audience of Jeopardy!; on the contestants of Jeopardy!; on the Jeopardy! brand; on the then-future of Jeopardy!

Chapter 5

On the legacy of Jeopardy!; on reconfiguring the Jeopardy! set for HD; on the linkage and international appeal of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!
On his professional achievements and regrets; on winning Emmy Awards for Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!; on advice to aspiring game show producers and hosts and how he'd like to be remembered
Shows

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

View Show Page
Harry Friedman on winning Emmy Awards for Wheel of Fortune  and Jeopardy!
01:24

Hollywood Squares, The

View Show Page
Harry Friedman on moving to Los Angeles and being hired to write for Hollywood Squares
03:52
Harry Friedman on the premise and rules of Hollywood Squares
02:32
Harry Friedman on writing for the celebrities on Hollywood Squares
03:57
Harry Friedman on what he learned from working on Hollywood Squares
04:29
Harry Friedman on working with Hollywood Squares host Peter Marshall
01:17
Harry Friedman on becoming a producer at Hollywood Squares
00:52
Harry Friedman on the end of Hollywood Squares
01:28
Harry Friedman on producing the 1986 revival of Hollywood Squares
03:39

Jeopardy!

View Show Page
Harry Friedman on Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! switching to high definition 
03:42
Harry Friedman on taking over producer duties for Jeopardy!
02:34
Harry Friedman on Alex Trebek as host of Jeopardy!
05:02
Harry Friedman on the audience demographics of Jeopardy! and the show attracting more women
02:11
Harry Friedman on the questions of Jeopardy!
01:10
Harry Friedman on the Jeopardy! studio audience
01:15
Harry Friedman on the contestants of Jeopardy!
01:02
Harry Friedman on repealing the five show limit on Jeopardy! and record breaking contestant Ken Jennings
02:11
Harry Friedman on the practices and procedures of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! regarding contestants
00:44
Harry Friedman on Jeopardy!'s "Clue Crew"
01:11
Harry Friedman on the Jeopardy! brand
02:28
Harry Friedman on the Jeopardy! think music
00:27
Harry Friedman on "Rock & Roll" Jeopardy!
00:37
Harry Friedman on the then-future of Jeopardy!
02:05
Harry Friedman on the legacy of Jeopardy!
01:50
Harry Friedman on reconfiguring the Jeopardy! set for HD
00:44
Harry Friedman on the linkage of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!
01:40
Harry Friedman on the international appeal of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!
01:24
Harry Friedman on Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!'s distributor King Word/CBS Television Distribution
00:46

Wheel of Fortune

View Show Page
Harry Friedman on how he came to produce Wheel of Fortune
01:11
Harry Friedman on the changes he brought to Wheel of Fortune as producer
01:32
Harry Friedman on his relationship with Wheel of Fortune creator Merv Griffin 
02:30
Harry Friedman on changing the puzzle board for Wheel of Fortune
03:41
Harry Friedman on the budget for Wheel of Fortune
00:43
Harry Friedman on adding elements to the wheel on Wheel of Fortune and the bonus round
02:29
Harry Friedman on the Wheel of Fortune puzzles
01:09
Harry Friedman on the Wheel of Fortune set
01:35
Harry Friedman on the Wheel of Fortune prizes
00:27
Harry Friedman on Pat Sajak as host of Wheel of Fortune
06:27
Harry Friedman on Vanna White on Wheel of Fortune
02:15
Harry Friedman on Vanna White's wardrobe on Wheel of Fortune
01:34
Harry Friedman on the chemistry between Pat Sajak and Vanna White on Wheel of Fortune
01:23
Harry Friedman on Wheel of Fortune announcer Charlie O'Donnell
01:45
Harry Friedman on the contestants of Wheel of Fortune
02:59
Harry Friedman on taking Wheel of Fortune on the road
02:03
Harry Friedman on Wheel of Fortune's "Wheel Mobile" 
01:05
Harry Friedman on Wheel of Fortune's theme weeks
03:04
Harry Friedman on Wheel of Fortune's ratings 
02:06
Harry Friedman on Wheel of Fortune's affiliates 
01:28
Harry Friedman on how emerging technologies have affected Wheel of Fortune
01:57
Harry Friedman on Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! switching to high definition 
03:42
Harry Friedman on the then-future of Wheel of Fortune 
00:37
Harry Friedman on his function on the set of Wheel of Fortune
01:26
Harry Friedman on the practices and procedures of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!  regarding contestants
00:44
Harry Friedman on the linkage of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!
01:40
Harry Friedman on the international appeal of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!
01:24
Harry Friedman on Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!'s distributor King Word/CBS Television Distribution
00:46
Topics

Advice

View Topic
Harry Friedman on advice to an aspiring producer
01:27
Harry Friedman on advice to an aspiring game show host
01:06

Emmy Awards

View Topic
Harry Friedman on winning Emmy Awards for Wheel of Fortune  and Jeopardy!
01:24

First Big Break

View Topic
Harry Friedman on moving to Los Angeles and being hired to write for Hollywood Squares
03:52

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Harry Friedman on moving to Los Angeles and being hired to write for Hollywood Squares
03:52

Technological Innovation

View Topic
Harry Friedman on how emerging technologies have affected Wheel of Fortune
01:57
Harry Friedman on Wheel of Fortune  and Jeopardy!  switching to high definition 
03:41

Television Industry

View Topic
Harry Friedman on advice to an aspiring producer
01:27
Harry Friedman on advice to an aspiring game show host
01:06
Harry Friedman on how television has changed over the years
01:21
Professions

Game Show Host

View Profession
Harry Friedman on advice to an aspiring game show host
01:06

Hosts

View Profession
Harry Friedman on advice to an aspiring game show host
01:06

Producers

View Profession
Harry Friedman on advice to an aspiring producer
01:27
Genres

Game Shows

View Genre
Harry Friedman on writing and producing Hollywood Squares (Part 1)
16:10
Harry Friedman on writing and producing Hollywood Squares (Part 2)
07:36
Harry Friedman on writing and producing Wheel of Fortune (Part 1)
15:18
Harry Friedman on producing Wheel of Fortune (Part 2)
28:59
Harry Friedman on producing Wheel of Fortune (Part 3)
05:44
Harry Friedman on producing Jeopardy! (Part 1)
13:12
Harry Friedman on producing Jeopardy! (Part 3)
06:26
People

Stephen J. Cannell

View Interview Page
Harry Friedman on developing shows for Stephen J. Cannell
02:44

Johnny Carson

View Person Page
Harry Friedman on Johnny Carson's local television show in Omaha, Nebraska 
03:16

Merv Griffin

View Person Page
Harry Friedman on his relationship with Wheel of Fortune  creator Merv Griffin 
02:30

Ken Jennings

View Person Page
Harry Friedman on repealing the five show limit on Jeopardy! and record breaking contestant Ken Jennings
02:11

Paul Lynde

View Person Page
Harry Friedman on writing for the celebrities on Hollywood Squares
03:57

Peter Marshall

View Interview Page
Harry Friedman on working with Hollywood Squares host Peter Marshall
01:18

Charlie O'Donnell

View Person Page
Harry Friedman on Wheel of Fortune announcer Charlie O'Donnell
01:46

Pat Sajak

View Interview Page
Harry Friedman on Pat Sajak as host of Wheel of Fortune
06:27
Harry Friedman on the chemistry between Pat Sajak and Vanna White on Wheel of Fortune
01:22

George C. Scott

View Person Page
Harry Friedman on writing for the celebrities on Hollywood Squares
03:57

Alex Trebek

View Interview Page
Harry Friedman on Alex Trebek as host of Jeopardy!
05:02

Vanna White

View Interview Page
Harry Friedman on Vanna White on Wheel of Fortune
02:15
Harry Friedman on Vanna White's wardrobe on Wheel of Fortune
01:34
Harry Friedman on the chemistry between Pat Sajak and Vanna White on Wheel of Fortune
01:22

All Interviews

Q
S