10:30am PT by Michael O'Connell
‘Jeopardy!’ and ‘Wheel’ Producer Harry Friedman Stepping Down After 25 Years
Harry Friedman, illustrious executive producer of Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, is moving on. The 72-year-old TV veteran told staff of his decision Thursday morning, though he’ll be staying on at both shows through the end of his current contract.
“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 to both show’s staffs on the Jeopardy! stage. “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.”
Friedman is staying on for nearly another year. His current contract is up May 1, 2020. When he signs off, he will have spent 25 years at Wheel and Jeopardy! studio Sony Pictures Television.
“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,” said SPT chairman Mike Hopkins. “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.”
Wheel is currently in production on its 37th season, while Jeopardy! is taping No. 36. Both premiere Monday, Sept. 9, and will see Friedman add many more hours to his already formidable career tally: 6,270.
Friedman has 14 Daytime Emmys, a Peabody Award and is in the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame.
Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! are produced by Sony Pictures Television and distributed by CBS Television Distribution.