CMA Relationship with "Wheel
of Fortune" Spells S-U-C-C-E-S-S for Country Music
BY CAROL KAELSON / SONY PICTURES STUDIOS
White, Josh Gracin, Wynonna, Richie McDonald of Lonestar and Pat
Sajak on the set during "Country Music Stars Week" on
"Wheel of Fortune."
2007 CMA Close Up News Service
The ongoing relationship
between CMA and television's most popular game show, "Wheel
of Fortune," spelled S-U-C-C-E-S-S for the music industry with
a second Country Music-themed week of programs taped Jan. 13 in
Charleston, S.C. Fifteen Country Music artists came together to
take a spin for charity.
A proven winner with
viewers, "Country Music Stars Week" pairs Country Music
enthusiasts with Country artists with the stars' winnings going
to their favorite charities. This year's charitable contributions
came to a whopping $402,000. The week of shows, hosted by Pat Sajak
and Vanna White, was taped at the Charleston Area Convention Center
and will air during television sweeps Feb. 12-16.
"CMA is very excited
to partner with 'Wheel of Fortune' once again for a 'Country Music
Stars Week,' and ecstatic that the week of shows aired during February
sweeps," said Rick Murray, CMA VP of Strategic Marketing. "The
production and marketing teams - from executive producer Harry Friedman,
to producer Karen Griffith, and of course Pat and Vanna - have truly
become a part of the CMA and Country Music family. We love working
with them and hope to continue helping to secure Country artists
for many more 'Wheel' episodes in the future!"
Artists appearing included
Steve Azar; Terri Clark; Josh Gracin; Michael Britt, Richie McDonald,
Keech Rainwater and Dean Sams of Lonestar; Eddie Montgomery and
Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry; Lorrie Morgan; Julie Roberts;
Trent Tomlinson; Mark Wills; Wynonna and Trisha Yearwood.
CMA's relationship with
"Wheel of Fortune" dates back to 2000, when the Association
started speaking with the show's marketing executives about a possible
Country-themed program. The discussions resulted in the "Wheel
of Fortune" Wheelmobile making a stop at CMA Music Festival
in 2002 to audition Country fans for a week of programs that taped
Jan. 9, 2003, at the Grand Ole Opry House.
The first "Country
Stars Week," aired the week of Feb. 17, 2003, and ranked No.
1 for all syndicated shows with an average of 16 million viewers
- 2.5 million viewers more than its closest competitor ("Friends").
The programs even outperformed many primetime shows including "American
Idol" (15.6 million); "West Wing" (12.3 million);
"24" (13.2 million); and "Law & Order: SVU"
(15 million). Source: NSS/NTI, P2+AA (000); 2/17/03-2/21/03.
"Wheel of Fortune"
is America's No. 1 syndicated series and an ideal partner for Country
Music artists, according to Murray. With an audience of more than
12 million loyal fans, "Wheel of Fortune" delivers more
viewers than any other program in syndication including "Oprah"
(8,377,000); "Entertainment Tonight" (6,753,000); and
"Live with Regis and Kelly" (4,227,000). "Wheel"
delivers more viewers than any of the late night talk shows or network
morning shows. Source: NSS/NTI, P2+AA%; 2005-2006 season.
"The viewing numbers
for 'Wheel' make participation on these shows a sleeping giant for
the artists looking to reach and impact their current and potential
fan base," Murray added. "During the artist introductions
Pat typically will mention their current CD, run performance footage
of the artist and sometimes even a piece of music from the album
- all adding up to extensive promotion, brand awareness and advertising
for the artists. Country stars are among 'Wheel' viewers' favorite
celebrities, and we have plenty of artists lining up to participate
in these themed shows."
Since the first "Country
Music Stars Week," CMA has provided incredible prize packages
and this year was no exception with trips to CMA Music Festival
and the CMA Awards that included airfare, hotel accommodations,
CD packages, Awards merchandise and more valued at $4,000 each.
The players got to take
home terrific prizes and cash, but the artists who played left feeling
good, too. They donated all their winnings to their favorite charities.
Troy Gentry is donating his proceeds to "Keep the Music Playing,"
CMA's charity program from CMA Music Festival that benefits music
education in Nashville's public schools through the Nashville Alliance
for Public Education.
"Eddie and I are
both excited about spinning the wheel for our charities," Gentry
said. "I will be playing for 'Keep the Music Playing,' and
I can't think of a more deserving charity. I hope I can make the
On the Web:
BY CAROL KAELSON / SONY PICTURES STUDIOS
Holcomb, Host Pat Sajak, Mark Wills, William Houpt, Lorrie Morgan,
Danielle Robinson and Michael Britt of Lonestar participate in "Country
Music Stars Week" on "Wheel of Fortune."
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