Emancipation on the “Wheel of Fortune”: This is what moderator Thomas Hermanns intends to do

Updated on 01/22/2023 at 12:37 p.m

  • The retro wave is bringing a new old show back to TV screens.
  • From the end of January, RTLzwei will be showing a new edition of the primetime show “Glücksrad”.
  • It will be moderated by Thomas Hermanns and Sonya Kraus.

More news about TV shows

if Thomas Hermanns talks about the pitfalls and processes on the famous wall of letters in the “Wheel of Fortune” studio, it sometimes sounds like an explosive ordnance clearance expert talking about complicated bomb disposal. If everything works as planned – then you don’t even notice it. But woe if not.

“Where do you start turning around? From where do you go back to the original position? From where do you march through?” Hermanns lists the problem constellations. All of that has to be taken into account. The worst case: “If you suddenly stand in front of the word “Iserlohn” and can’t find the “O”, it’s extremely confusing for the candidates and viewers.”

Thomas Hermanns knows what he’s talking about because he’s worked it out. The 59-year-old forms together with Sonya Kraus (49) the new moderation duo, which is supposed to roll the traditional “wheel of fortune” out of the television moth box and back onto the screen.

“Wheel of Fortune” can be seen again on TV from the end of January

RTLzwei has issued this goal. On Thursday (January 26, 8:15 p.m.) the broadcaster will show a new edition of “Wheel of Fortune” as a prime time show. More episodes are planned, but the dates have not yet been set. Again, the challenge is for candidates to guess words and terms. They turn the amount of the prize on the “Wheel of Fortune”. The show is based on the American original “Wheel of Fortune” and has been exported to many other countries.

And a special feature is that Hermanns, as a man, doesn’t talk about driving like someone who doesn’t have a driver’s license when he talks about the wall of letters. In earlier versions there was still a fixed cast, a mostly mute woman who turned the letters over and had to go through life with the 1950s term “letter fairy”. This strange connection between gender and function has now been abolished. Hermanns and Kraus should take turns instead. Sometimes he turns letters and she moderates the candidates on the wheel, sometimes it’s the other way around. A little emancipation, as a game show variant, so to speak.

“I asked the licensee: apart from me, there was probably only one man who had ever worked on the wall, that was in Brazil,” says Hermanns. But he turned the letters topless and with a six-pack. He couldn’t offer that. Kraus is nevertheless happy about the division of labour. “I’ve spent almost 1,000 shows on this wall. It would actually have been a bit low-spirited for me to do it again,” she said.

Kraus is actually something like the personal link to earlier variants. She inherited Maren Gilzer, who was part of the original team when the format went on the air on Sat.1 in 1988. Moderators in this first edition – which still determines the formative images in the minds of those who were there – were the charming Peter Bond and Frederic Meisner, mythical figures of 90s capitalism television.

Sonya Kraus: The show now has more glamor

In 1998, the show switched to Kabel Eins (and Sonya Kraus joined), where it continued until 2002. Then she was swept away by the quiz boom of the time. There were temporary new editions later on 9Live and RTLplus (today RTLup). However, these have not left any major traces in the collective memory.

So now a new attempt, which of course has something to do with the current retro wave, which also has old formats like “Go on the whole!” and “The price is hot” flushed back into the channels.

Can the “Wheel of Fortune” keep up? Well, among other things, the show now has more “glamour,” says Sonya Kraus. “If you are aiming for the revival of such an icon, you have to do it pompously and not in such a budget version,” she says. An advantage should be that you don’t have to explain what it’s about and why the show looks so colorful. It’s all burned in. “When I first stood in this pastel world, it was like taking a bath,” says Hermanns.

Kraus feels the same way. “It felt a bit like going back to your living room. It was all very familiar,” she says. “I suspect that if necessary I could also moderate the show with three per thousand.”

She does not want to describe the show as a comeback after her breast cancer. She also worked during her chemotherapy. “But I’m still happy to accept the congratulations,” she says. “I would say: The lucky child is back at the “Wheel of Fortune”.” (Jonas-Erik Schmidt, dpa/pak)