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AP Photo/Peter Kramer
I’d like to buy an attack ad, Pat.
LETTER OF THE LAW

The game show dynasty Wheel of Fortune rakes in more money from political ads than any other show on TV

By Corinne Purtill

In the 2012 presidential campaign, no other show on television earned as much money from political TV ads as the stalwart game show Wheel of Fortune. The series, which has aired for 41 years and has been anchored since 1982 by the unnervingly ageless Pat Sajak and Vanna White, brought in $57 million in campaign-ad revenue during the 2012 election cycle.

This year looks to be even bigger.

The show has taken in seven times more money from political ads than it had at the same point in the last presidential cycle, according to Bloomberg, citing data from Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group.

Between Jan. 1 and March 1, Wheel took in $17.8 million from 13,600 ads sponsored by candidates, super-PACs, and affiliated groups, Bloomberg reported.

The show’s demographics explain its popularity with politicians. It consistently ranks among the most-watched syndicated shows on US television. More important, its viewers are old. Wheel of Fortune’s viewers are the oldest on television, with the average Wheel watcher aged 65 or older, according to a 2013 report.

People in that age bracket head to the polls more reliably than any other age group in the US. Almost 70% turned out for the 2012 presidential election, compared to just 38% of voters under the age of 25.

US Census Bureau