‘Jeopardy!’ and ‘Wheel of Fortune’ Airtimes in Graphs and Maps

Category: ‘Game Shows’

Answer: Between ‘Jeopardy!’ and ‘Wheel of Fortune’, this program is shown first each day.

Question: What is…well, it depends on where you live.

I grew up in New Jersey, and every weeknight, ‘Jeopardy!’ started at 7:00pm and ‘Wheel of Fortune’ came on directly after at 7:30pm.  One year when I was visiting family in Virginia, and I entered a Bizarro world where ‘Wheel’ was on FIRST, and ‘Jeopardy!’ second.

Many years later, I had a thought.  What do most Americans see first?  ‘Jeopardy!’ or ‘Wheel’?

There are 210 different media markets in the United States.  From the research I’ve gathered from the ‘Jeopardy!’ and ‘Wheel’ websites, 206 of the 210 media markets have a local TV affiliate which airs the shows.  Now I will admit that the four missing markets may indeed get these shows.  Perhaps the listings on the show websites were not complete, or perhaps they receive these broadcasts from neighboring markets.  I’m not quite sure.

129 of the markets show ‘Jeopardy!’ first, and 77 of the markets show ‘Wheel’ first.  There’s also information available about the approximate number of televisions in a given media market, and to that end 74 million televisions get ‘Jeopardy!’ first, and 40 million get ‘Wheel’ first.


However, just seeing the numbers isn’t the full picture.  What does this information look like on a map?  Well, here you go.


It’s interesting to take a geographic look at markets which show ‘Wheel’ first.  There’s a concentration on the east coast, and pockets across the nation.

For the majority of the nation, when you watch these shows, they come one right after the other.  That’s not the case across the entire nation, as this next set of graphs will show.


‘Jeopardy!’ tends to get a much earlier start time overall.  A number of markets will choose to show ‘Jeopardy!’ early on in the day, especially those markets in the mid-west which tend to show ‘Jeopardy!’ before the local news, and ‘Wheel’ a few hours later right before Prime Time.  If you want to be the first in the nation to see the show, I recommend moving to the Montgomery-Selma, Alabama market.  They show new episodes at 9:30am local time.  The last market in the nation to air new episodes is the Lafayette, Louisiana market, which starts the show at 12:36 AM.  KATC-3 airs ABC Prime Time shows, Local News, Jimmy Kimmel, Nightline, Inside Edition, and then finally good ol’ ‘Jeopardy!’.

Wheel of Fortune is a much different story.  There are four time slots: 6:00, 6:30, 7:00, and 7:30.  That’s it.  No deviation.  No late nights or early mornings.

Here’s a look of the build over time, with respect to local time. You can see ‘Jeopardy!’ gradually building up through the day, and then in the ‘Power Hours’ between 6:00 and 8:00, ‘Wheel’ is shown for everyone.  And finally, our friends in the Lafayette market get to see ‘Jeopardy!’ in the late late evening.


And here’s what this looks like on a map.  The lighter the color, the earlier in the day it’s shown.  For ‘Jeopardy!’, you’ll notice that most of the early showings happen in the Central time zone.  Interestingly, most of the largest markets in the US show ‘Jeopardy!’ closer to prime time.  However, Chicago shows it at 2:30pm local time on the station WLS.


‘Wheel’, as mentioned before, is much more uniform.  Earlier 6pm to 7pm times in the Central and Mountain time zones, with Eastern and Pacific tending to air in the 7pm to 8pm hour.


Now, what happens if we take a look at time as it relates to a single time zone?  A show may air at 7:00pm in the East, but when it’s shown at 7:00pm on the west coast, it’ll be 10:00pm back east.  These graphs show the build over time with time zone shifts applied as they relate to the Eastern time zone.  So, when something is shown at 7:30pm Eastern and 6:30pm Central, they’re actually on at the same time.


Here’s that build over time, with Montgomery kicking things off at 10:30am and Lafayette shutting it down at 1:36am Eastern Tim the following morning.  ‘Wheel’ is more spread out in this case, with the final showing at 11:30pm Eastern Time in the Honolulu market.


Here’s what those time shifts look like on a map, with the gradients scaled to show later times in a darker hue.  First, ‘Jeopardy!’.


Then, ‘Wheel’.


When we look at the difference in times between shows within the same market, the majority of airings have one show directly after the other.  When that is not the case, ‘Jeopardy!’ will often be shown first, then a gap, then ‘Wheel’ later on in the day.  In fact, there is only one market in the US which shows Wheel first and then doesn’t show ‘Jeopardy!’ right after, and that’s our friends in Lafayette who show ‘Wheel’ at 6:30pm and wait until 12:36am to show ‘Jeopardy!’.


Here’s those time differences shown geographically as well.  Blue hues are ‘Jeopardy!’, and Red hues are ‘Wheel’.  Notice there are only two red hues, since ‘Wheel’ is always followed directly by ‘Jeopardy!’ in those markets, save for Lafayette.


Finally, I wondered which networks aired the shows, as in ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, MYTV, or Independents.  The results were actually quite surprising and extremely spread out, but skewed in favor for ABC, CBS, and NBC.  Here’s a look at the number of markets plus the number of televisions within those markets for both shows.



You’ll notice that in terms of number of markets, it’s fairly even between ABC, CBS, and NBC.  However, ABC affiliates have coverage in the top four markets (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Philadelphia) and six of the top eight, which skews the number of TVs highly in their favor.

Fun Fact: In 23 of the 206 markets, the two shows are actually shown on DIFFERENT networks.  Most of these cases tend to be in the Central and Mountain time zones.




Overall, I hope you enjoyed.  If you want the tl;dr version:

  • ‘Jeopardy!’ is shown first in more media markets in the US
  • ‘Jeopardy!’ times are more spread throughout the day
  • ‘Wheel of Fortune’ has ‘Power Hours’ from 6pm to 8pm where the entire nation sees the show
  • The number of ABC, CBS, and NBC affiliates is fairly even, although ABC has more of the higher-population markets

Update: May 6, 2014

Not surprisingly, I’ve gotten some of the data points wrong. Reddit user RAS310 asked me:
Just the other day I was thinking about which affiliate airs the shows the most. Do you know which market is the sole one that airs Wheel at 6:30 Eastern? I thought none of them aired the show before 7.

This caused me to look back into some of my original data points. Well, it seems that the question has revealed a problem with the Wheel of Fortune website and with the KML files I used to draw the maps.

The airtime at 6:30 Eastern came back as the ROCHESTER, MN-MASON CITY, IA-AUSTIN, MN. This is wrong for two reasons.

Wheel recently changed how you can look up airtimes. Before it was a clickable map of the US, and it showed you the TV Markets and what time they aired Wheel. They went to an newer version based on ZIP code look up. I looked up a sample ZIP code for Austin, MN (55912). When you plug it into the Wheel website, KXAN-TV, a station in Austin, TX showed up. I didn’t realize I was looking at a Texas station, so I picked up the wrong airtime.

That didn’t explain the time zone shift though, as TX and MN are both Central time. It also looks like there’s a mix-up in the KML file of the TV Markets I obtained that switched the labels for Rochester, MN and Rochester, NY. I did time-zone shifts based on the codes for those, so Rochester, MN is EST for the color shifts, and Rochester, NY is CST for their color shifts.

So, a number of errors on my part in gathering the data.

Happy to hear any additional thoughts in the comments.

GraphLink: Facebook+NFL

NFL Facebook Fans by County

This winner of this month’s award for “Unexpected Achievement in the World of Graphs” is Sean Taylor of the Facebook Data Science Team. Rather than describe what has been done, I’ll just leave a link here and say it’s Super Bowl related. It’s better explained by Sean anyway.

NFL Facebook Fans by County
My, that's a lot of data.

We here at GraphGraph appreciate a good graph, but what is getting our spreadsheets all in a pivot right now is dreaming of the amount of data that the good folks* at Facebook have at their disposal.

I have one problem with their presentation, and that would be the use of grey as a color. I understand that with 32 teams, there are only so many color options, and I can’t at this moment say how I would have done it differently. Nevertheless, to my eye, grey always looks like it represents “neutral” or “no data available,” not “Patriots or Colts or maybe even Cowboys.” Oh well.

make a gif image

There is a series of maps that shows the support for each remaining team as this year’s postseason progressed. I immediately wished there was an animated version, so I created a gif for your internetting consumption. Enjoy.


I’d like to see this map redone with the map weighted by population, like they do around election time. I also wouldn’t mind seeing this for other sports, like baseball and basketball and curling. Finally, I would be remiss not to mention two things:

1) Sean, Corey, and I all share the same alma mater.
2) Go Ravens.

*I sincerely hope that they are good, given all of the embarrassing pictures they have of young graph enthusiasts.

Monopoly Properties on an Actual Map

Monopoly’s a great game, isn’t it?  Did you know that the properties in the US version of the game are named after actual streets in Atlantic City, NJ?

We had a thought: What would it look like if you drew lines on the ACTUAL streets on Atlantic City?  Well, here you go:

We made this using the ‘Custom Maps’ feature of Google Maps, and the embedded map is below:

View Monopoly Streets in a larger map

Some interesting notes:

  • Click on a road to see the road name.
  • The sub-groups of properties are all physically close with one another.
  • St. Charles Place no longer exists and is now a parking lot.
  • Illinois Avenue was renamed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
  • The yellow properties of Ventnor Avenue and Marvin Gardens are actually just south of Atlantic City in Ventnor, NJ.  Scroll southwest on the map to see them.
  • Marvin Gardens is actually a set of homes set within a rectangle of streets, and is actually called “Marven Gardens”.  The name was a typo in the original version of the game, and has remained that way in subsequent versions of the game.
  • I made Mediterranean and Baltic a dark purple, which was how it was on my copy of the game. The color was changed to brown in later versions of the game.

Population vs. Per Capita

Sometimes at work we get requests to visualize data on maps.  It’s a really cool feature, but the challenge is generally the calculation being used to drive the chart is a straight sum, and states like California, New York, and Texas always seem to have the highest values.

XKCD had a great comic the other day that I 100% agree with: the problem with geographic heat maps is that it’s essentially just a population map.

How clever of you to see if there would be alt-text.


This is why anytime you’re putting together a heat map, it’s best to normalize the data as best as you can with a per-capita calculation.

Compare the following two calculations:

  • Summation -> Sum(Measure)
  • Per Capita -> Sum(Measure)/Sum(Number of People in that Grouping)

This very simple switch allows you to make a much more effective comparison of large states like California to small states like Rhode Island.

USA Today offers a graph every morning in the bottom-left corner of the front page.

Take a look at this first one:

Why am I not surprised by these results?  It’s essentially a “top 5 population” map.  The only thing that seems off is that Arizona and Georgia are showing up here, but I’m bringing outside knowledge that the population is not very high there, so I can assume that it must be an outlier.

However a few weeks later I picked up the paper and pleasantly surprised to see this map:

Much better!  Now that they’ve switched to a percentage-focused view, I get a much better sense that in these states the proportions are indeed larger when compared to other states.

Map visualizations can be very powerful, but a little simple division can help you get a greater wealth of information from the same pixel space!

Maps of the 2012 Presidential Election

During the course of the 2012 U.S. presidential election you’ve no doubt seen lots of maps of the United States.

The maps that most people saw on election night (and in the weeks running up to it) had a very simple binary look: Blue for Obama, and Red for Romney.  Usually, they just have one color per state because that’s what matters in the Electoral College.


However, it’s interesting to split that data out into counties as well.

This map (found on Gawker) takes it three steps beyond just the standard red/blue state map.  The second map shows counties with a binary red/blue scheme.  The third map shows each individual county on a red to purple to blue scale.  The final map changes the transparency of any given county based on the population of that county; the brighter the county the more people that live there.


I think this gives a great visualization because it gives a truer perspective of where the votes fell in this election.

Another way to show this data is through a cartogram.  Since the presidential election is decided by electoral votes, it makes sense to scale the US appropriately.  This cartogram mashes up the two concepts nicely; the shape still resembles the United States, but gives you a more accurate representation in each state’s contribution to the electoral vote total.


A great deal has been made this year about election spending.  This video courtesy of NPR gives fascinating insight as to where the money in this election was being spent, represented in maps.


What other interesting maps did you find in this past election?

Geotagging Visualization of Philadelphia

Geospatial visualization is a fascinating field and we plan on covering it more here on GraphGraph.  In my other moonlighting gig, I write for Geekadelphia, my first post was on Geotagging Philadelphia, based on the “Locals and Tourists” project that Eric Fischer put together.

I’m linking to it because I think Eric’s project is a fantastic example of real insight from mashing data with maps.  I analyzed Philadelphia because it’s my home, so I encourage you to look at your city and see what information you can learn about where you live.