Inheritance (2024): Is Wheel of Truth Based on a Real Game Show?

Image Credit: Przemo Paczkowski/Netflix

The Polish mystery thriller ‘Inheritance‘ depicts a game show called ‘Wheel of Truth’ hosted by eccentric billionaire Wladyslaw Fortuna, where contestants can answer questions to win a prize of a billion zloty. As the narrative progresses, the game show’s relevance within the plot increases as Wladyslaw’s past is brought to the fore following his murder at the hands of one of his family guests. The vibrant and colorful program is meant to be a staple of the inventor genius’s backlog of achievements, having hosted it for a significant period until its eventual cancellation due to an unfortunate event. Regardless, its vital role in explaining the story’s central mystery surrounding the host’s death makes it an intriguing concept whose roots are worth exploring to determine its reality.

The Fictional Wheel of Truth is Inspired by a Real Game Show

The ‘Wheel of Truth’ game show in ‘Inheritance’ is fictional. Crafted by scriptwriter Lukasz Sychowicz, its elaborate and whimsical premise promises the contestant a chance to win substantial monetary rewards after beating several rounds of games featuring a giant roulette wheel. Wladyslaw, the program host, is in charge of spinning the roulette wheel and asking the contestants to proceed according to instructions. The ultimate victory on offer is the chance to take home colossal prize winnings that could be life-changing because of their staggering amount. However, with the narrative’s focus on wealth, riches, and its propensity to divide, the game show’s prize money turns out to be both a boon and a curse.

While ‘Wheel of Truth’ may not be real, a game show of similar ilk may be found in the ‘Wheel of Fortune.’ Released in 1975, the Merv Griffin-created program features word puzzles that participants must beat to win prizes. A giant spinning wheel, like the one used by Wladyslaw, is prominently part of the format of ‘Wheel of Fortune.’ The show has not been canceled like the fictional counterpart in the film, differentiating both, albeit the reasons are dramatized in its elevated setting. Also, unlike the ‘Wheel of Fortune,’ Wladyslaw’s program is more of a quiz show. During the creation process, Griffin believed the wheel would add a hook to the game show’s premise, which is mirrored in Wladyslaw’s program.

In ‘Inheritance,’ Wladyslaw is forced to cancel the game show after a mishap with one of the contestants leads to her suicide. With prize money of a billion zloty on offer, an older lady, Katarzyna, participated in the game show and reached the final round. During her last question, she needed help with the correct answer. The host attempted to signal it by gesturing towards his green bowtie, a clue to the proper response. However, despite the help provided, Katarzyna managed to fumble her answer and lost out on the reward. Devastated, the woman died by suicide, thereby tarnishing the legacy of the ‘Wheel of Truth’ and compelling Wladyslaw to take it off the air.

Thus, despite its fictional roots, the show’s events have cascading influences on the narrative. It may not be real, but something of close resemblance is found in the ‘Wheel of Fortune,’ which, although a nearby approximation, does not alter the fact that Wladyslaw’s exciting game show ultimately does not exist.

Read more: Netflix’s Inheritance (2024) Ending, Explained: Who Murdered Wladyslaw?