'Wheel of Fortune' Announcer Jim Thornton Has Been With the Show Since 2011 — What's His Salary?

Not only does Jim act as the announcer, but he also warms up the audience and does a Q&A with them before taping.

Jamie Lerner - Author

Apr. 29 2024, Published 3:34 p.m. ET

Vanna White, Jim Thornton, and Pat Sajak pose with Wheel of Fortune
Source: Sony Pictures

Vanna White, Jim Thornton, and Pat Sajak

Many of us enjoy a nightly routine that includes our favorite game shows. From Wheel of Fortune to Jeopardy!, some of life’s simplest moments are also some of the best. Wheel of Fortune has been running consistently since 1975 and while the host is one of the show’s most significant presences, the announcer is another crowd-favorite constant.

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Wheel of Fortune’s original announcer, Charlie O’Donnell, passed away in November 2010. Jim Thornton took over in 2011, and has already made his own mark on the show. But what is Jim’s salary?

Jim Thornton and fan Sarah during 2023 episode of 'Wheel of Fortune'
Source: Sony Pictures
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What is ‘Wheel of Fortune’ announcer Jim Thornton's salary?

While Jim has not shared his salary as the Wheel of Fortune announcer, we can do some fun guesswork to figure out how much he likely makes. Based on other announcer salaries from the past and present, as well as the Wheel of Fortune salaries that are public, our best assumption is that Jim makes about $1 million per season.

One of the most comparable public figures to Jim is Johnny Gilbert, the longtime announcer of Jeopardy! He was even a substitute Wheel of Fortune announcer when Charlie needed time off, in addition to after Charlie’s death when producers were searching for a more long-term solution. Johnny reportedly makes $2 million per Jeopardy! season, which makes sense considering his tenure and name recognition.

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Jim, however, has been with Wheel of Fortune for 13 seasons, and while he’s a well-known game show announcer, he’s nowhere near as famous or tenured as Johnny. On the other hand, Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak reportedly made $15 million per season, while Vanna White reportedly now makes at least $3 million. Considering Pat's former salary, we expect that Jim would make a high amount, but would not surpass Vanna. With his regular on-screen appearances, we’re sure he’d have to make at least $1 million per season.

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Jim Thornton has been the ‘Wheel of Fortune’ announcer since 2011.

It’s funny to think that the voice that introduces us to Wheel of Fortune is attached to a real human who’s actually in the studio. It has such a classic “announcer” voice that it’s easy to forget that the man behind it is also a talented comedic presence. Not only does Jim act as the announcer, but he also warms up the audience and does a Q&A with them before taping, a common studio practice to save money on paying a separate performer.

Jim is also the afternoon anchor on all-news radio KNX 1070 in Los Angeles in addition to his Wheel of Fortune responsibilities, although he’s scaled back quite a bit. But his classic “announcer” voice can be heard all over the place, from The Cleveland Show to Monsters, Inc. And some fans love Jim’s work so much that they’d even prefer he takes over hosting Wheel of Fortune. He did do a pretty good job in 2023!

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