The TV Wheel was a TV show developed by Mystery Science Theater 3000 creator Joel Hodgson in 1995. Hodgson originally developed it for HBO. Only one episode was ever aired. Hodgson, who loved making up gadgets for his MST3K show, took his love for invention one step further. The whole TV show would be based around one of his gizmos. Behold, The TV Wheel.

The idea was the show would be shot with a single camera in the middle of a round stage. The stage would rotate like a wheel. Each slice of the wheel would have different groups of comedians performing skits. Get it? One camera, no need for those oh-so-complicated takes between two or more cameras. Still don’t get it? Well, some of the skits involved hand puppets. No? Well, don’t worry. No one really did get it.

HBO was not impressed by the show and refused to air it. They passed it on to Comedy Central, which at that time was airing MST3K. Comedy Central sat on it for a year and decided to air the sole episode in conjunction with the final episode of MST3K to air on Comedy Central before it moved to Sci Fi.

By most accounts the skit written (but not acted by) Joel was funny but the rest of the skits were lame. And while comedians on a rotating stage seemed a novel concept to Hodgson, it was pretty old hat for everyone else in the entertainment business, from Shakespearean actors who performed “in the round” to mid-career rock bands who played many a rotating stages at theme parks.

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