The official word: After an extensive search following the passing of legendary voice Charlie O’Donnell, Wheel of Fortune has selected Jim Thornton to succeed him as the show’s announcer. The announcement was made today by the show’s Executive Producer Harry Friedman.
“We are delighted to welcome Jim Thornton into the Wheel of Fortune family,” said Friedman. “Jim’s rich, friendly voice and engaging personality are a great fit for our show and its tradition.”
“This has been a lifelong dream, and to be able to follow in the footsteps of a legend like Charlie O’Donnell is truly humbling,” said Thornton. “Being selected as announcer for Wheel of Fortune is a huge honor. Now I just have to make sure I don’t call out the answers to the puzzles when my mic is open!”
Fans have already heard Thornton’s voice as one of the guest announcers during Season 28, and he will take on the position full-time when Wheel of Fortune begins broadcasting its 29th Season on September 19.
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One of the most popular and distinctive voices in Southern California, Thornton has been a part of KNX 1070 Newsradio since 1985 when he provided traffic reports with the syndicated traffic service, “Metro Traffic.” He then became a fulltime traffic reporter during morning drive for both KNX and CBS2 News, before taking on his current role as host of the afternoon drive newscast in January 2005."
In his hometown of Huntington, West Virginia, Thornton began his broadcast career in 1983 at WOWK/TV while attending Marshall University. A year later, he moved to California and by 1989, he had his own morning show on Magic 94.3FM in the San Fernando Valley. Then, in 1992, Thornton became a “Hot Country” disc jockey for Westwood One Radio Networks, hosting live music from coast to coast. From 1995 to 1999, he was the voice of Channel 13, KCOP-TV in Los Angeles.
Over the course of his career, Thornton has received numerous broadcasting awards including the Edward R. Murrow award, Golden Mike awards and an Emmy. He also lent his voice to the 2011 Oscar Nominated Short Animated Film, Let’s Pollute.
Wheel of Fortune viewers may also recognize Thornton’s voice from his diverse body of voiceover work including: Disney’s Monsters Inc. movie, ride and Disney on Ice show; television shows: Celebrity Death Match, The Soup, The Cleveland Show, Rugrats and The Drew Carey Show; National TV and radio campaigns for: Old Spice, Domino’s Pizza, Vitamin Water 10, Bacardi, Kraft, Budweiser, Coke NASCAR, Kellogg’s Cereal and Starbucks Coffee; video games: Boom Blox 2, Wall-E, Finding Nemo, Cars and Mafia II.
Thornton lives in Los Angeles with his wife Sue and their son, Sam. He actively supports JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) since his son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2009.