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The TV Wheel

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TV Wheel invention xbox

The X-Box (later renamed TV Wheel) under construction. The single stationary camera is mounted in the center of the platform

The TV Wheel was an experimental television project issued and aired in 1995. It was written by and co-starred Joel Hodgson.

The TV Wheel was a television experiment ordered by cable network HBO as a pilot, but the network ultimately passed on picking up the show. The pilot episode eventually aired once on Comedy Central as a special presentation following the last new episode of MST3K to be broadcast on that network.

The program was a sketch comedy show. A single stationary camera was mounted inside the center of a large rotating platform. As the platform rotated around the camera, a scene would come into view of the camera. The wheel would stop and a sketch would play out in the scene, which was often framed by some piece of appropriate artwork or prop (for the purposes of forced perspective). At the end of the scene, the wheel would rotate, carrying one scene out of the camera's view and bringing another in, and a new sketch would begin in the new scene. Some scenes were self-contained on the platform, while others were open to the studio beyond the platform (and additional action would take place in the background). In early designs, the project was known as the "X-Box" (unrelated to Microsoft's later gaming system), and was designed as an X-shaped enclosure that would rotate around the camera.

Hodgson made an early test version of the program, called "The X-Box is Turning", which featured different content than "The TV Wheel" and was less polished than "Wheel". The test program, along with a brief documentary on the making of the X-Box, was offered for sale on VHS during Comedy Central's only broadcast of "The TV Wheel".

A number of comedians and writers appeared on both "The TV Wheel" and "The X-Box is Turning", including Dave (Gruber) Allen, Morwenna Banks, Steve Bannos, David Cross, Paul Feig, Doug Benson, Melissa Samuels and Fred Stoller. In addition, Brian Posehn appeared in "X-Box" and Andy Kindler appeared in "TV Wheel".

The program has not been released on home video, but some clips are available to view on YouTube.

MST3K 706 Promo-100:33

MST3K 706 Promo-1

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