Two black and white pilots were made, in 1968 and in 1969 with Allen Ludden as host. "The Joker's Wild" debuted at 10:00 (EST), Monday morning, September 4, 1972 on CBS Television - the same Labor Day which saw the dawning of Las Vegas Gambit (1972) and The Price Is Right (1972).
Originally, the bonus round featured prizes on the wheels. The contestant got a spin, and each window showed a different prize. The player could take the prizes, or make one more spin (they couldn't keep some prizes and spin others; it was all or nothing). Some of the prizes had circles around them; if all three windows showed circles, the player won a car. Very soon after it started, the circles were removed; instead; a car (or boat) was added to one of the wheels as a prize. Later, the wheels showed "Jokers and Devils", and soon after, dollar amounts and devils, which is how it stayed for the remainder of its CBS run and its syndicated run.
"The Joker's Wild" concluded its run on CBS Daytime June 13, 1975. A year later, in the fall of 1976, repeats of the CBS Daytime "Joker's Wild" resurfaced on Los Angeles station KHJ, which paved the way for the new syndicated version of "Joker's Wild," which debuted a full year later in September 1977. A children's version, "Joker! Joker! Joker!" aired over local stations from September 1979 to September 1981.
Jack Barry planned to retire from the show in September 1984, and wanted to give the hosting job to Jim Peck (who occasionally served as the show's substitute host). However, after Jack Barry's sudden death in May 1984, series producer Dan Enright rejected Peck in favor of Bill Cullen.
Game Show Network recently discovered the lost episodes of the first two years of Joker and had them shipped from New York City to Los Angeles over the summer of 2000. They are currently running on GSN.