Woolery performed as Mr. Dingle on the children's television series New Zoo Revue in the early 1970s. During that time, he made his first game show appearance on an episode of Tattletales in 1974, alongside then-wife Jo Ann Pflug. Starting as a singer, Woolery appeared on an episode of Your Hit Parade. On January 6, 1975, he began hosting Wheel of Fortune at the suggestion of creator Merv Griffin, who had seen Woolery sing on The Tonight Show. Woolery hosted the show for six years. In 1981, he was involved in a salary dispute with the program's producers; he said in a 2007 interview that he demanded a raise from $65,000 a year to about $500,000 a year because the program was drawing a 44 share at the time, and other hosts were making that much. Griffin offered Woolery $400,000 a year, and NBC offered to pay the additional $100,000, but after Griffin threatened to move the program to CBS, NBC withdrew the offer. Woolery's contract was not renewed and his final episode aired on December 25, 1981. Pat Sajak replaced him.