Pat Sajak Leaving ‘Wheel Of Fortune’ After 41 Seasons As Host: ‘It’s Been A Wonderful Ride’

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Image Credit: SplashNews

It’s the end of an era. Pat Sajak is leaving Wheel Of Fortune after the 2023 – 2024 season following an incredible 41 seasons on the hit game show. The legendary host, 76, announced the news on Monday, June 12. “Well, the time has come. I’ve decided that our 41st season, which begins in September, will be my last,” he said in a statement shared on Twitter. “It’s been a wonderful ride, and I’ll have more to say in the coming months. Many thanks to you all. (If nothing else, it’ll keep the clickbait sites busy!)” Pat initially signed on to host through the 2023 to 2024 season in Sep. 2021, per Deadline.

Pat has been a fixture on Wheel since 1981, six years after Chuck Woolery debuted the show with his co-host, Susan Stafford (Pat’s beloved sidekick Vanna White wouldn’t make her debut until 1982). Over his more than 40 years on the show, Pat received 19 Daytime Emmy nominations for Outstanding Game Show Host, winning three times. He officially became the Guinness World Records‘ “longest career as a game show host for the same show” in 2019, following the show’s 36th season. To take that title, Pat surpassed Bob Barker, who hosted The Price Is Right from 1972 to 2007.

Pat Sajak announced his departure from ‘Wheel of Fortune’ on June 12, 2023 (Photo:SplashNews)

The game show favorite admitted that the “end” was “near” for Wheel Of Fortune in Sept. 2022. “In most television shows by this time, you would have said, ‘That’s probably enough,’ but this show will not die,” he told Entertainment Tonight, speaking about the show’s legacy.

“Years go by fast. We’re getting near the end. It’s been a long [time]. We’re not gonna do this for another 40 years. The end is near,” Pat continued. “It’s an honor to have been in people’s living rooms for that long. People were out there welcoming us. We’re happy and proud.”

Pat’s long career in broadcasting began when he was a DJ on the US Army’s station, American Forces Vietnam Network, during the Vietnam War. He worked in radio until he landed a job on NBC’s TODAY show, and then as the weatherman for the channel’s LA affiliate.

Pat Sajak made his debut on the show in 1981 (Photo: Everett Collection)

His big break came in 1981, when none other than Merv Griffin asked Pat if he would be interested in replacing Chuck Woolery as the host of Wheel. NBC head honcho Fred Silverman initially rejected Pat as a potential host, but Merv got his way after the network CEO was canned due to poor ratings.

Before Wheel Of Fortune, Pat hosted the shows Super Password and Password Plus. He appeared as a celebrity guest on the shows Dream House, Just Men!, and Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour, in addition to serving as a frequent guest host for CNN’s Larry King Live and in place of Regis Philbin on Live with Regis and Kelly. He also hosted Pat Sajak Weekend on Fox News in 2003.

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