Pat Sajak will bid farewell to ‘Wheel of Fortune’ this week. He’s ‘surprisingly OK’ with it

Pat Sajak on the 'Wheel of Fortune' set in a black suit and striped tie smiling, holding cards and looking to the side
Longtime “Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak says he has “had some time to sort of get used to” leaving the game show after announcing his retirement last year.
(Christopher Willard / ABC via Getty Images)
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Pat Sajak isn’t too torn up over leaving “Wheel of Fortune” after hosting the game show for more than 40 years. Days before his final episode airs, Sajak said, “I’m surprisingly OK.

“This was announced a long time ago, almost a year ago. So I’ve had time to sort of get used to it,” the longtime TV personality, 77, told his daughter Maggie Sajak in a recent interview.

The father-daughter duo reflected on Pat Sajak’s “great” tenure and his impending “Wheel of Fortune” finale in a conversation published Monday by “Good Morning America.” “Wistful” about his career, he will host his final “Wheel” episode Friday, when the game show concludes its 41st season.


Looks like Ryan Seacrest will take a spin on ‘Wheel of Fortune’ as its new host. He announced the news Tuesday on Instagram.

June 28, 2023

Sajak announced his retirement last June, writing on X (formerly Twitter) that the current season would be his last. He began his “Wheel of Fortune” tenure in 1981, succeeding original host Chuck Woolery.

“It’s been a wonderful ride, and I’ll have more to say in the coming months. Many thanks to you all,” Sajak said in his June 2023 missive.

During his tenure, Sajak entertained generations of fans, inspired “Saturday Night Live” and “South Park” jokes and generated numerous headlines about his behavior with contestants. He told his daughter, “We became part of the popular culture ... more importantly became part of people’s lives.”

Less than a month after Sajak revealed his retirement, Ryan Seacrest announced that he will step into the emcee’s shoes. At the time, Seacrest lauded his predecessor for the way he “always celebrated the contestants and made viewers feel at home.”

With a successor already in place and co-host and letter turner Vanna White set to stay on “Wheel of Fortune” for the next two years, Sajak said he’s looking forward to time to “with my crossword puzzles” and family. He could continue hosting the show if he wanted but told his daughter he wanted to exit the series on his own terms.

‘Wheel of Fortune’ host Pat Sajak announced his four-decade run hosting the American game show is coming to a close in 2024.

June 12, 2023

“I’d rather leave a couple years too early than a couple years too late,” he said, adding, “I’m looking forward to whatever’s ahead.”


Maggie Sajak, the “Wheel of Fortune” social correspondent, concluded their conversation by telling her father that “Wheel of Fortune” has been a “gift.” She also praised his lasting TV legacy.

“You have made what could’ve just been Hangman into a cultural phenomenon,” she said. “Thank you for these amazing 40-plus years.”

The “Wheel of Fortune” Season 41 finale, titled “Thanks for the Memories,” airs Friday at 7:30 p.m. on KABC-7.