Pat Sajak, the iconic host of Wheel of Fortune, has announced that he will retire from the game show after its 41st season, which begins in September 2023. The 76-year-old host has been spinning the wheel and solving puzzles with contestants since 1981, making him one of the longest-running hosts in television history.
Sajak broke the news on Twitter on Monday, writing: “Well, the time has come. I’ve decided that our 41st season, which begins in September, will be my last. It’s been a wonderful ride, and I’ll have more to say in the coming months. Many thanks to you all.”
Sajak’s decision to leave the show comes after he signed a contract extension until 2024, along with his co-host Vanna White, who joined the show in 1982. However, Sajak hinted that he may be considering leaving earlier than expected in an interview with New York Post in September 2022.
“I’m not getting any younger. A couple of years. You know what I’m really sensitive about? I’d rather leave a couple years too early than a couple years too late,” he said.
He also suggested that White may be eyeing an exit as well. “There’s a pretty good chance that when one of us leaves, we’ll both leave, because it would be odd for either of us to work with somebody else,” he said.
Sajak’s retirement announcement was met with praise and gratitude from fans and colleagues alike. Suzanne Prete, the executive vice president of game shows for Sony Pictures Television, which produces Wheel of Fortune, said in a statement: “As the host of Wheel of Fortune, Pat has entertained millions of viewers across America for 40 amazing years. We are incredibly grateful and proud to have had Pat as our host for all these years and we look forward to celebrating his outstanding career throughout the upcoming season.”
Wheel of Fortune is one of the most successful game shows in history, featuring contestants guessing letters to try to fill out words and phrases to win money and prizes. The show has been syndicated since 1983 and has aired over 7,000 episodes. The show has also been renewed for new episodes through the 2027-2028 season.
Sajak will continue to serve as a consultant on the show for three years after his retirement as host. He also hosts Celebrity Wheel of Fortune, a spin-off series that features celebrities playing for charity.
Sajak has won three Emmy Awards and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his hosting career. He is also known for his witty and sometimes controversial banter with contestants and White.
“I always say that I want to leave while the show is still popular and before people tune in and say, ‘Ooh, what happened to him?’ ” he said.
Sajak’s final season of Wheel of Fortune will begin airing in September 2023. Fans can expect a lot of surprises and tributes as he takes his final spin on the wheel.
Pat Sajak to retire as ‘Wheel of Fortune’ host after 40 years, USA TODAY, June 12, 2023
Pat Sajak reveals ‘Wheel of Fortune’ retirement: ‘The end is near’, New York Post, September 16, 2022
Pat Sajak leaving ‘Wheel of Fortune’ after hosting the game show for over 40 years, USA TODAY, June 13, 2023
Pat Sajak announces ‘Wheel of Fortune’ retirement, says upcoming season will be his last as host, Boston.com, June 13, 2023