Pat Sajak took over hosting Wheel of Fortune 41 years ago.
Now he has decided his 41st year will be his last.
Hoping to keep the iconic game show going, Wheel of Fortune producers announced a new host but were blindsided by the reaction to it.
Time marches on for all of us, and that’s even true for TV personalities.
The biggest name in the game
And over the last 40+ years, perhaps no TV personality has loomed as large as Pat Sajak.
His long reign as host of one of Television’s most popular shows ever made Sajak a household name.
And he proved you can be an outspoken conservative in Hollywood and still keep your career going strong.
But now, after 41 years, Sajak has announced his retirement.
Before he had even finished with his announcement, Americans started wondering who the next host would be.
Some even wondered if the show could even go on without Sajak.
Others predicted long-time sidekick Vanna White would take over.
And then, after just two days, the show’s producers announced who they had chosen as the “Wheel’s” next host.
And reviews were markedly mixed on their selection.
It’s official, here is the new host
On June 12, Sajak made his announcement, “It’s been a wonderful ride, and I’ll have more to say in the coming months,” he said in a statement. “Many thanks to you all. (If nothing else, it’ll keep the clickbait sites busy!)”
Fans immediately began speculating, and many assumed long-time sidekick Vanna White would simply move up to become the host since she did so well filling in for Sajak and because Sajak’s daughter, Maggie, took over Vanna’s post as letter-turner.
But then, just two days after Sajak’s retirement announcement, TMZ confirmed Ryan Seacrest was in early talks to be his replacement.
Other names reportedly on the short list included Mario Lopez.
Just a short time later though, the show announced Seacrest will be taking over hosting duties beginning in 2024.
The fans’ hopes of a Vanna White ascendancy were dashed by the announcement of new host Ryan Seacrest.
Seacrest, of course, has a lot of hosting experience.
He has hosted his own radio show for decades, is the longtime host of American Idol, now hosts Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve, and co-hosted Live! with Kelly and Ryan for several years.
Also, not known to most “Wheel” fans, Seacrest actually worked for Wheel of Fortune creator, Merv Griffin.
In a statement on social media, Seacrest wrote, “I’m truly humble to be stepping into the footsteps of the legendary Pat Sajak. I can say, along with the rest of America, that it’s been a privilege and pure joy to watch Pat and Vanna on our television screens for an unprecedented 40 years, making us smile every night and feel right at home with them. I look forward to learning everything I can from you during this transition.”
He continued, “Many people probably don’t know this but one of my first jobs was hosting a little game show called ‘Click’ for Merv Griffin 25 years ago so this is truly a full circle moment for me and I’m grateful to Sony for the opportunity.”
Now “Wheel” fans want to know what is to become of Vanna.
The fact that she has hired powerful entertainment attorney Bryan Freedman is not a good sign for “Wheel” fans and producers alike.