Pat Sajak Announces He’s Retiring After His 41st Season of ‘Wheel of Fortune’

June 13, 2023
Pat Sajak Announces He's Retiring After His 41st Season of 'Wheel of Fortune'

“Well, the time has come,” Vietnam veteran and “Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak wrote on Twitter. “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. (If nothing else, it’ll keep the clickbait sites busy!)”

After more than 40 years, Sajak will say goodbye to being the face of the syndicated evening game show. He’ll stay on as a consultant for the show for three years while presumably helping “Wheel of Fortune” find its next host. There are currently no names in the hat for his replacement, and no timeline to replace him, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

He began his broadcasting career as a graveyard shift news reader at Chicago’s WEDC radio station. As Spc. 5th Class Pat Sajak, he joined the Army as a clerk and typist. In October 1968, he was transferred to ​the studios of the American Forces Vietnam Network (AFVN) in Saigon, finally using his skills as a disc jockey.

Sajak hosted the “Dawn Buster” radio show made famous by Adrian Cronauer, later immortalized in the movie, “Good Morning Vietnam.” He left Vietnam in 1969.

Famed “Wheel of Fortune” game show host Pat Sajak served in the Army in Vietnam as a DJ for the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service. (U.S. Army)

In the early 1970s, Sajak’s military service was over and he became a DJ in Kentucky. He soon moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where he was a DJ but also began hosting short newscasts on WSM television, an NBC affiliate.

By 1977, he was in Los Angeles, reporting the weather for KNBC. In 1981, television producer Merv Griffin asked him to take over hosting “Wheel of Fortune” from Chuck Woolery.

Griffin was at odds with another television legend, Fred Silverman, over Sajak. Griffin put the filming of the show on hold until Silverman accepted Sajak, which Silverman never did. Instead, he was fired from NBC. Silverman’s replacement, Brandon Tartikoff, accepted Sajak as the host of “Wheel of Fortune.” Letter-turner and co-host Vanna White joined the show in 1982.

Sajak, now 76 years old, has hosted the show since 1983 and even hosted a daytime television version of the show between 1981 and 1989. Over the course of his career, he hosted a late night talk show for one season on CBS, stood in for Larry King on “Larry King Live” and served as a substitute host for Regis Philbin on “Live with Regis and Kelly.”

During his 36th season of “Wheel of Fortune” in 2019, Sajak dethroned “The Price Is Right” host Bob Barker to become the longest-running television game show host ever. He and White currently co-host “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune” on ABC. “Wheel of Fortune” fans have already begun a campaign to elevate White, 66, to Sajak’s spot.

Some are already speculating who might become the letter turner if White steps up to the wheel. Despite the fact that technology has advanced far enough that the show no longer actually needs a letter turner, fans believe Sajak’s daughter, Maggie, might solve the puzzle.

On top of being the show’s social correspondent, Maggie Sajak stands in for White as letter-turner, when need be.

“When we started @WheelofFortune who could have imagined we’d still be at it 41 seasons later? I couldn’t be happier to have shared the stage with you for all these years with one more to come. Cheers to you, @patsajak!” White tweeted in response to Sajak’s retirement announcement.

— Blake Stilwell can be reached at He can also be found on Twitter @blakestilwell or on LinkedIn.

Keep Up With the Best in Military Entertainment

Whether you’re looking for news and entertainment, thinking of joining the military or keeping up with military life and benefits, has you covered. Subscribe to the newsletter to have military news, updates and resources delivered straight to your inbox.

Show Full Article

Please rate this CIBA article

0 / 5 Number Of Votes: 0


Latest News Articles