Some Fans Are Mad, But Why It Makes Sense Wheel Of Fortune Didn’t Address Pat Sajak’s Anniversary Milestone

Pat Sajak hosts Wheel of Fortune.
(Image credit: CBS)

Pat Sajak just celebrated a pretty impressive anniversary. December 28, 2021 marked the 40th anniversary of Sajak’s first day hosting Wheel of Fortune. Fans, however, noticed something missing from the milestone episode, and that was any mention of the anniversary at all. There’s actually a very reasonable explanation for the lack of celebration during the episode, but that didn’t keep viewers of the iconic game show from getting a little upset.

Four decades in a job is definitely an accomplishment worth celebrating — particularly an on-screen job where your performance is scrutinized daily by a viewing audience. What reason could there possibly be to not make mention of Pat Sajak’s 40 years on the job? 

Well, episodes of Wheel of Fortune are filmed months in advance, and multiple episodes are filmed in one day. Producers likely didn’t know the exact air date of each episode while they were filming, making it difficult if not impossible to know where to add a tribute. Then again, something could have been filmed and then simply held to air on the anniversary. Whatever the reason, Wheel of Fortune viewers did not appreciate the omission, and the passionately loyal fanbase came to the host’s defense on Twitter.

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Even if the producers didn’t know the exact air date of the episode that was being filmed, they probably could have had something prepared to mark the occasion. Perhaps a tribute to the longtime host could have been put together outside of the actual game play to air on the appropriate date. Regardless of what the show did (or, rather, didn’t do), fans spoke out to say they would have appreciated some acknowledgment. 

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With Pat Sajak addressing the anniversary on his own account (did he have to bake his own birthday cake too?), some Twitter users had their eye on the official Wheel of Fortune account, wondering if they would mark the date. It doesn’t appear they ever did.

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Even if Wheel of Fortune hasn’t publicly acknowledged Pat Sajak’s contributions to the show’s longevity, it should go without saying. The 75-year-old host and Vanna White have been synonymous with the iconic game show for as long as some of us have been alive. A member of the host's family did give a nod to the milestone, as Maggie Sajak, Pat’s daughter and Wheel of Fortune’s social correspondent, shared a sweet message to mark her dad’s big day, as well as a cool throwback photo of the host. Take a look:

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Forty years down, and how many to go? Pat Sajak has said he and Vanna White are closer to the end of their careers than the beginning, but after 40 years that’s not really saying much. Maybe Wheel of Fortune will have the opportunity to make up for this snafu when Sajak celebrates his 50th year on the show. Now, that would be a feat that's hard to ignore! 

Check your local listings to find out when you can catch Pat Sajak and Vanna White in action on Wheel of Fortune, and be sure to take a look at our 2022 TV Schedule to see what else is coming up in the near future.

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.