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Sounds Like Wheel Of Fortune's Pat Sajak Is Getting Mentally Prepared To Leave The Show

Pat Sajak on Wheel of Fortune
(Image credit: Wheel of Fortune)

With Wheel of Fortune having debuted its 40th season, evening TV became that much more familiarly cozy, and it’ll only get cozier when Celebrity Wheel of Fortune’s newest season hits ABC. But while the game show sits astride Jeopardy!, 60 Minutes and a select few others as television’s most dependable staples, its frontman Pat Sajak is as aware of anyone that time halts for no one, having celebrated his 40th show anniversary this year. In regards to how long he’ll continue his superlative hosting streak, though, Sajak seemed to tiptoe around the idea that his metaphorical final spin may indeed be on the horizon. 

Speaking with Entertainment Tonight ahead of the third season premiere of Wheel of Fortune’s celebrity-infused spinoff, Sajak addressed the show’s longevity first with a joking tone, saying:

In most television shows by this time, you would have said, 'That’s probably enough,' but this show will not die. It appears I may go before the show.

The end of that answer comes across as amusingly morbid, but it’s not illogical in the slightest. While Sajak may currently be the face of Wheel of Fortune, the show has remained so popular for so long that it could very well outlast all non-biodegradable substances. When you consider everything that Jeopardy! went through in the aftermath of Alex Trebek’s death, from the Mike Richards debacle to the decision to have Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik co-host, Wheel of Fortune’s survival seems as inevitable as contestants making completely moronic guesses.

In any case, he followed that up with a more sobering take on what the future may hold, saying:

Years go by fast. We're getting near the end. It's been a long [time]. We're not gonna do this for another 40 years. The end is near. It's an honor to have been in people's living rooms for that long. People were out there welcoming us. We're happy and proud.

How weird would it be if he started wearing a big sandwich board over his suits, with “The End Is Near” scrawled across both sides of it? (Also, is this a good time to start back up on my fan-fiction where Pat Sajak is this reality’s version of Watchmen’s Rorschach?) Though he speaks in no certain terms with that response, it sounds like he’s leaning more and more into the idea of hanging it up. 

He’ll be turning 76 in October, so it’s not an illogical concept. The Emmy-winner addressed the subject of retiring around Season 39’s premiere, and while the general tone of “we won’t be doing this forever” was similar to his latest take, things didn’t sound so immediate then. 

But fans thankfully don’t have to worry about him calling it quits in the middle of the flagship series’ current season. And it does sound like one of Hollywood’s most iconic actresses could convince Pat Sajak to stick it out for a few more years if she promised to pop by Celebrity Wheel of Fortune. Here’s who he revealed to be his ideal guest for the spinoff: 

I'm still pulling for Meryl Streep 'cause I wanna see her say, 'Come on, big money!' That's all I want, but she won't come on because she found out you can't win an Oscar for this.

I’m sure more fans would rather see the new puzzleboard go away over Sajak, but that’s probably not a fair comparison, at least until the host goes full cyborg.

For at least the foreseeable future, Pat Sajak and Vanna White will still be living large on Wheel of Fortune every weeknight in syndication, with Celebrity WoF kicking off on Sunday, September 25, with Snoop Dogg, Amanda Seales and Mark Duplass as the first three contestants. Head to our 2022 TV premiere schedule to see what else is cropping up on the small screen soon. 

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.