Why Is Pat Sajak Retiring From ‘Wheel of Fortune’?
It's the end of an era: Pat Sajak is officially stepping down as the host of Wheel of Fortune.
The 76-year-old TV legend announced his retirement via Twitter Monday (June 12.)
"Well, the time has come. I’ve decided that our 41st season, which begins in September, will be my last," Sajak tweeted.
"It’s been a wonderful ride, and I’ll have more to say in the coming months. Many thanks to you all," he continued, joking that "if nothing else, it’ll keep the clickbait sites busy!"
Suzanne Prete, executive vice president of game shows at Sony Pictures Television, recently reflected on Sajak's career.
"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," Prete wrote in an op-ed for Variety.
Though Sajak won't be the face of Wheel of Fortune after this season, Prete said he "has agreed to continue as a consultant on the show for three years following his last year hosting."
Sajak began hosting the classic game show in 1981. Prior to that, Wheel of Fortune was hosted by Chuck Woolery.
Why Is Pat Sajak Retiring From Wheel of Fortune?
Over the years, Pat Sajak has gone back-and-forth with regard to his retirement from Wheel of Fortune.
"It appears I may go before the show. Years go by fast. We’re getting near the end. It’s been a long [time]," Sajak told Entertainment Tonight in 2022, hinting at his impending retirement from the long-running TV game show.
"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," he continued.
While Sajak did not reveal the exact reason for his retirement in his announcement tweet, the beloved host did have a health scare in recent years that might have impacted his decision.
In November 2019, Sajak underwent emergency surgery to remove a blockage in his intestine following unusual abdominal pain and a sudden decline in his blood pressure.
Sajak told Good Morning America that if doctors hadn't operated on him immediately, he could have died.
He returned to work on Dec. 5, 2019.
Is Vanna White Going to Retire Too?
It's unclear if Vanna White is also ready to retire from her role as co-host of Wheel of Fortune, which she joined in 1982.
Reflecting on her 40 years with the show in 2022, she told People that she didn't "even want to think about" her or Sajak retiring.
"I mean, we're a team. That's depressing ... I just visualize us just being there. I can't think beyond that," she said, adding that she had "no idea" if the game show will continue without them.
"I can't imagine. Everybody relates Wheel of Fortune to Pat and Vanna. We're like Ken and Barbie, you know? We've been in everybody's homes for 40 years, so it would be weird having somebody else turn my letters," White continued.
Following Sajak's exit, it's entirely possible White will host the game show solo, or perhaps co-host alongside a new host or guest hosts.