Pat Sajak Calls Time on WHEEL OF FORTUNE ‘Awfully Gratifying’

Photo from Pat Sajack’s Instagram

Pat Sajak Calls Time on WHEEL OF FORTUNE ‘Awfully Gratifying’

By Movieguide® Contributor

Legendary WHEEL OF FORTUNE host Pat Sajak is finishing his last week of episodes before he enters his retirement.

In an interview with GOOD MORNING AMERICA, he discussed his thoughts on his departure from the show.

“Surprisingly okay,” he said when asked how he felt about leaving the show. “You know, this was announced a long time ago, almost a year ago, so I’ve had time to sort of get used to it. But I’m enjoying taking it all in and reflecting on a great run. I do know that somewhere along the line, we became more than a popular show, we became part of the popular culture, and more importantly, we became part of people’s lives. And that’s been awfully gratifying.”

When his daughter asked him what made him decide this was the right time to leave, he responded, “I’ve always said this to you, you’ve heard me say this dozens of times, I’d rather leave a couple of years too early than a couple of years too late.”

Sajak explained how he could do the show for longer, but there are other life goals that he wants to pursue.

“Could I still do it? Yeah, I think I could for a while. There’s also some other things in life that we’d like to do, and I’m enjoying this last year. It’s been a great 40 years, and I’m looking forward to whatever’s ahead.”

“This show means the world to us,” his daughter Maggie said. “It’s been such a gift. You’ve made what could have just been Hangman into a cultural phenomenon. So, thank you for these amazing 40-plus years.”

Sajak’s final episode will air on June 7, wrapping up Season 41.

Ryan Secrest is set to replace Sajak as host.

“No one can replace him,” he said. “I just want to come in and continue to have fun with those contestants.”

Movieguide® previously reported on Sajak’s retirement:

Longtime WHEEL OF FORTUNE host Pat Sajak announced that he is retiring from the show at the end of the next season. 

“Well, the time has come. 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,” Sajak said via Twitter. 

Sajak took over the show in 1981 from Chuck Woolery who had hosted for the show’s first 6 years. In the 40 years since he took over, WHEEL OF FORTUNE has become a television mainstay and one of the longest continually running televised gameshows.

“As the host of WHEEL OF FORTUNE, Pat has entertained millions of viewers across America for 40 amazing years,” executive vice-president of gameshows for Sony Pictures Television, Suzanne Prete, said. “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.” 

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