“American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest has officially been named as the new host of “Wheel of Fortune” amid news that Pat Sajak was retiring.
The former “American Idol” host will take over Sajak’s hosting duties starting in season 42. In addition to serving as host, the 48-year-old media personality will also serve as a consulting producer on the long-running game show.
Ryan Seacrest Calls Replacing Pat Sajak As ‘Wheel Of Fortune’ Host A ‘Full Circle Moment’
On Monday afternoon, Sony Pictures Television revealed that Ryan Seacrest would be taking over hosting duties for Pat Sajak.
“I’m truly humbled to be stepping into the footsteps of the legendary Pat Sajak,” Seacrest said in a statement on Instagram. “I can say, along with the rest of America, that it’s been a privilege and pure joy to watch Pat and Vanna on our television screens for an unprecedented 40 years, making us smile every night and feel right at home with them. Pat, I love the way you’ve always celebrated the contestants and made viewers at home feel at ease. I look forward to learning everything I can from you during this transition.”
He also revealed why the hosting opportunity was a “full circle moment,” explaining, “Many people probably don’t know this but one of my first jobs was hosting a little game show called Click for Merv Griffin 25 years ago so this is truly a full circle moment for me and I’m grateful to Sony for the opportunity. I can’t wait to continue the tradition of spinning the wheel and working alongside the great Vanna White.”
Pat Sajak Says That Season 41 Will Be His Last
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. (If nothing else, it’ll keep the clickbait sites busy!)
— Pat Sajak (@patsajak) June 12, 2023
On June 12, revealed that he was stepping down as host of “Wheel of Fortune” at the end of the 41st season of the show. “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,” he tweeted. “Many thanks to you all. (If nothing else, it’ll keep the clickbait sites busy!).”
Although some fans couldn’t believe it, EVP of Game Shows at Sony Pictures Television, Suzanne Prete, confirmed Sajak’s exit in a statement, saying, “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. Pat has agreed to continue as a consultant on the show for three years following his last year hosting, so we’re thrilled to have him remaining close to the Wheel of Fortune family!”
Pat Sajak Has Hosted ‘Wheel of Fortune’ Since 1981
Sajak has hosted “Wheel of Fortune” since 1981 and has won three Emmy Awards for his work on the game show. He has also received a 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award from the TV Academy and has become one of the most recognizable hosts in game show history. Sajak had initially been recruited by “Wheel of Fortune” creator Merv Griffin to take over for Chuck Woolery.
As The Blast previously reported, Ryan Seacrest was a top contender for the role, even though many fans expressed a desire for Pat’s daughter, Maggie Marie, to take over for her father and become the new host of “Wheel of Fortune.” Maggie started working as the show’s social media correspondent in 2021 and even took over for Vanna White in 2019 and a May 2023 episode of “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune.”
Several Celebrities Had Been In The Running To Take Over For Pat Sajak
Several celebrities had also thrown their names into the hat to be selected as the new “Wheel of Fortune” host. Sources familiar with the situation told The Blast that “Access Hollywood” host Mario Lopez was strongly being considered to replace Pat Sajak.
And, although she is busy moderating “The View,” Whoopi Goldberg expressed a desire to become the new host. “I want that job,” she told the live audience. “I think it’d be lots of fun.”
Joy Behar even joined in, joking, “And you know what? Sara [Haines] and I could be Vanna White. We’ll take turns walking back and forth.”