Pat Sajak's last show: Wheel of Fortune host retiring after 40-plus years

Pat Sajak on the set of Wheel of Fortune. The game show icon is retiring after more than 40 years as host. (Christopher Willard/ABC via Getty Images) PAT SAJAK

Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak’s last show aired on Friday, June 7, after more than 40 years of Sajak serving as host. 

In his farewell message, Sajak thanked the viewers of the beloved game show for granting him the "incredible privilege to be invited into millions of homes, night after night, year after year, decade after decade."

Sajak, 77, also gave a heartfelt thanks to his "professional other half," Vanna White, who delivered her emotional tribute to Sajak a day earlier.

"We’ve seen a lot of changes in each other’s lives over the years, but we’ve always been there for each other," he said. "I will miss our nightly closes and her laughter and her good nature. She’s a very special woman."

Sajak, has presided over the game show, which features contestants guessing letters to try to fill out words and phrases to win money and prizes, since 1981. He took over duties from Chuck Woolery, the Merv Griffin game show’s first host when it debuted in 1975. White joined the show in 1982, and it moved to its much more popular nighttime slot the next year. 

In an interview with his daughter, Maggie, Sajak said he didn’t have big dreams of being a game show host – and even had reservations about accepting the Wheel of Fortune hosting gig when the opportunity arose. 

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Wheel of Fortune

File: Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak, hostess Vanna White (Herb Ball/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty)

"‘Wheel of Fortune’ had been on the air for seven years in daytime on NBC, and the host was leaving, and they needed a new host, and [Griffin] asked if I was interested," Sajak recalled. "And I swear, the first thought was, ‘Yes there are three Rs is not exactly a career mover.’"

Forty-one seasons later, Sajak leaves behind a lasting legacy and big host shoes to fill. Here’s what to know about Sajak’s retirement. 

When is Pat Sajak’s last show? 

Pat Sajak’s last Wheel of Fortune episode will air on Friday, June 7, the culmination of a week of tributes to Sajak called "Thanks for the Memories."

Sajak began his career as a newscaster for a small radio station in his hometown of Chicago. In 1968, he joined the Army and was sent to Vietnam, where he worked with the Armed Forces Radio in Saigon, Fox News Digital reports. 

After being discharged, he ended up in Nashville, Tennessee, where he began working in television. In 1977, he became a weatherman for L.A. station KNBC-TV after being discovered by a talent scout.

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Four years later, he got the call from Griffin to host Wheel of Fortune. 

Who is replacing Pat Sajak on Wheel of Fortune? 

TV presenter and Hollywood veteran Ryan Seacrest will take over as host of Wheel of Fortune after Sajak. 


Ryan Seacrest will take over as host of Wheel of Fortune when Pat Sajak retires (Photo by Kristina Bumphrey/Variety via Getty Images)

"I’m truly humbled to be stepping into the footsteps of the legendary Pat Sajak," Seacrest said on X (formerly Twitter), in 2023. "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."

Seacrest called it a "full-circle" moment for him, as one of his first jobs in entertainment was hosting another Merv Griffin game show called "Click" in 1997. 

"I can’t wait to continue the tradition of spinning the wheel and working alongside the great Vanna White," he said.  

The Associated Press and Fox News Digital contributed to this report.