Pat Sajak surprisingly OK ahead of Wheel of Fortune end
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Pat Sajak surprisingly OK ahead of Wheel of Fortune end

Pat Sajak surprisingly OK ahead of Wheel of Fortune end

Pat Sajak, the iconic host of “Wheel of Fortune,” is surprisingly at peace with his decision to step down after more than four decades. As his final episode approaches, Sajak, 77, shared his thoughts in a recent interview with his daughter, Maggie Sajak, who serves as the show’s social correspondent. “I’m surprisingly OK,” he said, reflecting on his impending departure. “This was announced a long time ago, almost a year ago. So I’ve had time to sort of get used to it.”

Sajak’s tenure on “Wheel of Fortune” began in 1981, succeeding the original host, Chuck Woolery. Over the years, he has become a beloved figure in American television, entertaining millions of viewers and becoming a staple in popular culture. “We became part of the popular culture… more importantly, we became part of people’s lives,” Sajak noted. His final episode will air this Friday, marking the end of the show’s 41st season.

The announcement of Sajak’s retirement came last June, when he took to social media to inform fans that the current season would be his last. “It’s been a wonderful ride, and I’ll have more to say in the coming months. Many thanks to you all,” he wrote. Since then, he has had ample time to reflect on his career and prepare for the transition.

Ryan Seacrest is set to take over as the new host when the show returns for its next season. Seacrest has expressed admiration for Sajak, praising him for his ability to celebrate contestants and make viewers feel at home. With Seacrest stepping in and Vanna White, the show’s longtime letter-turner, continuing her role for the next two years, the future of “Wheel of Fortune” seems secure.

Sajak, however, is looking forward to a more relaxed lifestyle. “I’m looking forward to whatever’s ahead,” he said, mentioning that he plans to spend more time with his family and enjoy simple pleasures like crossword puzzles. He emphasized that his decision to leave was made on his own terms. “I’d rather leave a couple years too early than a couple years too late,” he explained.

Maggie Sajak, who has been working on the show since 2021, expressed her admiration for her father’s legacy. “You have made what could’ve just been Hangman into a cultural phenomenon,” she told him. “Thank you for these amazing 40-plus years.” Her sentiments were echoed by many fans and colleagues who have followed Sajak’s career.

Vanna White, who has been with the show since 1982, will continue her role, having signed a contract extension through the 2025-2026 season. In a recent interview, White admitted that she considered retiring alongside Sajak but ultimately decided to stay. “When I heard that Pat was retiring, I thought maybe I should retire, too. But I’m not ready!” she said. “I thank God after all these years that I still love my job.”

As Sajak’s final episode approaches, he remains in good spirits, enjoying the last moments of his remarkable career. “I’m enjoying this last year. It’s been a great 40 years, and I’m looking forward to whatever’s ahead,” he said. He also hinted at his hopes for the future, jokingly suggesting that he would be happy to spend his time with crossword puzzles and grandchildren.

The final episode of “Wheel of Fortune” with Pat Sajak as host will air this Friday, June 7. Fans are eagerly anticipating the episode, which promises to be a memorable farewell to a television legend. As the show prepares to transition to a new era with Ryan Seacrest, viewers can look back on Sajak’s incredible journey and the lasting impact he has had on American television.

In the meantime, Sajak is content with his decision and excited about the future. “I’m perfectly happy if it just means that I’ll continue with my crossword puzzles and play with grandchildren,” he said, adding a humorous “hint, hint” to his daughter. As he steps away from the spotlight, Sajak leaves behind a legacy that will be remembered for generations to come.