Pat Sajak is stepping down from Wheel of Fortune after 41 seasons

Image source, Getty Images

Comment on the photo, Pat Sajak (right) has hosted more than 8,000 episodes of Wheel of Fortune

  • author, Max Matza
  • Role, BBC News

Longtime Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak caught on with viewers four decades after asking contestants if they “would like to buy a vowel” on the game show.

In a video, Sajak described it as “an incredible privilege to be invited into millions of homes, night after night, year after year, decade after decade.”

Mr. Sajak, 77, has scored more than 8,000 episodes of Wheel of Fortune and has been a constant presence in American media since taking over as host in 1981.

In 2018, he became the longest-serving host of a game show, surpassing The Price Is Right’s Bob Barker.

In 1983, he was joined by co-host Vanna White in the version of the show familiar to viewers today.

In his video, Mr. Sajak said: “I’ve always felt that privilege comes with a responsibility to keep this daily half-hour a safe place for family fun. No social issues. No politics.

“I hope it’s nothing embarrassing. Just a game.”

“But it has gradually become more than that – a place where children learn letters, where people from other countries hone their English skills, where families come together with friends, neighbors and entire generations.”

“What an honor to play even a small role in all of this,” he said, adding: “Thank you for letting me into your lives.”

The staple still attracts 26 million viewers weekly, Sony said last year when Sajak announced his plans to retire. More than 10,000 people audition for the show each year.

Originally conceived as a TV version of the popular game “Hangman,” contestants spin a wheel to determine which prizes can be won by solving word puzzles.

Sony said the show had awarded prizes worth more than $250 million (£199 million) since its launch.

American Idol host Ryan Seacrest is set to take over as Wheel of Fortune host.

Mr. Sajak, who has attracted some controversy for his support of conservative Republicans such as Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, has already identified his next role in entertainment.

He will perform at a community theater next year in Hawaii, where he is scheduled to star in the play “Prescription: Murder.”

The 1962 play was the inspiration for the long-running television series Columbo.

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