Pat Sajak Hands Off 'Wheel of Fortune' to Ryan Seacrest

TV Icon Bids Farewell, Reflects on Decades-Long Journey.

by Nouman Rasool
Pat Sajak Hands Off 'Wheel of Fortune' to Ryan Seacrest
© Ethan Miller/Getty Images

In a heartwarming transition that essentially brought the curtain call to an era, Pat Sajak has now officially passed the hosting baton of "Wheel of Fortune" to Ryan Seacrest. The monumental development was actually teased in a promotional video aired showing Seacrest's upcoming premiere as host this fall.

After a dazzling run of over 40 years, Sajak signed off on June 7-protecting his legacy of charm and wit that has been an essential part of the program since 1981. In the promo, Sajak passed on some parting advice to Seacrest, specifying enjoyment in relating to show contestants and the home audience.

"I just think that what you're going to enjoy the most is meeting the players and getting to know the audience at home," Sajak said. He thought the show was deeply connected with the audience, who have incorporated it into their daily ritual: enjoying the game with family members across generations.

Sajak's Emotional Farewell

Sajak also said that experience would be unparalleled for Seacrest, not just because of the job itself but primarily because of the long-term association with Vanna White, who has agreed to extend her contract by two more years.

According to Sajak, "You're never going to find a better job, and you're never going to find a better co-host." By this, he is referring to the kind of dynamic duo he and White once were for so many years. In a very emotional farewell to the audience on the final show he hosted, Sajak ends his 41-season streak.

He called it an "incredible privilege" to host "Wheel of Fortune" and stated how grateful he was to be part of millions of living rooms night after night. "It's been an incredible privilege to be invited into millions of homes night after night, year after year, decade after decade, he now says in retrospect.

He said it was always intended to be a "safe place" - family entertainment, no politics, no social issues, just fun and games. As he signed off, Sajak also mentioned a broader cultural significance of the show, teaching kids about their letters to helping non-native speakers learn better English and being something families and communities bonded over and shared. Elsewhere, Ryan Seacrest and Vanna White are all set to host Season 42 of "Wheel of Fortune" this fall.