Pat Sajak Recalls Being Reluctant About Hosting ‘Wheel Of Fortune’


After serving as Wheel Of Fortune’s renowned show host in the last four decades, Pat Sajak announced his retirement last summer, to the dismay of most. While chatting with his daughter Maggie on Good Morning America, Sajak recalled hesitating to take the offer back in the ‘80s for a local television in Los Angeles.

Sajak gave Wheel of Fortune a short, and it turned out to be one of his best decisions years later. Following Sajak’s exit from the game show is Ryan Seacrest’s entry as his replacement, although fans are yet to adjust to change.


Pat Sajak almost didn’t take the ‘Wheel of Fortune’ hosting gig

WHEEL OF FORTUNE, from left: Pat Sajak, Vanna White, (1980s), 1975-. ©ABC/courtesy Everett Collection

Sajak recalled getting a call from Merv Griffin, who asked him to come on the then 7-year-old program after the former host Chuck Woolery opted out. He was soon joined by Vanna White, who was “so nervous” during her audition but still scored the part thanks to Merv’s visionary outlook, which helped him see beyond her fear.


RELATED: Vanna White Recalls Pat Sajak Comforting Her On First Day As Host Sets To Retire

Before Wheel Of Fortune, Sajak was in the IS army and served as a DJ on Armed Forces Radio, and did some more for a Kentucky radio station and WSM in the ‘70s. He then became a weather reporter for KNBC TV where Merv discovered and the rest is history. His long-running job opened him up to more opportunities and recognition such as a Guinness World Record for breaking Bob Barker’s record for longest serving game show host.

WHEEL OF FORTUNE, Pat Sajak, 1975-, © Sony Pictures TV / Courtesy: Everett Collection

Sajak’s farewell episode from April will air on June 7, after which he will step out of the spotlight and look forward to being a grandfather. During the chat with Maggie, he hinted at her to get busy as he hopes to spend his retirement playing crossword puzzles with his grandkids. “No pressure,” he quipped.

WHEEL OF FORTUNE, (from left): host Pat Sajak, co-host Vanna White, (1986), 1975-.

While Ryan is getting ready to step into Sajak’s shoes, there has been pushback from fans who believe Maggie is more deserving of the hosting role. The 29-year-old has been the game show’s social media correspondent since 2021 and has filled in for White multiple times. White expressed her support and desire for Maggie to take over when she leaves.

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