Amid Pat Sajak's recent hospitalization and recovery, Wheel of Fortune fans have been wondering if the 73-year-old host of the longrunning game show is eyeing retirement anytime soon. In an interview with Good Morning America last month, Sajak said he's planning on leaving on his own terms — but perhaps sooner than one might think.
"I'd rather leave a couple years too early than a couple years too late," he said at the time. "I don't have a date in mind, but you know, two, three [years], something like that."
Sajak and fellow co-host Vanna White's contracts are renewed through 2022. The two have continuously hosted the syndicated version of the show since its inception. White was hired in 1982 while Sajak was hired in 1981 before the show was syndicated.
USA Today reported in November when news hit of Sajak's emergency surgery that he said he didn't have a retirement date in mind, but his departure will be "in the single digits" of years from now.
"I'd like to leave while the show's still popular, and I'd like to leave before people ask me to leave," he said. "And I'd like to leave before people tune in and see me and go, 'Ooh, what the hell happened to him?'"
At the time, Sajak said he was "not quite there yet," adding, "When I do leave, it won't be because I'm sick of it or burned out by it; I'll leave because it's time to go."
In another more recent sit-down with GMA, Sajak's daughter, Maggie Sajak, opened up about serving as a guest letter-turner during Monday's episode while the show's usual letter-turner, Vanna White, filled in for Sajak as host. Maggie, 25, also hinted at her dad's retirement.
"I know that he wants to be able to leave, kind of on his terms," she said. "And no matter what he decides to do, I know he has such a lasting legacy on the show."
After saying that her dad was "doing well," Maggie said that the entire experience of Pat's hospitalization was "really scary."
"From the perspective of his daughter, it was a scary experience, I'm not gonna lie," she said. "But he's doing great and I know he's so excited to be back next week."
After undergoing emergency surgery in November for a blocked intestine, Sajak took a bit of time off taping while he recovered. White has been serving as the show's host for about the past two weeks (minus a few pre-recorded episodes over the holidays), and episodes with Sajak's return will air next week.
Maggie told GMA that Pat sought help after experiencing a "horrific pain" in his stomach during an early morning walk with her.
"He's not a big complainer," she said of her dad. "I could tell he was taking it seriously. We don't usually, you know, go into the emergency room for little things."
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