Pat Sajak Teases Departure From 'Wheel of Fortune'

After cementing his place as the longest-serving game show host in TV history, Pat Sajak's time on Wheel of Fortune may be coming to an end sooner rather than later. With Season 39 now airing with some major changes, and ahead of the Season 2 premiere of Celebrity Wheel of Fortune, the beloved game show host opened up about his future on the show, revealing when he sees himself retiring as Wheel of Fortune host.

While Sajak and Vanna White have been TV mainstays for nearly four decades, a time span that Sajak called "unfathomable," he admitted in a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight that his and White's time on the show is "certainly closer to the end than the beginning." Discussing when he hopes to step aside as host, Sajak said he would "like to leave before people tune in and look at me and say, 'Ooh, what happened to him?'" Although he hasn't put an exact date on a departure, he suggested that fans shouldn't "bet on seeing us in, like, 10 years, I would say," a time frame that White said was a "fair" estimate. Sajak first joined the game show back in December 1981 after the original host, Chuck Woolery, departed after six years of hosting. His TV partner White joined a year later. 

Although their time on Wheel of Fortune may be numbered, fans shouldn't expect Sajak and White to be going anywhere in the near future. In early September, Sony Pictures Television announced the TV duo renewed their contracts through the 2023-24 television seasons, with Sajak also being tapped to serve as consulting producer on Wheel of Fortune. At the time, Sony Pictures Television also confirmed a number of new changes to the game show, including the announcement that Sajak's daughter, Maggie Sajak, would be getting in on the Wheel of Fortune fun by joining the show's digital presence as its social correspondent.

While fans were more than eager to welcome Maggie to the team, some other changes were a little more jarring, including the major change of Sajak losing one of his roles: the "Final Spin" spinner. In Season 39, contestants take control of the Final Spin game, with Sajak stating, "if you think about it, by doing the 'final spin' I, as host, had an impact on the outcome of the game and that has always bothered me because it just didn't feel right." He added that "with this change, only the contestants determine the outcome of the game and the host does not impose themself in any way."