Pat Sajak is speaking out about that major Wheel of Fortune change that has sparked plenty of discussion online. Although the show kicked off its 39th season last week with a number of new changes, it was perhaps the decision to not have Sajak do the final spin of the wheel that proved most controversial. The final spin takes place toward the end of each episode, with the landing spot determining the value of each consonant during the speed up round.
As Wheel of Fortune viewers took to social media throughout the first week of Season 39 to weigh in on the change, Sajak took a moment to address the new format in an interview with his daughter, Maggie, on the game show's official YouTube page. Sajak began by joking that "the work was way too hard." However, Sajak went on to explain that he was never a fan of performing that final spin, as he always felt it imposed on the players.
"The reason is, honestly, I've never liked the idea of imposing the host on the game. That always bothered me a little bit. We finally got to talking. We said, 'Look, someone's spinning the wheel anyway. We'll save time. We'll just let them spin it, whoever turn it happens to be. So the final spin, at least as far as the host is concerned, is gone, but the final spin remains. I'm just not doing it," he said. "I hope that's a satisfactory explanation."
Wheel of Fortune announced the change to the final spin in early September, just ahead of the show's Season 39 premiere. At the time, Sajak said, "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. With this change, only the contestants determine the outcome of the game and the host does not impose themself in any way." In addition to that change, the game show also announced a refreshed set and a modernized arrangement of its iconic theme song, "Changing Keys." It was also announced that Wheel announcer Jim Thornton would be featured at a new podium on stage as he introduces Sajak and White and Sajak's daughter Maggie would join the show's digital platform as a social correspondent.
That was not the only major announcement to come in recent weeks, however. On Sept. 8, Variety reported that Sajak and Vanna White renewed their contracts through at least the 2023-2024 TV season. As part of the renewal, Sajak will also serve as consulting producer.