Wheel of Fortune fans might care deeply about who replaces Pat Sajak when he retires, but it does not matter to the jovial game show host. The beloved host said he does not care who takes over for him once he leaves, although there is no definitive timeline for when that will happen. Sajak was recently sidelined for an emergency surgery, giving fans a taste of what the show would be like without him.
When TMZ caught up with Sajak, his daughter Maggie Sajak and Wheel of Fortune co-host Vanna White outside a restaurant in West Hollywood last week, they had to ask Sajak who he thinks should be the next host.
"Once I'm gone, I don't care who takes the reins," Sajak said, with his usual wit.
This week, Wheel is airing more episodes hosted by White, who was joined by Maggie as the temporary letter-turner.
White told TMZ she thought Maggie, 25, did a fantastic job filling in.
"I'm so proud of her," White said. "She did a great job. Better than me!"
"She's a great teacher," Maggie chimed in.
When asked if she would ever want to take over for White full-time, Maggie was not so sure.
"Who knows, but it was a lot of fun," she said with a shrug.
Later, Sajak assured his fans he is now feeling "fine" after his emergency surgery in November. Sajak was hospitalized for a successful surgery to fix a blocked intestine. He missed several Wheel tapings, and the first White-hosted episode aired on Dec. 20. Some Sajak-hosted episodes aired during the last week of 2019, but more White-hosted episodes are aiing this week.
"This is a little complicated, so pay attention," Sajak said in a video for Monday's episode. "I was back from my surgery last week and had a wonderful time on the show, and I'm not going to be here this week. It's not that I had a relapse, it's just because of the technicalities of the taping order and all that. So you're going to see Vanna doing her Pat impression here. She does a great job. And we have a special letter toucher."
"He's not a big complainer," Maggie said at the time. "I could tell he was taking it seriously. We don't usually, you know, go into the emergency room for little things."
Although Maggie enjoyed filling in for White while White hosted, it was "amazing" to see her dad back at work.
"It was definitely really scary," she said of the experience. "I'd like to say I was a trooper at the beginning. I wasn't."
Sajak, 73, has been hosting Wheel of Fortune for almost 40 years and is signed to continue hosting through 2022. In December, he told Good Morning America he is considering retiring in two to three years.
"I'd rather leave a couple years too early than a couple years too late," he explained. "I don't have a date in mind, but you know, two, three [years], something like that."
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