Is 'Wheel of Fortune' Host Pat Sajak 'Losing Control' and Risking Host Job?

Pat Sajak and Vanna White have unrivaled job security as the stars of Wheel of Fortune, but that isn't stopping one tabloid from suggesting Sajak could be in danger of losing his job. There is no evidence to prove this is true, as Sajak has been a popular host for the game show for nearly 40 years. The idea that Sajak could be in trouble, which sounds as implausible as winning $1 million on the show, stems from a gaffe he made last month.

During an April episode, Sajak accidentally let the answer to a 12-letter bonus round puzzle slip. When the board read "_ _ _ TE _ RAN _ L _," Sajak quipped, "Yikes... Well, I'd rather be standing here than there, quite frankly." None of the contestants realized this, but Sajak revealed the answer "quite frankly" in his joke. The Wheel of Fortune team later released a video in which Sajak fessed up to his mistake. "It goes to show you that people are concentrating and they're not paying any attention to me," Sajak joked, adding that he did not believe the contestants had any reason to realize Sajak gave them the answer.

While the situation could just be chalked up as a silly mishap, Gossip Cop notes that the tabloid The Globe spun it as a reason why Sajak might lose his job. The tabloid ran a headline declaring, "Sajak's latest blunder has heads spinning!" The outlet claimed Sajak "has acted oddly since recovering from a 2019 emergency surgery for a blocked intestine" and has been "especially snarky and touchy with contestants." Sajak, 74, has always been a "good-natured" host, but a "source" told the Globe that Wheel executives think Sajak's "put-downs have gotten out of control... It's like he's losing his marbles."

Sajak's banter with contestants has always had a tinge of snark, but his comments have gained more attention lately. In February, he was widely criticized for appearing to mock a contestant with a speech impediment. Sajak and the contestant got into a discussion about how older adults are not hesitant to new technology. At one point, Sajak said, "I thee," which viewers thought was Sajak mocking the contestant's lisp. Some viewers even called on Sajak to be fired for the incident.

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In December, Sajak repeatedly told a contestant not to interrupt him when he was reading a promotional script for Dick's Sporting Goods. The contestant went to start spinning the wheel before she was supposed to. This led Sajak to tell her to "never, never interrupt. Never interrupt a plug!" The contestant then apologized. "You can do anything else but don't interrupt. I'm sorry, what'd you want to do?" Sajak said as he laughed.

Sajak has been hosting incarnations of Wheel of Fortune since 1981 and has won three Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Game Show Host. The current nightly syndicated version with Sajak and White has been airing non-stop since 1983. In January, ABC aired Celebrity Wheel of Fortune, with Sajak and White as hosts. In September 2020, Sajak passed The Price is Right's Bob Barker for the longest-running host of any game show.