‘Wheel of Fortune’ Host Pat Sajak Jokes Show May Change the Price of a Vowel

by Jennifer Shea
Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

With inflation driving up the costs of many goods, why not raise the price of a vowel? That’s what Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak wondered today, mostly in jest.

After all, the price of a vowel has held steady at $250 since 1983. To put that into perspective, an item purchased for $250 in 1983 would cost you roughly $700 nowadays, according to the Inflation Calculator.   

“Given the economic situation, it might be time to take a close look at that $250 vowel thing,” Sajak tweeted Wednesday afternoon.

Wheel of Fortune Recently Lost Director Dick Carson

Meanwhile, Wheel of Fortune is grieving a recently-announced loss. Dick Carson, younger brother to the late Johnny Carson (of Tonight Show fame), directed Wheel of Fortune for more than 22 years, only leaving the show when it was time for him to retire. Sadly, Wheel of Fortune lost its longtime director last month when Carson passed away following a brief illness, Variety reports.  

The television director was 92 when he died. The youngest of three children, Carson launched his show business career at a Nebraska radio station before moving to San Diego, California to work at the local NBC affiliate.

Carson worked his way up through the ranks to become a director of local news and sports shows before relocating again, this time to Los Angeles to take a job directing kids’ TV shows.

From there, Carson took a directing job at his older brother’s show, where he stayed for seven years. He went on to direct The Don Rickles Variety Show and episodes of Get Smart, Your All-American College Show and The Sammy Davis Show. Carson then met the creator of Wheel of Fortune when he directed The Merv Griffin Show from 1972 to 1986.

All told, Carson’s TV career lasted 43 years – as long as his marriage to his wife, who survives him, along with his sons, daughter, granddaughters and great-granddaughter.

Pat Sajak and Vanna White Look to the Exits

Sajak has now been hosting Wheel of Fortune for 40 years, Vanna White for 38, and in a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight, they both suggested they’re beginning to eye the exits.

“Forty years… is like, unfathomable,” Sajak said. “We’re certainly closer to the end than the beginning. I’d like to leave before people tune in and look at me and say, ‘Ooh, what happened to him?’”

“I wouldn’t bet on seeing us in ten years,” he added. Then, to White: “Is that fair?”

“Probably, yes,” White agreed.

They’ve got a few years left on their current contracts, but enjoy it while it lasts, Wheel of Fortune fans. Because before long, it’ll be time to get some fresh faces to replace those familiar hosts you’ve grown accustomed to over the years.