‘Wheel of Fortune’ Host Pat Sajak Gets ‘Starstruck’ Meeting a Barney Writer

by Suzanne Halliburton

Want to know what makes Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak squeal like a kid on a playground?

Mention Barney to Sajak. And no, we’re not talking Barney Fife or Barney Miller or even Barney Rubble. Think big and purple. It’s Barney the Dinosaur.

It seems that one of the contestants on Wheel of Fortune used to write for the Barney children series. And Sajak, the guy who is lightning quick with the quips, was delighted to gush about the purple creature. The Wheel of Fortune social media account tweeted a video clip of the exchange. The caption: “Pat doesn’t get star struck often, but meeting a writer for Barney seems to do the trick.”

Lyle A. Waisman/FilmMagic

Wheel of Fortune Host Says ‘I Love Barney’

Sajak came to the portion of Wheel of Fortune in which contestants introduced themselves. He paused with one woman: “You’re a children’s writer, and you wrote for Barney the Dinosaur. (Sajak’s voice hits another octave). And I’m so excited.”

Then he offered this Sajak nugget: “We lived around Barney. We went to see Barney’s show and we didn’t even have kids. … No, I love Barney.”

Check out the Wheel of Fortune clip. Promise, it’ll make you smile at least once.

As the Wheel of Fortune host pointed out, there are no more new Barney episodes. The show, which was called Barney & Friends, was a mainstay on PBS. It premiered in April 1992 and ran through November 2010.

Barney was a walking/talking Tyrannosaurus rex. Or, if you’re a dinosaur fan, you know the purple creature as a T Rex. He liked to sing and dance and teach children valuable lessons. The target audience was kids aged two to seven. Obviously, Sajak is just an overgrown kid who likes make-believe dinosaurs. The long-time “Wheel of Fortune” host lets his inner first-grader come out and play when he hears the song about the dinosaur sensation.

Sajak is in luck. Officials with the streaming service Peacock announced in November that they were producing a three-part documentary about Barney, the pop-culture sensation.

Sajak Celebrated 40th Anniversary with the Show

Meanwhile, Sajak celebrated a monumental anniversary with Wheel of Fortune earlier this week. Traditionally, one gives rubies as gifts to celebrate a 40th anniversary. Sajak’s 40th year with the game show was Tuesday, but Wheel of Fortune didn’t mention it.

But Sajak acknowledged the nostalgia of it all in a Tweet.

The Wheel of Fortune mainstay wrote: “When I started hosting “Wheel” (with Susan Stafford) on this date 40 years ago, the top 10 TV shows included ‘Dallas,’ ‘Three’s Company,’ ‘The Jeffersons’ and ‘The Dukes of Hazzard. Ronald Reagan was in his 1st year as president. Number 1 song: Olivia Newton-John’s ‘Physical.’”