‘Wheel of Fortune’: Here’s Why Pat Sajak Says His ‘Mind-Set’ Determined His ‘Long-Term Success’

by Chris Haney

Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak admits his job isn’t exactly stressful. But he thinks his mindset and laid-back demeanor are the reason for his long-term success.

During a 2005 Chicago Tribune interview, you can tell Sajak knows he has it good as the host of Wheel of Fortune. The game show host only works every three weeks or so as the show tapes around 15 episodes at a time.

“This has never exactly been heavy lifting,” he told the Chicago Tribune before joking that it may be the “softest job in all of entertainment-dom.”

In addition, that’s coming from someone who used to be a weatherman in Southern California, “where there is no weather.” However, he has had one of the most stressful jobs in the entertainment industry. In the late ’80s, he failed as a late-night talk show host. The talk show only lasted a little over a year, but the demanding life of a late-night host didn’t fit his personality. For Sajak, Wheel of Fortune is perfectly suited to his non-A-type personality.

“I’m not an A-type personality,” Sajak admits to. “I’m backstage and I’m talking to someone, and I hear my name and I wander out. It’s funny. I remember doing the late night show, and CBS made a big deal about it coming on – maybe too big a deal. And I remember being backstage before the first show, and our head writer is backstage pacing back and forth. I tell him, `Hey, it’s going to be OK.’ I’m calming him down. And someone walks past us and says, ‘Shouldn’t someone be calming you down?'”

“In a strange way I think that mind-set maybe explains my long-term success here and why I didn’t have the same kind of success in late night,” he added.

‘Wheel of Fortune’ Host Pat Sajak Contemplates Retirement

Since 1981, Pat Sajak has hosted the wildly popular game show Wheel of Fortune. Like Alex Trebek on Jeopardy!, Sajak and Vanna White have become household names. We almost neglect the fact that the hosts’ age and may not be able to, or want to, continue hosting forever.

In Sajak’s case, he holds the Guinness World Record for most game shows hosted. So yea, he’s been doing this for a while. During recent years, the host has addressed thoughts of retirement. In 2019, the 74-year-old told Good Morning America that he thought he had a “couple years” left at the wheel.

“I’m not getting any younger. A couple of years,” Sajak said on GMA. “You know what I’m really sensitive about? I’d rather leave a couple years too early than a couple years too late. … I don’t have a date in mind, but two, three [years], something like that.”

Yet earlier this year, Sajak and White also discussed retiring from the game show with Access Hollywood. Sajak mentioned that he and White would “probably walk off into the sunset at the same time.” However, White, 64, chimed in to say that their joint-retirement wouldn’t be “anytime soon.”

At a minimum, Sajak promised that they wouldn’t be ending their time on Wheel of Fortune anytime this year. The two longtime hosts will at least remain on the game show through 2021. Past that, only time will tell.