‘Wheel of Fortune’: Pat Sajak Explained the Casual Nature in Which He Was Offered Show

by Keeli Parkey

The events that end up changing your life aren’t always dramatic. Sometimes they are as simple as a phone call. This was the case for “Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak when he was hired to work on the famous game show.

Sajak talked about the events leading up to his tenure on “Wheel of Fortune” during an interview with NPR in 2013. So, what happened?

According to Sajak,” “Wheel of Fortune” creator Merv Griffin simple called him. It was as easy as ordering a pizza when you really think about it. Seriously, according to what Sajak told NPR almost a decade ago, it was a pretty simple process.

According to what Sajak said, Griffin simply called him up to offer him the job that would change his life.

“Merv Griffin, who owned the show at the time, called me and said, hey, you want to do a game show?” Sajak recalled during the NPR interview.

It was a job that Pat Sajak simply could not turn down. And, who could blame him? Who wouldn’t want to be the host of “Wheel of Fortune”?

“(Chuck Woolery, the first host of the famous game show’) leaving,” Sajak recalled. “And it’s Merv Griffin on the phone. What am I going to say? I was so excited to hear from him.”

Just as simple as that, one of the most famous game show hosts of the last half-century was hired for his most famous job on “Wheel of Fortune.”

‘Wheel of Fortune’ Host Pat Sajak Shared Other Details During 2013 NPR Interview

In addition to talking about how he was hired to be the host of “Wheel of Fortune,” Pat Sajak also shared other details from his decades-long career with NPR during 2013.

Some of those details involved one of the very first jokes he made as the new host of “Wheel of Fortune.”

To put things in context, Sajak took over hosting duties from Chuck Woolery. Woolery was quite a bit taller than Sajak. Here’s the joke Sajak shared on his first episode of “Wheel of Fortune”:

“Please do not adjust your sets at home, Chuck Woolery has not shrunk. A lot of people are playing with their vertical hold right now. As Jack mentioned, my name is Pat Sajak, and I’ve been fortunate enough to wander onto the set of a very successful program; has been for a long time …”

Sajak also told NPR about one of the earliest jobs of his career. This was working at a Spanish radio station. According to the NPR interview, Sajak’s job was reading the news live on air.

“You know, it’s a funny thing. I was going to school in Chicago, and a friend of mine – it was an instructor who actually worked in Chicago radio, said listen, I know this guy, runs a little station; and they’re looking for a guy to do a kind of a rip-and-read newscast from midnight to 6 a.m.,” Sajak recalled. “Every five minutes, you go in and rip the wire thing off, and read the top stories.”