‘Wheel of Fortune’: Pat Sajak Explains His ‘Low Threshold for Celebrity Sob Stories’ in 2012 Interview

by John Jamison

Pat Sajak has no interest in playing up the romance of his story. The “Wheel of Fortune” host went straight from a weatherman on local TV to hosting one of the biggest game shows on the planet, but he is surprisingly humble about his rise to fame.

Becoming the icon he is today wasn’t necessarily a walk in the park for Sajak, but he’s not looking for sympathy from anyone. He believes that his journey is no more unique than it would have been in any other line of work.

In a 2012 interview with the Hoover Institution, Sajak explained the difficulties he faced as he tried to find jobs in the broadcasting industry.

“I have a real low threshold for celebrity sob stories,” Pat Sajak said in the 2012 interview. “Look, I went from place to place. I was trying to find work. Some places I didn’t- you go the path of least resistance sometimes. I do know I was working in this little town in Murray, Kentucky. And I went there because a friend of mine knew a guy who owned the station. I couldn’t get work anywhere in D.C. Baltimore, that area and so I said I’ll go. It was a 250-watt minimum wage kind of thing.

The ‘Wheel of Fortune’ Host Packed his Bags for Nashville

The longtime “Wheel of Fortune” host didn’t like where he was with his career in Kentucky. So at the age of 25, he packed up and moved to the nearest big city. That city just so happened to be Nashville.

“I was enormously successful immediately,” Sajak continued in the interview. “I began at a Howard Johnson’s and worked there for a good six months while I banged on every door. And finally, someone got tired of my banging and hired me. So it’s no different than anyone else in any other profession. It’s not a tragedy. And you know, when I couldn’t get jobs in broadcasting, I’d work somewhere else. It didn’t seem horrible at the time.

Sajak attributed his attitude about work to his blue-collar upbringing in Chicago. And he never lost his appreciation for “fly over” country. He claimed he’d be just as comfortable at a Hollywood function as he would be at a fast-food restaurant in the mid-west.