‘Wheel of Fortune’: Pat Sajak Weighed In on ‘Fluky’ Business of Television, Surprise at Own Success

by Chris Haney

During a 2013 interview, Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak admitted both he and Vanna White have been surprised at how successful the game show has been over the years.

While speaking with Springfield, Massachusetts-based news station WWLP, the host touched on his lengthy career. Sajak spoke about the early days of Wheel of Fortune, which began as a daytime game show. He also talked about generations of fans watching throughout he and White’s almost four-decade tenure.

Considering it’s the longest-running game show in American television history, Sajak and White are definitely in a class of their own. When asked if he expected to still be hosting Wheel of Fortune decades later, Sajak admitted he never dreamed of it.

“Well, of course not. I mean nobody does. It’s a fluky business and nothing lasts that long. I mean almost nothing. Who knew? Vanna and I used to sit around early on and say, ‘How long can this go on?’ I remember 10 years into it, how long can this go on? And 20 years, how long… and now we don’t even ask the question,” Sajak explained in the interview.

In addition, Sajak shared what keeps him coming back year after year. He pointed out his amazing schedule, which makes it hard to give up the gig.

“It’s a great schedule. [Currently] we’re here in New York. We’re going to do four weeks of shows in five days, and I’m not going to work again for another several weeks. So in dog years, I’ve only done about six years of shows,” Sajak said with a laugh. “But you know, I’ve never had trouble getting up for them. I try to treat every show, every group of players, as if they’re the first group… I try to treat every single show as an individual entity, which it is, and bring the same energy to it.”

‘Wheel of Fortune’ Hosts Pat Sajak Contemplates Retirement

Although Pat Sajak may have only hosted six dog years worth of Wheel of Fortune episodes, retirement is at least growing near. Like Alex Trebek on Jeopardy!, Sajak and Vanna White have become household names. So it’s almost strange to think of anyone else at the helm of the popular game show.

In a way, we almost take longtime hosts like them for granted. As fans, we rarely consider their age or health. Or the fact that they may not want to continue hosting forever. In Sajak’s case, he holds the Guinness World Record for most game shows hosted. He’s a staple of television viewing.

Yet 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 in him.

“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.”

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

Wheel of Fortune fans don’t need to fret over the two longtime hosts’ departure quite yet. Sajak and White will at least remain on the game show through 2021.