Ever since Pat Sajak started as the host of Wheel of Fortune, he separated himself as one of the best in the game show business. But it wasn’t an easy road to get there.
In fact, he started his career as a DJ for a radio station. From there, he moved to a local television station where he finally got in front of a camera. But, it was far from perfect. Sajak was originally a newsman for the television station but only had a five-minute spot on camera. After he established himself, he earned a full-time job as Los Angeles’ KNBC-TV weatherman.
In 1983, he got his job as the host of Wheel of Fortune. But, he got it reportedly in a unique fashion. In an interview from 2009, Sajak explained that a prank he played as the weatherman of KNBC-TV actually earned him the host job.
The interviewer asked Sajak how Merv Griffin chose him to be the host.
“I was working local TV out in LA. I was doing the weather and I was doing a local talk show,” Sajak explained. “The nice thing about working local TV in Los Angeles is, in a way, you’re auditioning every night because producers like Merv are at home watching. For some reason, he liked what I did.”
Sajak continued the story, saying how he’s still embarrassed about the way he got hired for Wheel of Fortune. “One night, I was doing the weather – he thought this was when he said this is the guy I want. I’m doing the weather and the format was that I’d be on the set and I’d be talking to the anchorman. And then I’d walk over to the weather thing and do what weather people do,” explained Sajak.
The Prank That Pat Sajak Pulled Landed Him the “Wheel of Fortune” Job
He then got into the nitty-gritty of the prank he pulled on his co-workers. Even though it was simple and Sajak might not be proud of it, it was certainly a unique prank.
“So, while I’m talking to the anchor, I had a little band-aid on my face. And the guy says, ‘What’s going on?’ Sajak continued explaining the prank, “And I said, ‘I just nicked myself, I’m sorry, it’s kind of unsightly.’ And then I get into the weather.”
“Well, every time they cut away from me to a satellite map or something, I would move the bandaid to another spot. That was my idea of humor. I did it five or six times, and everybody got a little laugh out of it,” the soon-to-be Wheel of Fortune star remembered.
“I never made reference to it, and that’s the very sophisticated humor I was doing,” Sajak joked. “But Merv thought that was the funniest thing he ever saw and hired me. So I’m just happy that he was easily entertained that night.”
No matter whether or not he is proud of it, the prank got him into the game show. For fans of the show, it is a great memory. For fans of Wheel of Fortune, this prank certainly is Sajak’s personality in a nutshell.