‘Wheel of Fortune’ Star Pat Sajak Explained Why He’ll Never Do Another Talk Show: ‘Best Thing to Be is a Fill-In’

by Jennifer Shea

“Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak is comfortable in his current role and has been for a while now. The television personality has been hosting “Wheel of Fortune” since 1981, and he said he’s reached a point in his life and career where he’s happy with what he’s got.

In fact, in a 2007 interview with the Television Academy Foundation, Sajak said he’ll never do another talk show after hosting “Pat Sajak Weekend” on Fox News in 2003.

“I’ve discovered that the best thing to be is a fill-in, when it comes to talk [shows],” Sajak said. “I have no more desire to do another talk incarnation, for various reasons. I’m at a stage of my life and career where I just, I like my schedule, I don’t want to do it. But to be able to go in and sit in for Larry [King], as I did for awhile, and sit in for Regis [Philbin], as I do every now and then, that’s enough to kind of scratch that itch for me. And I leave there after a night or two of doing it and go, ‘Thank goodness I don’t have to be here tomorrow.’”

Watch Sajak discuss his calculus here:

‘Wheel of Fortune’ Host Says He’d Rather Retire Too Early Than Too Late

While Sajak wouldn’t leave “Wheel of Fortune” for another show, he also doesn’t plan to host the game show forever. The “Wheel of Fortune” host said in 2019 that he only wanted to keep doing the show for a few more years.

“I’m not getting any younger. A couple of years,” he said when asked on “Good Morning America” how much longer he wants to host the show. “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.”

Meanwhile, Sajak told USA Today that same year that his exit from the show would happen “in the single digits” of years. That decision followed a major health scare in which Sajak had to undergo emergency surgery for a blocked intestine.

“I’d like to leave while the show’s still popular, and I’d like to leave before people ask me to leave,” he said. “And I’d like to leave before people tune in and see me and go, ‘Ooh, what the hell happened to him?’”

Legions of “Wheel of Fortune” fans are in for a jolt when Sajak retires. But as “Jeopardy!” recently proved, the loss of a familiar face doesn’t necessarily spell the end for the game show itself.