‘Wheel of Fortune’: Why Pat Sajak Called Having Generations of Viewers ‘Spooky’

by John Jamison

When you really think about it, it’s pretty mind-blowing that “Wheel of Fortune,” a simple game of hangman, has been met with wild success over four decades. Granted, the game is adorned with some cool features. For example, the iconic wheel and the prizes it promises are the game’s biggest draw.

But what’s even more impressive, and for some more appealing, is the longevity of longtime host Pat Sajak.

Sajak got his start on “Wheel of Fortune” in the early 1980s. He took over as a result of a contract dispute with former host Chuck Woolery. And the move was a bit of a risk, as Sajak’s experience was limited to being a weatherman on local TV. Almost half a century later, however, Merv Griffin’s decision proved a great one. Sajak now holds the world record for the longest-tenured game show host of all time.

In a 2013 interview with Mass Appeal, Sajak talked about how weird it felt to have hosted the show through multiple generations.

“When I first started it was a daytime show on the network, and we didn’t have the nighttime version,” Sajak said. “So yeah, it’s been a long time. And, you know, what you talk about with your mother and your grandmother, I hear that all the time.

“We’re into our third generation of viewers, it’s kind of spooky. And, you know, we’re just playing hangman. That’s what it is. And, you know, it’s turned into this multi-generational success.”

‘Wheel of Fortune’ Host Still Going Strong

That interview took place nearly 10 years ago, and at present, Pat Sajak is still thriving in his role on “Wheel of Fortune.” It’s the most impressive hosting run we’ve ever seen. He boasts a longer tenure than the likes of Bob Barker and the late Alex Trebek.

It’s crazy to think that a grandmother, a mom, and a daughter watching “Wheel of Fortune” together could all memories of Pat Sajak hosting the show in their youth. Not saying that to make Pat Sajak feel old, just a testament to his ability and appeal as a game show host. And though he admits that it feels a little spooky, it’s something for which he’s extremely grateful. Maintaining generational relevance is no easy feat.

“There are people who really have integrated us into their lives. And, you know, passed the tradition on to their kids. So it’s really been fun to see, and fun to experience,” Sajak continued in the 2013 interview.

And as much as we’d love to see Sajak keep up the good work for generations to come. He has said recently that he wants to leave the show within the next ten years. In fitting fashion, Sajak and Vanna White plan to depart the show at the same time.