‘Wheel of Fortune’: Pat Sajak Isn’t the Only Host In Show’s History, Who Are the Others?

by Keeli Parkey

When you think of the television show “Wheel of Fortune” chances are host Pat Sajak is one of the first things that pops into your mind. Having been on the program for so many years, his name goes hand in hand with the popular game show.

However, did you know that he isn’t the only host in the history of “Wheel of Fortune?” And, no we’re not talking about Vanna White – even though she has also been on the show for decades. White has even filled in for Sajak when he could not be there to perform his hosting duties. For example, she did so in 2019 when Sajak was recovering from surgery.

According to an article on GoodHouseKeeping.com, Pat Sajak worked as the host of “Wheel of Fortune” for eight years, then attempted to branch out on his own. The project he chose was the appropriately named “The Pajak Show.”

According to information from IMDb.com, this was a late-night talk show with Sajak as its host. The show had your typical late-night format. There were guests, comedy, and music, according to IMDb.com The show only ran from 1989 to 1990. But, in the end, it wasn’t popular enough to stay on the air.

With Pat Sajak taking his chances with his own show, the minds behind “Wheel of Fortune” had to find another host. Selected to fill the spot vacated by Sajak was Bob Goen, according to GoodHouseKeeping.com. Fans of “Entertainment Tonight” will know Goen as a host of that popular show. Obviously, Sajak returned to “Wheel of Fortune” where he has been a mainstay in the decades that followed.

In fact, Sajak and Vanna White both hold Guinness World Records thanks to their years on the show.

Pat Sajak Wasn’t the First Host of ‘Wheel of Fortune’

According to an article on Looper.com, what current fans of the game show might not know is that when the show we now know as “Wheel of Fortune” debuted in 1975 it was not called “Wheel of Fortune.” The show was first known as “Shopper’s Bazaar.”

Neither Pat Sajak nor Vanna White was in the first episode of the game show. “Shopper’s Bazaar” was hosted by Chuck Woolery, according to the article.

HollywoodReporter.com has reported that Pat Sajak replaced Woolery on “Wheel of Fortune” in 1981. Woolery was reportedly let go by creator Merv Griffin because he wanted $500,000 more per year to host the show. This didn’t go over well with Griffin, thus Woolery was out and Sajak was in. Prior to joining “Wheel of Fortune,” Sajak had worked as a weatherman in both Los Angeles and Nashville.

In his first year as host of “Wheel of Fortune,” Sajak earned $65,000, according to HollywoodReporter.com. Vanna White was reportedly paid $200 per show. Now, their salaries are vastly higher. According to previous reports, he earns $52,083 per episode. White makes $34,722 per episode.