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Pat Sajak announces he is leaving ‘Wheel of Fortune’ after over 40 years: 'It’s been a wonderful ride'

'Well, the time has come. I’ve decided that our 41st season, which begins in September, will be my last,' the 76-year-old shared.

Pat Sajak announces he is leaving ‘Wheel of Fortune’ after over 40 years: 'It’s been a wonderful ride'
Cover Image Source: Host Pat Sajak performs during the NFL Players Week 10th Anniversary on Wheel Of Fortune on December 6, 2005, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images for PLAYERS INC)

Pat Sajak is saying goodbye to his time as host of the legendary game show, "Wheel of Fortune." Sajak has led the show for more than four decades after the original host, Chuck Woolery, left in December 1981, reported TODAY. The 76-year-old television personality led the daytime version until 1989 and took up the evening version since it launched in 1983 alongside Vanna White. In a statement, production and distribution studio Sony Pictures Television, which owns the show, wrote the company is "incredibly grateful and proud to have had Pat as our host for all these years. Pat has agreed to continue as a consultant on the show for three years following his last year hosting, so we’re thrilled to have him remain close to the Wheel of Fortune family!" the statement concluded.



 

 

In a statement to PEOPLE, Suzanne Prete, the EVP of Game Shows at Sony Pictures Television, confirmed that Sajak would serve as a consultant on the series for the next three years. The longtime-running show's upcoming 41st season begins filming in September and will be his last. "As the host of Wheel of Fortune, Pat has entertained millions of viewers across America for 40 amazing years," Prete said. 

Sajak confirmed the news himself on Twitter recently. "Well, the time has come. I’ve decided that our 41st season, which begins in September, will be my last," he said. "It’s been a wonderful ride, and I’ll have more to say in the coming months. Many thanks to you all. (If nothing else, it’ll keep the clickbait sites busy!)"



 

 

In September 2022, the host did mention the possibility of retiring soon. "In most television shows by this time, you would have said, 'That's probably enough,' but this show will not die," Sajak told Entertainment Tonight. "It appears I may go before the show," he added. "Years go by fast. We're getting near the end. It's been a long [time]. We're not gonna do this for another 40 years. The end is near," he admitted. "... It's an honor to have been in people's living rooms for that long. People were out there welcoming us. We're happy and proud."



 

 

As for hostess White, she can not imagine a show without the two of them. She told PEOPLE in December that "it is" hard to imagine the show like that. "I don't even want to think about that. I mean, we're a team," she said at the time. "That's depressing. I don't even want to think about it."



 

 

"I just visualize us being there. I can't think beyond that," she shared, admitting that she has "no idea" whether the show will continue without them, while adding, "I can't imagine. Everybody relates Wheel of Fortune to Pat and Vanna. We're like Ken and Barbie, you know? We've been in everybody's homes for 40 years, so it would be weird having somebody else turn my letters."

Pat Sajak and Vanna White attend Harry Friedman being honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on November 01, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
Pat Sajak and Vanna White attend Harry Friedman being honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on November 01, 2019, in Hollywood, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

 

Nevertheless, she's grateful to have been a part of the iconic series for nearly half a century! "It's incredible. I cannot believe it's been 40 years. Honestly, I've loved every minute of it," she said. "Who still says they love their job after 40 years? Me! I really do. It's a fun show. Everybody watches and enjoys it and it changes people's lives and it makes people happy. So it's a great job."

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