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Pat Sajak Spins His Final ‘Wheel of Fortune’ After 41 Iconic Seasons

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It’s the end of an era as legendary host Pat Sajak prepares to bid farewell to “Wheel of Fortune” this Friday after an incredible 41 seasons at the helm. The 77-year-old is retiring from the iconic letter-turning game show, having hosted over 8,000 episodes since taking over in 1981.

Sajak’s retirement was announced nearly a year ago, giving him time to prepare for this momentous farewell. In an interview with his daughter Maggie, who joined as the show’s social correspondent in 2021, Sajak called his four-decade run “awfully gratifying” while admitting it’s been “a little bit wistful.”

The Army veteran never expected “Wheel” to become the cultural phenomenon it is today when he took over from original host Chuck Woolery. “Somewhere along the line, we became more than a popular show; we became part of the popular culture,” Sajak reflected.

From contestants’ frequent requests to “buy a vowel” becoming part of the vernacular to Pat Sajak and co-host Vanna White being parodied across TV and film, their impact is undeniable. Sajak’s witty rapport and the occasional viral moments only added to his celebrity over the years.

While he’s not sure what the secret was to “Wheel’s” runaway success, Sajak is grateful to have been part of a show that became “part of people’s lives” for over 40 years. His final episode airs Friday, with a proper farewell segment taped for viewers.

The show will go on, however, with White remaining as co-host. In September, Ryan Seacrest will take over as host, paying respect to Pat Sajak as he inherits one of TV’s most iconic roles: “No one can replace him. I just want to continue to have fun with those contestants.”

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