“Well, the time has come. I’ve decided that our 41st season, which begins in September, will be my last. It’s been a wonderful ride, and I’ll have more to say in the coming months. Many thanks to you all,” Pat, 76, said in a statement to Closer on Monday, June 12.
“As the host of Wheel of Fortune, Pat has entertained millions of viewers across America for 40 amazing years. We are incredibly grateful and proud to have had Pat as our host for all these years and we look forward to celebrating his outstanding career throughout the upcoming season,” Suzanne Prete, Executive Vice President of Game Shows at Sony Pictures Television told Closer upon Pat’s retirement announcement.
Even though he will no longer be hosting the show, the beloved TV personality will be keeping ties with the place he’s called home for more than four decades. “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 remaining close to the Wheel of Fortune family!” Suzanne added.
Wheel of Fortune first hit the airwaves on January 6, 1975, with game show veteran Chuck Woolery as the host. He left the program after six years in 1981 over a salary dispute. Pat was working in Los Angeles as a local news weatherman at KNBC-TV and caught the attention of the show’s creator and executive producer, Merv Griffin. While the network initially fought the hiring, Merv’s savvy eye for talent won out and Pat got the hosting gig on Wheel of Fortune.
The Chicago native hinted in a September 2022 interview with Entertainment Tonight that his time with Wheel of Fortune could be coming to an end.
“It appears I may go before the show,” he told the outlet. “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 continued adding, “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.”