It’s officially the end of an era for Wheel of Fortune. On June 12, 2023, Pat Sajak announced plans to leave the game show after season 41. Amid the news of his exit, many loyal viewers were wondering who would be taking his place on the program. After rumors began swirling, the show’s new host for season 42 was officially announced on June 27, 2023. 

Why Is Pat Sajak Leaving ‘Wheel of Fortune’?

Pat was named the official host of Wheel of Fortune in 1981 after Chuck Woolery left the show. Vanna White stepped into the cohost role in 1982. For more than four decades, they have solidified their status as one of TV’s most iconic duos and have built a lifelong friendship. 

Pat shockingly announced that he was leaving the syndicated competition series after a historic run. 

“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,” the beloved TV personality said in a statement to Closer.

Pat Sajak Net Worth: 'Wheel of Fortune' Host's Salary
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Though he is stepping away from the hosting role, Pat will still have some involvement in the series. 

“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 amid Pat’s retirement announcement.

She continued, “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!”

The beloved TV personality is looking forward to spending more time with his wife, Lesly Brown, and kids Patrick and Maggie Sajak, after his final episode of the show on June 7, 2024.

“Pat will spend his time enjoying his family and his hobbies,” a friend of the star told Closer ahead of Pat’s final episode. “He loves to travel, to play the occasional game of golf with friends, and do charity work with organizations close to his heart like the USO and PETA.”

Who Is Replacing Pat Sajak on ‘Wheel of Fortune’?

Ryan Seacrest confirmed he will be the new host of Wheel of Fortune in season 42.

“I’m truly humbled to be stepping into the footsteps of the legendary Pat Sajak. I can say, along with the rest of America, that it’s been a privilege and pure joy to watch Pat and Vanna on our television screens for an unprecedented 40 years, making us smile every night and feel right at home with them,” he wrote in a June 27, 2023, Instagram statement. “Pat, I love the way you’ve always celebrated the contestants and made viewers at home feel at ease. I look forward to learning everything I can from you during this transition.”

Prior to this announcement, there were several other guesses as to who would lead the series after Pat’s departure. Vanna was a top contender for the position. The letter-turner temporarily stepped into the lead hosting role in late 2019 when Pat underwent emergency surgery to correct a blocked intestine. She did a fantastic job, earning the praise of fans on Twitter. Her decades of experience on television and huge fan base made her a likely candidate. 

Other fans on Twitter previously speculated that Pat’s daughter would potentially win the hosting role. The youngest Sajak child currently serves as a social correspondent on Wheel of Fortune, a role she will assume again in season 42. Back when her dad was sick, Maggie stepped in as the letter-turner while Vanna took over the main hosting duties.

Who Is Replacing Pat Sajak on ‘Wheel of Fortune’? New Host
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When Is Ryan Seacrest’s 1st ‘Wheel of Fortune’ Episode?

Ryan’s first episode as host will air next fall, with Pat’s full support.

“I’m looking forward to my final season starting this fall, and then handing over the car keys to Ryan Seacrest in September of 2024,” Pat tweeted on June 28, 2023. 

The American Idol host is equally as excited to tackle this new career venture.

“Well, no one can ever do what Pat has done. He is incredible,” Ryan told People in April 2024. “He has made that show just something so very special for so long, and he has done such a seamless, remarkable job, so no one can be him.”

“So do I feel pressure? Sure,” he added. “People love watching him. I want them to keep love watching it, and I hope to do a great job as well.”