UPDATE: Ryan Seacrest will take over for Sajak. What a shocker! Ryan has another job. Does the man ever sleep?
You've probably heard by now that Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak has decided to hang it up.What's the matter Pat? Did spinning that big wheel hurt your elbows in your old age and you just couldn't take it anymore? Don't feel too bad. We're ALL aging. Some more gracefully than others. You'll have lots of time to do what you want to do. How about an appearance with Dr. Phil? A part time job bagging groceries at Trader Joe's? Or perhaps learn how to play pickleball. Ya know, it's all the rage. Maybe challenge Vanna to a game or two. I'm certain she'd beat the stuffing out of you then flash her million dollar smile as you have a meltdown and throw your paddle across the court. (think tennis bad boy John McEnroe). "Duck Vanna...duck!"
OK, all of the above snarkiness is just a joke from yours truly. I was never a Sajak fan boy, but let's give him (and Vanna) props. He hosted Wheel for 40 years. 40 years! That really IS amazing. Imagine the backstage stories he has. As we know, they tape multiple shows in one day. Pat confirmed that he and Vanna use to go knock back a few drinks from time to time before the tapings. Back in 2012, he had this to say on an ESPN talk show...
"Vanna and I would… have two or three or six [drinks] and then come and do the last shows and have trouble recognizing the alphabet,” Sajak said. “I had a great time."
Pat's 76 now and he says he'll be doing one more season of Wheel and that starts taping in September. He'll then be a behind the scenes consultant for 3 years. Consultant? The new guy doesn't look happy enough. I don't like the way he spins the wheel. He has a crooked smile.
His backstory is interesting. He was a southern California weatherman way back displaying his great sense of humour on screen when the Wheel of Fortune creator, the late talk show host Merv Griffin spotted him on TV. While auditions were held for a host, Merv insisted that Pat get the job. Apparently, there was a bit of "tug of war" between Merv and the shows producers; some saying Sajak was too "local" and the rest of America had no idea who he was. As owner and creator of Wheel, Merv certainly had plenty of leverage. Sajak got the job. Merv was a midas touch businessman. Not only did he create and own Wheel, but "Jeopardy" as well. Growing up, I use to watch him on TV after school as he interviewed some of that days biggest stars. The great record producer and executive, Clive Davis, came on and said he had an amazing singer backstage that he was introducing to the world. It turned out to be Whitney Houston. She sang that day, and of course, absolutely killed it. If memory serves me correctly, she sang "Saving All My Love For You."
So, Pat will go through his final season, number 41, and they'll have plenty of time to give him a proper send-off. In fact, I predict some will complain before all the hoopla is over, they've heard enough about his departure already. "Go! Just go Pat! And here's a big, wet kiss on the cheek to boot!"
Applause from this corner Pat, and congrats on your record breaking 41 years on Wheel. Your fans will surely miss you. Word is Vanna will stay on.