UPDATE: 6/28/23 12:52 p.m. ET.
Sajak sent his well-wishes to Seacrest on Wednesday, June 28, following confirmation that Seacrest will be his Wheel of Fortune replacement.
“I’m looking forward to my final season starting this fall,” Sajak tweeted. “And then handing over the car keys to Ryan Seacrest in September of 2024.”
Original story below:
“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 [White] on our television screens for an unprecedented 40 years, making us smile every night and feel right at home with them,” Seacrest said in Sony Pictures Television’s press release. “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.”
He added: “I can’t wait to continue the tradition of spinning the wheel and working alongside the great Vanna White.”
Earlier this month, Sajak, 76, announced that the upcoming season of the game show, which is set to begin airing in September, will be his last.
“It’s been a wonderful ride, and I’ll have more to say in the coming months,” the Daytime Emmy winner said of his departure in a statement to Bloomberg News on June 12. “Many thanks to you all.”
The beloved series debuted in 1975 with Chuck Woolery as the host. Sajak took over the show in 1981 and has been hosting the daytime program ever since.
“It’s an honor to have been in people’s living rooms for that long,” he told Entertainment Tonight in September 2022 after hinting that the end was near. “People were out there welcoming us. We’re happy and proud.”
Sajak — who broke the Guinness World Record for longest-running game show host in 2019 — has become synonymous with Wheel of Fortune as has White, 66. The hostess joined the show in 1982 and has been famously turning the letters on the show’s puzzle board for decades. White also filled in for Sajak in 2019 when he underwent emergency surgery to correct a blocked intestine.
Despite being a pivotal part of the show, rumors circulated in June that higher-ups at Sony were considering “eliminating” White’s role after Sajak retires, according to a report from Puck.
Us Weekly confirmed on Friday, June 23, however, that White’s role was not in jeopardy. “There’s no truth to the rumors that with Pat’s retirement, Wheel of Fortune plans on eliminating Vanna in any way, shape or form,” a source close to production told Us, adding. “They’re currently in negotiations with Vanna.”
“I want you all to know, it’s not lost on me how fortunate I am. Fortunate to have had this seat next to you, Kel, for six years. You’re incompatible. There’s no one like you,” the radio host said during his final episode of the ABC talk show. “I’ve spent my entire career talking … but today, it’s hard to put into words how deeply I’ve appreciated being here and being with you, being invited into your homes every day to try to deliver a smile or a laugh or two. I’m honored to be a part of this family.”
Seacrest was subsequently replaced by Kelly Ripa’s husband, Mark Consuelos, and the talk show was renamed Live With Kelly and Mark. The Georgia native, meanwhile, remains the host of both American Idol and On Air With Ryan Seacrest.
Wheel of Fortune is set to return for season 41 on ABC in September.