‘The Time Has Come to Say Goodbye’: Pat Sajak Bids Farewell to ‘Wheel of Fortune’


On Friday night, Pat Sajak said goodbye to “Wheel of Fortune,” expressing gratitude to the countless viewers who had tuned in during his more than 40 years at the helm. “Thank you for allowing me into your lives,” he said.

After the final game on his watch concluded, Sajak returned from a final commercial break and addressed the camera directly. “Well, the time has come to say goodbye,” he said. “It’s been an incredible privilege to be invited into millions of homes night after night, year after year, decade after decade. I always felt that the privilege came with the responsibility to keep this daily half-hour a safe place for family fun. No social issues, no politics, nothing embarrassing I hope, just a game.”

Still, Sajak, who began his run in 1981, acknowledged that “Wheel of Fortune” had evolved into more than just frivolous, fleeting fun for many. “It became,” he said, “a place where kids learned their letters, where people from other countries honed their English skills, where families came together along with friends and neighbors, and entire generations.”

He praised the show’s crew and thanked his family, including his daughter Maggie, who joined “Wheel” as a social correspondent in 2021. And he of course had many kind words for his co-star of more than four decades, Vanna White, whom he called his “professional other half.” (The farewell episode was filmed in early April.)

“Like me, she takes the show very seriously but not herself,” Sajak said. “I shudder to think what these 40-plus years might have been like had they brought someone in all full of themselves, playing the prima donna role. Vanna is as sweet and unassuming as she seems.” (He noted that while he’ll miss seeing her at work, they’ll see plenty of each other: They live about five miles apart.) They embraced onstage after his remarks as the episode ended like any other, with the two of them speaking to each other as the credits rolled.

On Thursday night, it was White who, through tears, took a moment to address Sajak directly.

“I can’t believe that tomorrow is our last show together,” she said. “Eight thousand episodes went by like that. When I first started, I was so green. You made me so comfortable and made me so confident, Pat. You made me who I am, you really did.”

While they had grown up side by side onscreen, she reminisced, it was the memories made behind the scenes — the milestones and family events — that were the best parts. “We’ve watched our children grow up together. We’ve traveled all over the world. We’ve eaten hundreds of meals together. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve celebrated. Oh, gosh. What an incredible and unforgettable journey we’ve had,” she said. “You’re like a brother to me, and I consider you a true lifelong friend who I will always adore. I love you, Pat.”

In his message to viewers, Sajak added that with summer reruns about to air, “Wheel” watchers won’t soon forget him.

“The jokes will be the same,” he said, “but I’d appreciate it if you’d laugh again anyway.”

Episodes with the show’s new host, Ryan Seacrest, will kick off in September.




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