After more than four decades at the helm of one of primetime's most popular gameshows, Pat Sajak is retiring. The Wheel of Fortune host announced Monday he's retiring after the upcoming television season. That season, Wheel of Fortune's 41st on air, will premiere later this year as a part of the 2023-2024 season. Season 40 just wrapped on Friday after 190 episodes. It has yet to be unveiled just how many episodes will be a part of Sajak's last season and an exact number would be hard to guess given the past five seasons or so have ranged anywhere from 165 episodes to a staggering 319 episodes.
"Well, the time has come. I've decided that our 41st season, which begins in September, will be my last," Sajak said in a statement shared to his Twitter. "It's been a wonderful ride, and I'll have more to say in the coming months. Many thanks to you all. (If nothing else, it'll keep the clickbait sites busy!)"
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. (If nothing else, it’ll keep the clickbait sites busy!)— Pat Sajak (@patsajak) June 12, 2023
Sajak himself floated the idea of a retirement last September, telling Entertainment Tonight the end was near for him on the show.
"In most television shows by this time, you would have said, 'That's probably enough,' but this show will not die," Sajak said of Wheel of Fortune, which debuted in 1975. "It appears I may go before the show. 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. 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."
Wheel of Fortune has run for just six years without Sajak, who first joined the gameshow in 1981. In the 42 years since, he's been nominated 19 times for an Emmy Award, winning three for Outstanding Game Show Host. ABC also renewed Celebrity Wheel of Fortune earlier this year, a splinter of the primary show featuring celebrities as the contestants.
"Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! are the crown jewels of syndication, drawing larger audiences than almost every prime-time broadcast show," Steve LoCascio, President of CBS Media Ventures said earlier this year. "This new deal is a testament to the power of these shows and the power of broadcast television. Viewers and advertisers alike love these shows, and we are excited that this deal continues the legacy of these brands for years to come."
"We are thrilled to extend our long-running relationship with Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune," Debra O'Connell, president, Disney Networks continued. "These beloved shows are national treasures that we are proud to bring into the top local markets in the country along with ABC's award-winning, market-leading news and entertainment programming."