"Wheel of Fortune" Fans Think They Know Who's Replacing Pat Sajak
The host is stepping down after 40 years of emceeing the game show.
A major change is on the way for one of the longest-running game shows on TV. After hosting the program for 40 years, Pat Sajak is leaving Wheel of Fortune after one more season. He shared the news publicly on June 12, explaining that he would return for the 41st season of the show, which begins in September 2023 and airs through June 2024.
Of course, the news that Pat is leaving brings up a major question: Who will replace him? Fans seem to think that they know who will be named his successor. Read on to learn about the two most popular theories and why they may or may not be on the right track.
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Pat announced his impending retirement on Monday.
On June 12, Pat announced that he would be stepping down as the host of Wheel of Fortune. The 76-year-old began hosting the daytime version of the show in 1981 and the syndicated version in 1983. His co-host Vanna White has been around nearly as long—she joined the show in 1982.
"Well, the time has come," Pat shared in a statement, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter. "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!)"
While Pat won't be on stage with contestants after this season, he'll stay on as a consultant for three additional years.
Fans think his daughter will take over.
Naturally, the news of Pat leaving Wheel got viewers talking about who might replace him. As reported by The U.S. Sun, some fans think they know who will take over: Pat's daughter, Maggie Sajak, who's already employed by Wheel of Fortune.
In 2021, Maggie joined the show as its social media correspondent. Her duties include sharing behind-the-scenes videos and extra content online, as well as interacting with viewers. Maggie has also co-hosted the show before. When Pat was out due to surgery, White took his place while Maggie stepped into White's shoes as the letter-turner.
On Twitter, Wheel of Fortune viewers have theorized that Maggie will get the full-time job and some have endorsed that choice. "I'm betting @MaggieSajak gets the nod," reads one tweet. "@MaggieSajak has my vote!" reads another. "It will be Maggie Sajak. Book it," someone else wrote.
But she may have other professional plans.
It remains to be seen whether Maggie will remain involved with Wheel of Fortune and in what capacity, but she recently reached a different professional milestone. In May, the 28-year-old graduated from law school. Alongside an Instagram photo of herself in her cap and gown, she wrote, "Let the lawyer jokes begin…"
In response to her dad's news, Maggie tweeted, "It's so much fun working with my dad…and we're looking forward to even more fun in Season 41."
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She's not the only popular guess, however.
A different theory also emerged on social media. Some Twitter users posited that Maggie should take White's role, while White takes Pat's—just like they did when Pat was away.
"Here's my theory about Wheel of Fortune now that Pat Sajak is retiring: Vanna becomes the host and Pat's daughter Maggie becomes the new Vanna," someone posted. Another viewer wrote, "I think Vanna White should take over hosting the wheel while Maggie Sajak takes over the letter board."
White's future with the show is unclear at the moment.
White hasn't said anything about whether or not she'll stay on after Sajak leaves, but she did write a supportive reply to his news. In response to his announcement, the 66-year-old tweeted on June 13, "When we started @WheelofFortune who could have imagined we'd still be at it 41 seasons later? I couldn't be happier to have shared the stage with you for all these years with one more to come. Cheers to you, @patsajak!"
In the recent past, however, the co-hosts agreed in an interview that they would be reluctant to do the show without each other. "I can't imagine doing the show without Pat," White told Access Hollywood in 2021. "Yeah, we've talked about it," Pat added, "and we'll probably walk off into the sunset at the same time."
Even more recently, in December 2022, White spoke to People about the idea of leaving the show. "I don't even want to think about that," she said. "I mean, we're a team. That's depressing. I don't even want to think about it."
She added of the show going on without her and Pat, "I can't imagine. Everybody relates Wheel of Fortune to Pat and Vanna. We're like Ken and Barbie, you know? We've been in everybody's homes for 40 years, so it would be weird having somebody else turn my letters."