A franchise full of famous faces! Pat Sajak shockingly announced his exit from Wheel of Fortune after more than four decades on the game show. Ryan Seacrest was named the new host of the long-running series shortly after. Over the years, the franchise has seen a number of notable stars take the stage to lead contestants in the word puzzle phenomenon.
“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,” Pat said in a statement to Closer on June 12, 2023.
Ryan is set to take over hosting duties in season 42, which will air on television in September 2024. The American Idol host revealed his excitement for his new role in an Instagram post and the opportunity to work alongside costar Vanna White.
“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 on our television screens for an unprecedented 40 years, making us smile every night and feel right at home with them,” he wrote in a statement on June 27, 2023. “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.”
For Ryan, signing on to lead Wheel of Fortune was a full-circle moment.
“Many people probably don’t know this but one of my first jobs was hosting a little game show called Clic for Merv Griffin 25 years ago, so this is truly a full circle moment for me and I am grateful to Sony for the opportunity,” the radio host continued. “I can’t wait to continue the tradition of spinning the wheel and working alongside the great Vanna White.”
More than a decade before Pat left the program, he remarked that Ryan would ultimately be his replacement. “Seacrest is on speed dial,” he quipped during a 2012 Wheel of Fortune episode. While he was only joking back then, Pat was glad to see his idea come to fruition.
“I’m looking forward to my final season starting this fall, and then handing over the car keys to Ryan Seacrest in September of 2024,” the beloved game show icon tweeted on June 28, 2023.
While Pat has been the face of the fun-filled competition program for many years, he was not the only celebrity to serve as host.
Scroll below to see all of the Wheel of Fortune hosts over the years.