Pat Sajak’s farewell season as the host of Wheel of Fortune is upon us! Season 41 of America’s favorite game show will kick off on September 11, with the man who has become synonymous with the game appearing for one last hurrah before Ryan Seacrest takes over in September 2024. There’s no doubt it’s going to be an emotional year — Sajak has appeared on Wheel for longer than some of its viewers have been alive — so as the show celebrated its upcoming premiere on social media, fans didn’t feel the need to hold back their opinions on everything from the incoming host to Vanna White’s ongoing contract negotiations.
Images of Pat Sajak and Vanna White — both of whom have been part of Wheel of Fortune for over four decades — are shown in front of a purple background on Wheel of Fortune’s Instagram page, with just a light sprinkling of confetti falling around them (a tasteful choice, given White’s history of getting whacked in the head with confetti and streamers after a 2021 contestant’s big win). Check out the post below:
The caption reads, “41 never looked so good,” and one could almost be tricked into thinking they were referring to the game show legends’ ages, rather than the number of seasons they’ve been associated with Wheel of Fortune. Fans’ reactions were all over the place, including some comments from those who aren’t exactly looking forward to the big changeover in Season 42, when Ryan Seacrest will step in for the retiring Pat Sajak. Some viewer reactions included:
- Not really watching anymore, won’t be the same without Pat Sajak, understand he wants to retire. Grew up with this show. Another pastime gone. – georgiannsuzanne
- Probably the last season since Ryan Seacrest will tank it and you wont give Vanna a raise 😢 – thereneemh
- Can we ditch Ryan Seacrest? – jaxon_and_captains_adventures
- Not a Seacrest fan so no! – fristoes
Change is hard, and again, with Pat Sajak serving as the host for 41 years, it’s understandable that some simply can’t fathom anyone else in that role, no matter how qualified Ryan Seacrest might be from his plethora of other hosting jobs. Other fans, however, did seem to be looking forward to the Seacrest Era, even if it is still a year away. Other commenters expressed opinions like:
- I think Ryan Seacrest is a great replacement. He is a great communicator. – sewsmalldesignshop
- I cannot wait! Beginning of the next 40?! Something to look forward to and I still love this show! – kingofthemilehicity
- I’m looking forward in one way and dreading it in another!!❤️❤️❤️ – spazycat98
- Can’t wait to see Ryan Seacrest host this new season of Wheel of Fortune. – arose4deb
Many people relayed their hopes that Pat Sajak’s final year would be one to remember, and one thing the fans and producers seem to agree on is that the longer the powers that be at Wheel of Fortune fail to find common ground with Vanna White regarding her contract, the harder it will be to give Sajak the celebratory, drama-free sendoff everyone is hoping for. As Instagram user schnuddanaze wrote:
It’s been reported that Vanna White hasn’t received a traditional pay raise in 18 years. With the famed letter-turner allegedly making $3 million a season — one-fifth of Pat Sajak’s reported $15 million — White has sought legal assistance in renegotiating for Season 42 and possibly beyond. If the reports are to be believed, it appears that Wheel of Fortune is balking at the $7.5 million she’s allegedly asking for (though some sources have said that number might actually be much higher).
All we can do is wait to see how that situation plays out, but either way, the premiere of Pat Sajak’s final season is mere days away, kicking off on Monday, September 11. Check your local listings to see when and where to find Wheel of Fortune in your area, and tune in for what is likely to be an emotional season — for the fans and those on the screen.