Pat Sajak, the host of Wheel of Fortune, is to step down from the presenting role, leaving the show after his 41st season.
Sajak has hosted the show since the series began in 1981, with Vanna White joining him as co-host in 1983. Although Sajak will soon be leaving that role, he will continue on the series as a consultant for three more years.
Sajak announced the news on Twitter, writing: "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!)"
76-year-old Sajak became the longest-running host of a game show in 2018, surpassing Bob Barker in his role as the host of The Price Is Right.
Meanwhile Suzanne Prete, executive vice president of game shows at Sony Pictures Television, said in a statement: "As the host of ‘Wheel of Fortune,’ Pat has entertained millions of viewers across America for 40 amazing years.
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"We are incredibly grateful and proud to have had Pat as our host for all these years and we look forward to celebrating his outstanding career throughout the upcoming season. Pat has agreed to continue as a consultant on the show for three years following his last year hosting, so we’re thrilled to have him remaining close to the ‘Wheel of Fortune’ family!"
According to Sony, the series, in which a wheel is spun to determine which prizes can be won by solving puzzles, is still watched by 26 million viewers weekly.
Sajak hinted that he could be leaving the show back in September 2022 in an interview with Entertainment Tonight, saying: "In most television shows by this time, you would have said, 'That’s probably enough,' but this show will not die. 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 honour to have been in people's living rooms for that long. People were out there welcoming us. We're happy and proud."
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