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Ryan Seacrest Replaces Pat Sajak as New Host of ‘Wheel of Fortune’

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On Tuesday, deft Hollywood emcee Ryan Seacrest was named the next host of “Wheel of Fortune” in 2024, succeeding longtime host Pat Sajak.

The producer of the show, Sony Pictures Television, took a big gamble on “Wheel of Fortune” by choosing a star like Mr. Seacrest. The show has shown remarkable durability despite the decline of traditional television for streaming entertainment.

The swift decision by Sony executives, two weeks after Sajak announced his resignation next year, also signaled their desire to avoid the succession fiasco that nearly overwhelmed another of their hit game shows, Jeopardy.

Mr. Sajak’s longtime “Wheel of Fortune” co-host Vanna White, who has one year remaining on his contract, is in talks to continue hosting the show, said a person with knowledge of the talks, who asked not to be named. .

It’s an honor to be able to follow in the footsteps of the legendary Pat Sajak. “I can’t wait to continue the tradition and work with the great Vanna White,” Mr. Seacrest said in a statement. “

In replacing Mr Sayak, Mr Seacrest will face a test: He will replace a host who is almost synonymous with the show, like Bob Barker’s “The Price Is Right” Or Alex Trebek’s “Jeopardy!”

Former Los Angeles weather forecasters Mr. Sajak and Ms. White came to Wheel of Fortune in the early 1980s and made the show a hit. Within a few years, “Wheel of Fortune” spawned board games, video games, casino slot machines, and eventually a prime-time spinoff, “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune.”

Although the “Wheel of Fortune” is no longer what it used to be in American culture — in its heyday 1980sthe game show has more than 40 million viewers a night — and remains one of the most popular entertainment shows on TV.

In its most recent season, “Wheel of Fortune” averaged 8.6 million viewers a night, just shy of “Jeopardy”‘s 9.1 million, according to Nielsen. Those viewers are nearly as large as anything on prime-time television, aside from football games.

Hosting a popular game show, requiring only a few days of work each month, is one of the most coveted jobs in all of the entertainment industry. Getting the job adds to Seacrest’s resume, which has included daytime talk show host, competition series host, red carpet interviewer, radio host and New Year’s Eve emcee.

This year, Mr. Seacrest left his morning show, Live, which he co-hosted with Kelly Ripa. Six years of successful operation. He went on to host ABC’s “American Idol,” which, according to Nielsen, drew more than 6 million viewers in its last season.

When Sajak announced on June 12 that he was leaving the show, many in the entertainment industry thought the search for his successor could take months. Still, succession speculation began immediately, with many “Wheel of Fortune” fans calling on social media for Ms. White to take over as host.parker reports last week She’s negotiating a new “Wheel of Fortune” contract.

Two weeks ago, Joy Behar said on “The View” that her co-host Whoopi Goldberg was interested in hosting “Wheel of Fortune,” highlighting the Celebrity entertainers are eager for this position.

“I want that job,” Ms. Goldberg replied categorically, drawing cheers from the studio audience. “I thought it would be fun.”

after mr trebek Died in 2020, Sony unveiled a rotating cast of potential Jeopardy! Successors, who serve as guest hosts for a week or two at a time. In 2021, Sony announced that show executive producer Mike Richards will take over hosting duties for Jeopardy.

But within days, amid a public outcry, reports emerged that Mr Richards had made a series of sexist and offensive remarks years earlier, and he was removed from the kicked out of work – First as the show host and then as the show’s executive producer.It took nearly another year for Sony to Announce Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik will be the permanent hosts of Jeopardy.

Last year, drama surrounding Jeopardy continued to emerge. The show has stabilized and ratings have remained strong.

two weeks ago, Mr. Jennings was asked “The View” should succeed Mr. Sajak.

“It’s an interesting question,” Mr Jennings said, adding: “Wish there was an envelope for ‘Wheels’ that said ‘What to do when Pat puts it in.'”

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