There was an unexpected amount of drama surrounding the search to find a replacement for Alex Trebek after the legendary host of Jeopardy! passed away from cancer in 2020.
The fairly tumultuous process (which ultimately ended with Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik being selected to co-host the game show) stood in stark contrast to the attitude of a show Trebek had helmed since 1984 thanks to the calming atmosphere his presence injected into the beloved program.
Some of the controversy surrounding the selection process could be attributed to the parasocial relationship many Jeopardy! viewers fostered with Trebek over the years, and while Jennings (and, based on what many viewers have to say, to a much lesser extent) Bialik have done a solid job carrying the torch, the show will never really be the same without him.
As a self-admitted Jeopardy! elitist, I can’t say I really had any strong feelings after learning Pat Sajak was gearing up to step down as the host of Wheel of Fortune following a 41-season run that kicked off all the way back in 1981 earlier this week.
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!)
— Pat Sajak (@patsajak) June 12, 2023
The fact that Sajak has manned The Wheel for over four decades while routinely dealing with some bafflingly incompetent contestants is a testament to his abilities, although I think he’d be the first person to admit his job doesn’t require the same amount of time and attention Trebek devoted to his.
With that said, plenty of people are still curious about the person who will succeed him on Wheel of Fortune, and if TMZ is to be believed, producers already have a replacement in mind in the form of a television veteran who knows a thing or two about hosting a show.
The outlet reports Ryan Seacrest is currently one of the favorites to take over Wheel of Fortune when Sajak officially departs, and it doesn’t seem like a stretch to assume the affable personality who’s hosted American Idol since 2001 (and also worked on a couple of short-lived game shows) wouldn’t have much trouble fitting in.
Seacrest and Sony have apparently already started discussing the possibility, so I guess we’ll have to wait and see how things pan out.