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Pat Sajak Hosts His Final Episode of ‘Wheel of Fortune’

Tonight is Pat Sajak’s final night hosting Wheel of Fortune. The 77-year-old TV personality has been a mainstay on the game show for over 40 years, a TV record.

Sajak announced at this time last year that the 41st season of the show would be his last. And now that year has come to an end.

During his final episode, Sajak thanked viewers for watching him for decades. “It’s been an incredible privilege to be invited into millions of homes night after night, year after year, decade after decade,” he said. “I’ve always felt that the privilege came with a responsibility to keep this daily half hour a safe place for family fun — no social issues, no politics, nothing embarrassing, I hope. Just a game.”

Here is a series of videos that Wheel of Fortune has been sharing throughout the week, where Sajak talks about his tenure on the show and why now was the right time to hang it up.

Here is Vanna White’s farewell to Sajak, which aired this week on the show.

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Sajak, who turned 77 in October, started in radio as a teenager, worked for Armed Forces Radio during the Vietnam War, and then moved into local TV news; he was a weatherman in Los Angeles before he was chosen by Wheel of Fortune creator Merv Griffin to host the series in 1981, replacing Chuck Woolery.

Wheel of Fortune actually originated as a daytime series on NBC, which is the version Woolery hosted before Sajak; the syndicated Wheel launched in the fall of 1983 and has remained an afternoon and early evening fixture there all over the country ever since. (Sajak’s co-host, Vanna White, joined the show in 1982.) A few years ago, Sajak became the longest tenured host in the history of TV game shows, surpassing a record previously held by The Price Is Right host Bob Barker.

Following Sajak’s retirement the new host of the series will be Ryan Seacrest. Vanna White will continue in her role as co-host.

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