Pat Sajak Shares Plans After Retiring From 'Wheel of Fortune,' Including Doing Crossword Puzzles

Pat Sajak chats with his daughter, Maggie Sajak, about his retirement plans after his final 'Wheel of Fortune' episode airs Friday.

In an emotional farewell interview, Pat Sajak, the iconic host of Wheel of Fortune, sat down with his daughter, Maggie Sajak, to reflect on his illustrious 41-season run. As he prepares for his final episodes to air this week, Sajak shared his thoughts on retirement and the game show's lasting impact on pop culture.

Pat revealed to his daughter, who joined the Wheel of Fortune team as the show's social correspondent in 2021, that he is at peace with his decision to step down, having announced in June 2023 that the 41st season would be his last.

"This was announced a long time ago, almost a year ago. So I've had time to sort of get used to it. And it's been a little bit wistful and all that, but I'm enjoying it and taking it all in and reflecting on the great run," Pat said in the interview that aired on Monday's Good Morning America.

Reflecting on his time with the show, Pat expressed his gratitude for the success and cultural significance Wheel of Fortune has achieved. "Somewhere along the line, we became more than a popular show. We became part of the popular culture. And more importantly, we became part of people's lives. And, that's been awfully gratifying," he said.

Pat also discussed his decision to retire, emphasizing his desire to leave while still at the top of his game. "I've always said to you, you've heard me say this dozens of times, 'I'd rather leave a couple years too early than a couple of years too late,'" he told Maggie. "It's been a great 40 years, and I'm looking forward to whatever's ahead."

In a lighter moment, the 77-year-old beloved game show host joked about his retirement plans, which include enjoying simple pleasures like crossword puzzles and spending time with future grandchildren. "I'm perfectly happy if it just means that I'll continue with my crossword puzzles and play with grandchildren. Hint hint hint, no pressure," he teased his daughter.

Pat Sajak - Getty

Pat has served as host of Wheel of Fortune since 1981, when he took over the position from Chuck Woolery. Pat, who earned 19 Daytime Emmy Award nominations and three for Outstanding Game Show Host, shared with ET in September 2022 that his time as host was soon coming to an end.

"In most television shows by this time, you would have said, 'That’s probably enough,' but this show will not die," he said of Wheel of Fortune, which premiered in 1975. "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," Pat said. "It's an honor to have been in people's living rooms for that long. People were out there welcoming us. We're happy and proud."

Pat Sajak - Getty

Pat's final episode as host of Wheel of Fortune will air on Friday, coinciding with the season 41 finale. Following his departure, Ryan Seacrest is set to take over the hosting duties in the fall.

ET spoke with Seacrest in September, when the American Idol host shared the advice Pat offered him upon taking the job.

"He is a legend. I've looked up to him forever. He's so good at that job, which, you know, is a little bit of pressure here. But he just said, 'You're going to have a great time. It's so much fun. What's better than giving away money and doing that every single night?'" Seacrest said. "I can't wait to meet the contestants and do it."

Seacrest will be joined by Wheel of Fortune staple Vanna White, who in September closed on a new deal that will take her through the 2025-2026 season. White joined the show in 1982, one year after the show premiered, and she's undoubtedly synonymous with the game show.