Ryan Seacrest Shares the Advice Pat Sajak Gave Him as the Next 'Wheel of Fortune' Host (Exclusive)

The 48-year-old will follow in the legendary host's footsteps beginning in 2024.

Ryan Seacrest still can't believe he's taking over for the legendary Pat Sajak to become the next host of one of television's most iconic games hows, Wheel of Fortune

"I wanna close my eyes and hear you say it," Seacrest tells ET's Rachel Smith when the subject is broached. "I can't believe that's real."

Indeed, it is.

It was back on June 28 when Seacrest confirmed he will be "stepping into the footsteps of the legendary Pat Sajak" beginning in 2024. The 48-year-old television personality also shared in the announcement that longtime Wheel of Fortune letter-turner Vanna White will be staying on as his cohort.

"I'm truly humbled to be stepping into the footsteps of the legendary Pat Sajak," said Seacrest in his message just 16 days after Sajak announced his retirement. "I can say, along with the rest of America, that it's been a privilege and pure joy to watch Pat and Vanna on our television screens for an unprecedented 40 years, making us smile every night and feel right at home with them."

ET spoke with Seacrest on Tuesday in Queens, New York, where the American Idol emcee shared the advice Sajak 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 shared. "I can't wait to meet the contestants and do it."

Seacrest will begin his tenure during season 42. In the meantime, Sajak is enjoying one last victory lap as season 41 is currently underway. Seacrest said that's exactly why they haven't talked about the transition yet.

"He's enjoying his last season," Seacrest said. "I start next year. I think it's a big celebratory season for him and the show."

For the record, Sajak will be sticking around for three years after he steps down as host to serve as a show consultant. 

"So, yeah, he'll be bossing me around," Seacrest quipped. "Why not? I think he deserves that, yeah."

The former Live With Kelly and Ryan host played coy when asked how long he had known about the Wheel gig before the public knew.

"Well, in my dreams I've known about this job for a long time," he joked.

But in all seriousness, Seacrest said the deal came together "quickly."

"It was something that felt, certainly for me, felt like the perfect opportunity," he shared. "I'm glad it felt that way to Sony as well. And it was not difficult or complicated to work out."

But while Seacrest has famously kept himself busy in Hollywood, no job has proven more important than the one he performs as head of the Ryan Seacrest Foundation. When ET spoke with him on Tuesday in Queens, New York, his foundation was unveiling its 13th Seacrest Studios at the Cohen Children's Medical Center. Seacrest has made it his mission to open these state-of-the-art studios at pediatric hospitals across the country, which help patients to explore the creative realms of radio, television and new media. The new Seacrest Studios in Queens is the first of its kind in New York.

"This is the most important gig that I have," said Seacrest of his foundation opening Seacrest Studios at pediatric hospitals. "It's a multi-faceted media center that provides a real escape for the patients and their families."

The children make music and create their own shows. This year alone, 530 unique shows have been created at Seacrest Studios across the country.

Added Seacrest, "And they forget what they're going through and they smile and laugh and have a good time."