Ryan Seacrest to Replace Pat Sajak as 'Wheel of Fortune' Host

The 'American Idol' emcee will take over hosting duties on the iconic game show after Sajak retires following the upcoming season.

Ryan Seacrest has been tapped to replace Pat Sajak as host of Wheel of Fortune.

Seacrest announced the news Tuesday, confirming that he will be "stepping into the footsteps of the legendary Pat Sajak" beginning 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," Seacrest opened his message. "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."

The American Idol host then directed his note to Sajak, who announced on June 12 he was retiring following the beloved game show's upcoming 41st season. "Pat, I love the way you've always celebrated the contestants and made viewers at home feel at ease. I look forward to learning everything I can from you during this transition," Seacrest wrote. 

"Many people probably don't know this but one of my first jobs was hosting a little game show called Click for Merv Griffin 25 years ago so this is truly a full circle moment for me," he continued, "and I'm grateful to Sony for the opportunity."

"I can't wait to continue the tradition of spinning the wheel and working alongside the great Vanna White," Seacrest ended his note.

Seacrest will officially take over as host in season 42 and will also serve as consulting producer on the show.

Though Sajak will be stepping down as host after the conclusion of season 41, which premieres in September, he will remain a consultant on the game show for three years.

“We are ecstatic to have Ryan as the next host of Wheel of Fortune. Ryan loves Wheel as much as we do and is the perfect person to continue the show’s four-decade success into the future," said Ravi Ahuja, Chairman of Global Television Studios at Sony Pictures, in a statement.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Pat and Vanna for many years, witnessing their effortless ability to bring joy and humor to Wheel of Fortune for decades! Pat has been an incredible host and helped build the show into the success it is today. While Ryan has some big shoes to fill, I’m confident he will connect with our loyal fanbase and excite a whole new audience as we expand upon the show’s great legacy. I couldn’t be more thrilled," said Suzanne Prete, Executive VP of Game Shows at Sony Pictures Television, in a statement.

Seacrest emerged as a frontrunner soon after Sajak announced his retirement, with the former Live! co-host reportedly "talking" to Wheel of Fortune producers amid a search for the legendary host's replacement, according to a tweet by a Bloomberg reporter.

"If Ryan Seacrest wants this job, it sort of goes hand in hand with what happened with Live! With Kelly and Ryan. He wanted to move back to L.A. He's back in L.A. The show shoots in L.A.," Variety's senior culture & events editor Marc Malkin told ET on June 13 of Seacrest's chances.

"We know Ryan is personable. We know he knows these kinds of formats really well. And Ryan, he's the brand people know," Malkin added. "Ryan Seacrest on Wheel of Fortune... That's a pretty good bet too."

News of Seacrest being named Sajak's heir comes a little over two months after he left Live!, the daytime talk show he co-hosted with Kelly Ripa for six years. He moved back to Los Angeles, where he continues to emcee American Idol, host his daily morning radio show on L.A. radio station KIIS-FM, On Air With Ryan Seacrest, and the nationally syndicated American Top 40 With Ryan Seacrest. Seacrest continues to host the annual live broadcast of Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest, which he has done since 2005.

ET spoke with Sajak last September, where the 76-year-old admitted retirement was a topic that had been on his mind in recent years.

"In most television shows by this time, you would have said, 'That’s probably enough,' but this show will not die," he said at the time 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," Sajak hinted. "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."