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Pat Sajak Returns This Fall for Celebrity Wheel of Fortune

Pat Sajak is set to host one more season of Celebrity Wheel of Fortune, marking the end of his extensive tenure with the show. Having retired from Wheel of Fortune in June, Sajak plans to return for one final round on the celebrity version of the popular game show. This decision was revealed in ABC’s fall schedule announcement, which also detailed the network’s unscripted shows and new scripted series set to launch in September. Other popular programs like Abbott Elementary are scheduled to premiere in October.

It’s unclear whether Sajak’s return to Celebrity Wheel of Fortune was always planned, if it was a recent decision, or if it relates to Ryan Seacrest’s contract. Seacrest is poised to take over as the host of Wheel of Fortune in its upcoming 42nd season but has not yet commenced his hosting duties.

There is also speculation that Sajak might return for special episodes in the future, similar to how Mayim Bialik occasionally steps in for Ken Jennings on Jeopardy!. Sajak, alongside his co-host Vanna White, has been a mainstay on the series since the early 1980s. Sajak took over from the original host Chuck Woolery in 1981, and White joined him a year later. After Sajak made his retirement official, the network announced that Seacrest would be his successor.

“I’m truly humbled to be stepping into the footsteps of the legendary Pat Sajak,” Seacrest said at the time. “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. 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 has yet to host his first episode of the syndicated Wheel of Fortune series, set to resume in the fall. Celebrity Wheel of Fortune will premiere on October 7. According to The Hollywood Reporter, who initially broke the news, none of Sajak’s final episodes have been taped yet. The show will air on Monday nights whenever ABC does not have a Monday Night Football game.

Vanna White has decided to stay on at least temporarily. Reflecting on his long career, Sajak remarked, “In most television shows by this time, you would have said, ‘That’s probably enough,’ but this show will not die. 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. 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.”

Source: ABC, The Hollywood Reporter