The next Wheel of Fortune host has been found, and it’s one of the most familiar faces on TV: Ryan Seacrest, the longtime host of American Idol and former daytime host of Live! With Kelly and Ryan, will be stepping up to the wheel.
The news comes just a week after Pat Sajak announced his retirement after 40 years as host; the upcoming season ending in 2024 will be his last.
Two people familiar with the plan told the New York Times that Seacrest had been chosen as the host by executives at Sony Pictures Television. The anonymous sources also said that Vanna White, whose contract is up next year, is in negotiations to continue with the show as co-host.
The quick announcement of a new host is in contrast with the show’s sister program Jeopardy!, which underwent a long search for a successor to the late Alex Trebek, which involved a long string of celebrity guest hosts and the ousting of the eventual pick, former executive producer Mike Richards.
By contrast, Wheel of Fortune has the next host lined up a year in advance, which should set up a smoother transition to a new era for the show.
Seacrest had previously been reported as a frontrunner, while celebrities like Whoopi Goldberg and Andy Cohen also threw their hat in the ring. Many fans supported longtime co-host Vanna White for the job.
Mr. Sajak has hosted since 1983, helping to make Wheel of Fortune one of the most enduring game shows in TV history and a continued syndicated ratings success. He announced his upcoming retirement with a tweet on June 12.
“It’s been a wonderful ride, and I’ll have more to say in the coming months. Many thanks to you all,” he wrote.
Well, the time has come. I’ve decided that our 41st season, which begins in September, will be my last. It’s been a wonderful ride, and I’ll have more to say in the coming months. Many thanks to you all. (If nothing else, it’ll keep the clickbait sites busy!)— Pat Sajak (@PatOnWheel) June 12, 2023
The timing was opportune for Seacrest: in April, he bid farewell to his co-hosting stint on Live opposite Kelly Ripa, a job he had held since 2017, citing the difficulty of filming the morning talk show in New York City while living in Los Angeles, where he also hosts American Idol.
Wheel tapes its episodes in Culver City, California, making it a suitable new gig for Seacrest.
No official announcement has been made from anyone in the show.
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