Atlanta native Ryan Seacrest replacing Pat Sajak on ‘Wheel of Fortune’

Sajak’s final new episode airs June 7.

Atlanta native Ryan Seacrest this fall will take over for Pat Sajak as host of “Wheel of Fortune.”

Sajak’s final new episode airs Friday, June 7, with repeats running through the summer. Locally, the show is on 11Alive (WXIA-TV) at 7 p.m. Sajak, 77, taped more than 8,000 episodes over 41 seasons going back to late 1981.

His letter turner Vanna White, 67, is remaining on the show.

“I can’t wait to continue the tradition of spinning the wheel and working alongside the great Vanna White,” said Seacrest, who grew up in Dunwoody and graduated Dunwoody High School in 1992, when he made the official announcement last year.

Seacrest’s name popped up as a candidate soon after Sajak’s retirement announcement.

The producers didn’t surprise anyone with Sajak’s replacement. Seacrest has a similar personality to that of Sajak: pleasant, amiable, not obtrusive. Seacrest’s approach has worked well for his 22 seasons on “American Idol,” his syndicated radio show and ABC’s Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest.

Seacrest, 49, last year stepped down as co-host of “Live” on ABC with Kelly Ripa after six seasons, giving him more time for a gig like this.

But a show like “Wheel of Fortune” is not a major time commitment for Seacrest. It’s taped over a span of about 35 shooting days and seven weeks. They typically record five shows a day.

“Wheel of Fortune” remains one of the most popular game shows, drawing almost as many viewers as “Jeopardy.” This quick succession move is in sharp contrast to the elongated process the “Jeopardy” producers went through after Alex Trebek stepped down three years ago before picking a combo of Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik. (Jennings earlier in 2024 became sole host.)

How much Seacrest is getting paid has not been announced. Forbes estimated in 2016 that Sajak was getting compensated a generous $15 million a year at the time.