What Happened to Pat Sajak on Wheel of Fortune? He Mysteriously Left Mid-Show and Was Replaced by Someone Familiar

Where did Pat Sajak go? Fans were rightfully puzzled when Pat Sajak left before the bonus round on the episode that aired on April 26, 2023. What happened to Pat Sajak on Wheel of Fortune? Many are speculating that this could be the beginning of the end of the host’s 42-year run.

ABC’s Wheel of Fortune, the American game show created by Merv Griffin, has aired continuously since January 1975. In the competition, contestants can spin the giant carnival wheel and call a consonant, buy a vowel for $250 or solve the puzzle. Each contestant is worth the cash value of what the wheel lands on. They can continue spinning the wheel until they miss a letter, spin a bankrupt or lose a turn. In 2008, the million-dollar grand prize wedge was added to the wheel, allowing contestants the opportunity to become millionaires.

Wheel of Fortune is hosted by Pat Sajak and Vanna White, who have anchored the nighttime version since its debut in 1983. Sajak hinted that he might exit as host at the end of Season 40.

“Years go by fast. We’re getting near the end. It’s been a long [time]. We’re not going to do this for another 40 years. The end is near,” he told Entertainment Tonight in September 2022.

Sajak’s cohost, White, had an opposite response to her famous counterpart. “I just visualize us just being there. I can’t think beyond that… I can’t imagine. Everybody relates Wheel of Fortune to Pat and Vanna. We’re like Ken and Barbie, you know?” she told People in December 2022. “We’ve been in everybody’s homes for 40 years, so having somebody else turn my letters would be weird.”

So, when Sajak gave up hosting duties in the bonus round in the April 26th episode, fans were quick to wonder where he went. Read on to learn what happened to Pat Sajak on Wheel of Fortune.

What happened to Pat Sajak on Wheel of Fortune? Pat Sajak was noticeably absent during the bonus round in the Wheel of Fortune episode that aired on Wednesday, April 26, 2023. The show’s announcer since 2011, Jim Thornton, took over the hosting duties mid-show. Fans were confused about where the longtime host was, and there was speculation among viewers if Sajaj was sick or had gotten fired. “Where is Pat Sajak for the final puzzle? #WheelOfFortune,” one user asked. While another responded: “I’ve never seen it happen! Wild!”

When the episode’s contestant Sarah was introduced at the beginning of the show, she revealed that she was a big fan of Thornton. “I love Jim Thornton so much. And how could someone not? His voice is so soothing and energizing, he’s hilarious and just such a good person. And when I don’t hear his voice I worry about him,” she told Sajak. Jim jokingly replied: “I’ll give you an hour to cut that out, Sarah!”

But when Wheel of Fortune returned from a commercial break for the bonus round, Sajak was not there, and it was Thornton who was hosting the segment instead of being in the announcer’s booth. Sarah ultimately couldn’t figure out the bonus puzzle (“Quaint Family Farm”), but she was close (she guessed “Giant Family Farm,” instead). Although Sarah did win the additional $40,000, she said, “It’s OK,” and Jim told her, “And I got to meet Sarah!”

Aside from doing some announcing, we finally saw Pat again in the credits at the end of the episode. He returned in front of the camera and asked Vanna White, “Did I miss anything?” She responded, “Not much, just the bonus round.” Unfortunately, that’s all we know about Pat Sajak’s absence on last night’s episode. Some Twitter users even suspected that it was a chance for Jim to “audition” for the hosting gig when Sajak eventually exits. “Can’t help thinking this is Jim’s soft audition for #WheelOfFortune @patsajak job. And YES…..we are their focus group. Let ur opinions be known. My Dad spotted it right away and gives Jim a [thumbs up],” one person wrote.

If Sajak is leaving Wheel of Fortune at the end of Season 40, then we could see Thornton take over more hosting rounds on the game show.