Pat Sajak and Vanna White reflect on 35 years of 'Wheel of Fortune'

Producer, Yahoo Entertainment
Yahoo TV

According to Wheel of Fortune, 115 million Americans have never known a world without their game show. That’s right, over a third of the U.S. population has lived in a world with Pat Sajak and Vanna White amiably playing a big-budget version of hangman on weekday nights. With Sajak and White celebrating their 35 year together on the show, Yahoo Entertainment visited the set of Wheel of Fortune in Culver City, Calif., and chatted with the iconic pair.

On 35 years

“What comes to mind when I hear the number 35 is that I must be 35 years older than when I started, which is troubling,” Pat Sajak quips. “Although, I started when I was 11, so it’s not so bad.”

“I just can’t believe it’s been 35 years,” adds Vanna White. “It doesn’t seem like it. It really doesn’t. I mean, I was 12 years old when we started. No, just kidding. It’s been a long time, but I’ve loved every minute of it.”

“It’s almost an unfathomable number, because television doesn’t usually work like that, and none of us suspected that it would, and yet here we are,” says Sajak. “I’ve given up trying to predict what will happen next.”

Why they’re glad the shopping segment was ditched

“Every now and then you get a nostalgic letter from someone that will say, ‘I miss the shopping spree,'” says Sajak. “It was the most boring five minutes in television because you didn’t win money, you won fake cash, with which you could buy cheesy prizes. There would be a little cutout picture of the contestant saying, ‘For $100, I’ll have the dining room… No, I’ll have the clock… No, wait a minute.’ It was excruciating. If we still had the shopping segment, we wouldn’t be celebrating our 35th year.”

“I do not miss that,” agrees White. “Yeah, we used to have a carousel that would go around and, ‘For $200, I’ll take the sofa.’ Now they just win money and cars and trips, and I think people like that better.”

Thoughts on leaving Wheel of Fortune behind

“I can’t imagine not coming to Wheel of Fortune,” says White. “It’s just not in my thought process at all, because I love what I do, I’ve loved it for 35 years, I’ve loved coming to work every time. It’s a happy show, it’s a fun show. So, no, I don’t want to even think about [leaving the show].”

“Well, I’m getting closer to the end,” Sajak notes. “I think once I’m gone, it would be unseemly to keep me as host. I’d like to leave while the show is still popular. That would be nice — to let someone else take over on a show that’s still working well. I’d also like to leave before people tune in and go, ‘My God, what the hell happened to him?'”

Pat Sajak reveals embarrassing story:

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