Pat Sajak Leaves Mid-Show, Announcer Takes Over As 'Wheel' Host
By Dave Basner
April 27, 2023
Anyone tuning in towards the end of Wednesday night's Wheel Of Fortune probably became very confused. That's because instead of Pat Sajak, announcer Jim Thornton was handling the hosting duties during the bonus round.
While viewers wondered if Sajak had been fired or gotten sick, it turns out it was all for the benefit of the winning contestant, a grocery store manager from New Hampshire named Sarah. During her introduction, Sarah revealed to Pat that she is a huge fan of Jim Thornton. She said, "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."
The camera cut to Jim who joked, "I'll give you an hour to cut that out, Sarah!" That seemed to be all of the interaction with Jim, but Sarah wound up winning the show and when Wheel returned from commercials for the bonus round, it was Jim who was handling the hosting duties, the first time that has ever happened. He told Sarah that she's done great, then commented, "Let's see if you can add to it, good luck!"
Sadly, Sarah couldn't figure out that the puzzle was "Quaint Family Farm," but nearly had it, guessing "Giant Family Farm." Jim said to her, "You were so close," and showed the prize she could've won - $40,000. Sarah said, "It's okay," and Jim consoled her saying, "And I got to meet Sarah!"
As the credits rolled, Pat, who did a little announcing during his time off the screen, returned in front of the camera and asked Vanna White, "Did I miss anything?" She answered, "Not much, just the bonus round."
Twitter lit up during the moment with people asking things like, "Who was that host tonight and why isn't it always our beloved Pat!!??!?!?!?!?!" and, "Did Pat Sajak get fired before the final question?" and, "Where is Pat Sajak for the final puzzle?" and, "What! @WheelofFortune! What is happening!!! What is this!!!"
This might be a glimpse into the future though, as Pat, who's been host for over 40 years, recently said, "Years go by fast. We're getting near the end. 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." As for when that might happen, only Pat knows.