Once Pat Sajak announced his retirement from “Wheel of Fortune,” fans immediately began trying to solve the puzzle as to who would replace their favorite game show host.
All eyes turned to Ryan Seacrest, whose schedule recently became a little more available after he stepped down from co-hosting “Live! with Kelly and Ryan” in April. Seacrest’s name has reportedly been floated among several people who are being considered as Sajak’s replacement by “Wheel of Fortune” owner Sony Group Corp.
Before the 48-year-old media mogul became a household name, he found a mentor in broadcasting legend Dick Clark, who helped propel his career from standing on the sidelines to shining in the spotlight.
Seacrest not only hosts multiple shows across a variety of platforms, he also works behind scenes as a producer on some of the biggest television shows. He’s estimated to be worth $450 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
PAT SAJACK’S ‘WHEEL OF FORTUNE’ REPLACEMENT: RYAN SEACREST’S NAME REPORTEDLY BEING DISCUSSED
Clark had an “enormous influence” in Seacrest’s life. The “American Bandstand” legend died of a heart attack on April 18, 2012.
Following his death, Seacrest remembered a few of their conversations about how to “make your way successfully in the broadcast business.”
“Dick was an amazing broadcaster. But he decided early on that he wanted to be in the business and not just a face in front of the camera,” Seacrest told The Hollywood Reporter of Clark’s ability to “look beyond the camera.”
“He passed this advice on to me, and I haven’t looked back. I love being a radio and TV host. But I also love being part of the business in a meaningful way, as it gives you more choices. Being a producer has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my career. And I will never forget being a producer alongside Dick — that was a dream come true.”
PAT SAJAK LEAVING WHEEL OF FORTUNE
Seacrest said Clark “opened doors for ladies” and “sent cards and gifts” – gestures to simply “be nice.”
Another Clark mannerism that Seacrest adopted? He believed that “people are just people.”
“Dick was wonderful at making people feel at ease, and he did so by treating every person he met as a friend,” Seacrest said. “He didn’t discriminate and was not discerning with his kindness. He made everyone feel as if they were the only one in the room.”
When Clark suffered a debilitating stroke in 2004 which affected his verbal communication, Seacrest said Clark “refused to quit” and was a true inspiration to so many people.
Ryan was asked to join Clark as the co-host of the famous “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin Eve” in 2005 and performed most of the speaking roles due to Clark’s limited speech. The show was renamed to “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest” in 2009, and he took over full executive producer and hosting duties following Clark’s death in 2012.
‘WHEEL OF FORTUNE’ HOST PAT SAJAK RETIRES: ALL THE TIMES HE SHOCKED VIEWERS
In 2021, ahead of Seacrest’s 17th year at Times Square when the ball drops, he signed a multi-year deal extension to continue hosting the New Year’s Eve extravaganza for an unknown amount of time.
The Georgia native made his way to the West Coast after college and worked for nearly a decade as the afternoon radio host on an alternative station in Southern California before replacing longtime KIIS-FM morning show host, Rick Dees, in 2004.
In 2002, he made his “American Idol” debut, and has stayed with the program for two decades, through a variety of celebrity judges, directors, networks and reboots. At one point, Seacrest was so highly-coveted, that he signed a two-year deal to stay with “Idol” for $30 million.
Simon Cowell, the creator of the popular singing competition show, stepped down as a judge in 2010 to pursue another one of his reality programs, “America’s Got Talent.”
In 2017, Seacrest shared a throwback snap with Randy Jackson and Cowell, writing, “They’re gonna kill me for posting this #tbt.”
While Seacrest was hosting the No.1 watched show in the country, he was also building upon his empire at E! News, and secured a $21 million deal to host red carpet coverage in addition to various programs. One of his biggest moves was creating and earning executive producer credits for the highest-rated show on the E! network, “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.”
What was supposed to be an ordinary sushi dinner with Randy Jackson turned into one of the most pivotal meetings of his life when Seacrest was introduced to the Kardashians.
“I remember it so clear,” Kim recalled their first introduction while guest co-hosting “Live!” with Ryan in 2017.
“I was having dinner at this restaurant in Los Angeles called Koi,” Seacrest said before diving into a conversation he remembered about a meal with Randy Jackson in 2006.
Seacrest went on, “He and I were having dinner … He says, ‘Yo yo yo, Kardashians are over there. They’re going to be hot man. They’re going to be something.”
Kim added, “We were having dinner with our friends. We had no TV show career, aspirations or anything. Randy says to us, ‘Man you gotta work with Ryan. You gotta do something, you and Kourtney. You have to do something. We had no idea what he was even talking about.”
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“Yo Randy, thank you,” Seacrest said before Kardashian added, “I don’t think Randy gets credit for that.”
“Keeping Up with the Kardashians” first aired in 2007 as a half-hour reality series, and catapult the entire family into celebrity status. The 20th and final season of the show aired in 2021 before moving to Hulu.
Seacrest then networked his way into multiple spinoffs, including “Khloe and Lamar,” “Kourtney and Kim Take New York,” and Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami.” While the show ended at E!, a new family series was picked up by Hulu.
Pat Sajak announced Monday he’s leaving “Wheel of Fortune” after 40 years.
Sajak, 76, tweeted that while “it’s been a wonderful ride,” his 41st season would be his last with the show.
“Well, the time has come. I’ve decided that our 41st season, which begins in September, will be my last,” he wrote. “It’s been a wonderful ride, and I’ll have more to say in the coming months. Many thanks to you all.”
His longtime co-host, Vanna White, wrote, “When we started @WheelofFortune who could have imagined we’d still be at it 41 seasons later? I couldn’t be happier to have shared the stage with you for all these years with one more to come. Cheers to you, @patsajak!”
Fans have also suggested that Sajak’s daughter Maggie Sajak, 28, who works as the show’s social media correspondent and stepped in for White to turn letters earlier this year, could take over for her father.
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