When Pat Sajak announced that season 41 of “Wheel of Fortune” would be his last, it was another surprise for fans.
Sajak has hosted the game show for over 40 years and tweeted about his departure.
“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.”
Sajak also poked a little fun at some of his viral headlines in the tweet, noting “(If nothing else, it’ll keep the clickbait sites busy!)”
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The 76-year-old has had his share of viral moments, surprising contestants, fans and even co-host Vanna White with some spontaneous moments.
Take a look back at how the host kept the show exciting with those who’ve taken a spin of the wheel on set and at home.
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In March, Sajak “tackled” a contestant and put him in a headlock during the bonus round to close out the show.
The contestant, Fred, revealed that he has many jobs and hobbies, including professional wrestling.
Sajak joked about “body slamming” Fred for the other contestants during his unstoppable run of solving puzzles.
Fred made it to and won the bonus round, and he celebrated by hugging his father. Sajak ran over and tackled Fred and attempted to bend his arm behind his back while grabbing his face with the other arm and putting him in something of a headlock.
The moment was all in good fun, part of the celebratory mood for Fred, who took home $75,800.
Earlier this year, Sajak interviewed a contestant with similar features to Santa Claus in a cute but slightly awkward exchange.
“Now, Santa Claus needs help in the holidays. He needs helpers, and I understand you fill that role,” Sajak said to the game show player.
“That’s right Pat, I’ve been helping Santa for 25 years,” the contestant, Greg, responded.
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Sajak asked how long the contestant had been growing it, and Greg said six years, adding it makes a difference in “helping” Santa.
Greg also mentioned that kids often pull on his beard, questioning if he’s “the real Santa.” The host asked if he could do the same and, with Greg’s permission, walked over and gave the beard a tug
“Oh! I’ve never done that,” Sajak said.
He quickly walked back to his post and joked, “And I will never do it again.”
Sometimes, a contestant can’t help but celebrate winning a big prize on the show, but some really go for it and bring Sajak into the celebration.
In January, a player shook her backside very close to Sajak while jumping for joy after winning a grand prize.
“Did she just butt bump me?” Sajak wondered.
“I did!” the enthusiastic player shouted.
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Pranks gone wrong
Sajak often shows his playful side on the show, but sometimes it can go slightly wrong.
During one episode, contestant Ashley revealed she had a rather intense fear of fish, to the point of not wanting to be anywhere near them.
Ashley ended up scoring the most money and was set to move onto the bonus round. Sajak moved to congratulate her. But he first turned to another contestant and said, “I have to go congratulate Ashley. Can you do me a favor? I don’t want her to see this, just hold onto this.”
He handed the contestant a fake fish to hold.
She turned away and groaned, putting her face in her hands. Ashley laughed along a little.
“You’ll forgive me for that, won’t you?” Sajak asked.
“I might,” she responded.
Fans scolded the long-time host online, one critic calling him “shady” for the prank.
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Sajak apparently likes to pull pranks at home too.
During the closing moments of an episode, he was relating a story to co-host Vanna White about celebrating his wife, former model Lesly Brown, on her birthday.
“I do this … this thing I do every one of Lesly’s birthdays, and she absolutely hates it,” he laughed.
“We put a cake in front of her, she closes her eyes, she makes a wish and when she blows out the candle. I clutch my heart and fall to the ground.”
He admitted she “never finds that amusing.”
Apparently White didn’t either. Sajak asked if she thought it was funny, and White replied, “No.”
As host, Sajak is tasked with steering the show and being the face of judgment decisions. Often, that can result in fans blaming him for contestants missing a chance at big prizes.
Last month, fans were angry on behalf of Neetu Varshney on a “Toss Up” puzzle they say she got correct.
She appeared to say, “In a moment’s notice” and Sajak rejected her guess. A fellow contestant buzzed in and said, “At a Moment’s Notice,” the correct answer.
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The host noted Varshney “almost got it, but it’s ‘At a Moment’s Notice,’” he said, emphasizing the word “at.”
Varshney took home a $1000 consolation prize after earning no money in the game.
Online, fans say she was “robbed,” and many claimed to have heard her say the correct phrase when she buzzed in.
Another told Sajak to “clean your ears,” suggesting the host misheard Varshney because of her accent.
Fans accusing Sajak of mishearing people is a common refrain online.
In April, contestant Alexa was competing in the bonus round, trying to solve the puzzle in the category “What Are you Doing?”
After choosing her letters, she was left with “__ST _IN_IN_ IT.”
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Her first guess was “Just Winning It,” but many viewers heard her say “Just Winging It,” which was the correct answer. She tried other answers too but didn’t solve the puzzle in time.
After she gave her first answer, Sajak said “Say —,” but she cut him off with her continued guesses. He could have been requesting that she repeat her answer. Ultimately, Sajak and the judges decided she didn’t give the right response.
She took home prize money from earlier rounds but lost out on $100,000.
Sajak has no real control over how contestants perform. In a recent episode, he teased a contestant about drawing out the drama of a puzzle solve.
Contestant Nicole had only four letters missing when Sajak said, “Looks pretty good to me,” implying there should be no need to spin again. But Nicole spun anyway, narrowed the puzzle down to two letters and decided to solve.
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“Oh! I’m going to solve,” Nicole said, to which Sajak exclaimed, “Please, solve the darn puzzle!”
She did so successfully, and Sajak quipped, “We appreciate that you pretended you didn’t know ’til the end. You increased the drama, and that was great.”
Fox News Digital’s Caroline Thayer, Stephanie Giang-Paunon, Emily Trainham, and Brie Stimson contributed to this report.