Pat Sajak

Game Show Host


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his over two-hour Archive interview, Pat Sajak discusses growing up in Chicago and his early interest in broadcasting and shares his experiences serving in the armed forces radio in Vietnam. He speaks of his local television work in the 1970s for WSM in Nashville and KNBC in Los Angeles and details the early history of the show for which he's best known: Wheel of Fortune. Sajak describes working with show creator Merv Griffin, the casting of "letter turner" Vanna White and the fame that he and Vanna have experienced. He also discusses his foray into the talk show genre as host of The Pat Sajak Show. During their dual interview, Sajak and White talk about the atmosphere on the set of Wheel of Fortune, marvel at the show's longevity and offer personal anecdotes about each other. The interview included a two-hour individual session with Sajak and a fifteen minute chat with Vanna White. Barrie Nedler conducted the two-part interview in Culver City, CA on October 10, 2007. 

"We became in this strange way part of people's lives, almost their lifecycle. It was dinner time, they played 'Wheel' - we just became part of the atmosphere.  It's kind of like the sunset: you might not go out and watch it every night, but it's nice to know it's out there. We're a comfort to people, and it would seem odd if we weren't there even if they're not watching us every day. I don't know how that happened and how we became part of that, but it's a wonderful spot to be in."

Highlights
Pat Sajak on thinking Vanna White was a terrible choice for Wheel of Fortune
01:53
Pat Sajak on how Wheel of Fortune became part of people's lives
01:59
Pat Sajak on great advice from a friend about pacing for television
00:53
Pat Sajak on hosting game shows - it goes against the performer's instinct because the game and the players are the stars, not you
01:52
Pat Sajak on Wheel of Fortune fans
02:00
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on changing his last name; on being guest DJ on The Dick Biondi Show
08:40
On his time at Columbia College in Chicago; on doing armed forces radio during the Vietnam War
11:18
On getting into television for WSN Nashville doing station breaks, weather and news; On moving to KNBC Los Angeles to do the weather; on getting the chance to host Wheel of Fortune
08:20

Chapter 2

On the night-time syndicated version of Wheel of Fortune; on Vanna White's popularity; on celebrity
08:49
On the early days of Wheel of Fortune; on the daytime and evening versions of Wheel of Fortune; on favorite fan encounters
10:07
On the announcers of Wheel of Fortune; on appearing as himself on television shows
07:50
On taking Wheel of Fortune  on the road to New York City
01:53

Chapter 3

On hosting The Sunday Show; on hosting his own late night talk show, The Pat Sajak Show
11:46
On his first Emmy win for Wheel of Fortune; on swapping hosting duties with Alex Trebek; on hosting Pat Sajak Weekend 
06:32
On filling in as host on Larry King Live; on Merv Griffin; on production on Wheel of Fortune
08:03
On memorable moments on Wheel of Fortune; on the new computerized puzzle board
02:26

Chapter 4

On technical glitches with the Wheel of Fortune   puzzle board; on his role on Wheel of Fortune; on taking the show on the road
04:29
On college week; On Celebrity Week and changes to Wheel of Fortune   over the years
06:27
On the popularity of Wheel of Fortune  in the 1990s and 2000s; on pop culture references to him; on career advice he's been given
04:53
On forming his own production company; on his hobbies; on the longevity of Wheel of Fortune; on advice to aspiring hosts and how he'd like to be remembered
07:42

Chapter 5

START OF JOINT INTERVIEW WITH PAT SAJAK AND VANNA WHITE: Pat Sajak and Vanna White on the atmosphere on the set of Wheel of Fortune
07:53
Pat Sajak and Vanna White on favorite stories about each other
05:26
Shows

A-Team, The

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Pat Sajak on playing himself on The A-Team and other television shows
02:28

Jeopardy!

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Pat Sajak on swapping hosting duties with Jeopardy !'s Alex Trebek
02:31

Larry King Live

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Pat Sajak on filling in as host on Larry King Live
00:55

Pat Sajak Show, The

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Pat Sajak on hosting his own late night talk show, The Pat Sajak Show
08:57

Sunday Show, The

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Pat Sajak on hosting The Sunday Show
02:49

Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The

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Pat Sajak on possibly guest hosting for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
03:04

Wheel of Fortune

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Pat Sajak on doing the weather for KNBC Los Angeles and impressing Merv Griffin and offering Sajak Wheel of Fortune
05:27
Pat Sajak on the night-time syndicated version of Wheel of Fortune
28:39
Pat Sajak on the perception of a game show host and how it affected his try at being a late night host
02:58
Pat Sajak on swapping hosting duties with Jeopardy !'s Alex Trebek
02:31
Pat Sajak on production of and memorable moments on Wheel of Fortune
04:06
Pat Sajak on the puzzle board; on traveling with the show and College and Celebrity Week; on changes to the game
23:31
Pat Sajak and Vanna White on the atmosphere on the set of Wheel of Fortune
13:19
Topics

Emmy Awards

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Pat Sajak on winning his first Emmy for Outstanding Game Show Host
01:47

Fame and Celebrity

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Pat Sajak on worrying about the "celebrity" part of the business
03:45

Quiz Show Scandals

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Pat Sajak on the Quiz Show Scandals 
00:24

Vietnam War

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Pat Sajak on developing his style as a host in the armed forces radio
04:35
Professions

Game Show Host

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Pat Sajak on hosting game shows - it goes against the performer's instinct because the game and the players are the stars, not you
01:52
Pat Sajak on advice for aspiring hosts
01:39

Hosts

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Pat Sajak on wanting to be in entertainment
00:32
Pat Sajak on developing his style as a host in the armed forces radio
00:54
Pat Sajak on the perception of a game show host and how it affected his try at being a late night host
02:58
Genres

Game Shows

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Pat Sajak on doing the weather for KNBC Los Angeles and impressing Merv Griffin and offering Sajak Wheel of Fortune
05:27
Pat Sajak on Wheel of Fortune
28:39
Pat Sajak on production of and memorable moments on Wheel of Fortune
04:06
Pat Sajak on Wheel of Fortune
23:31
Pat Sajak and Vanna White on the atmosphere on the set of Wheel of Fortune
13:19
People

Hy Averback

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Pat Sajak on how Hy Averback suggested that Jack Paar write to Pat Sajak
00:37

Jack Clark

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Pat Sajak on Wheel of Fortune announcer Jack Clark
02:06

Fred de Cordova

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Pat Sajak on possibly guest hosting for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
01:53

Harry Friedman

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Pat Sajak on the new computerized puzzle board on Wheel of Fortune - producer Harry Friedman's idea
01:17
Pat Sajak and Vanna White on working with producer Harry Friedman
02:20

Merv Griffin

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Pat Sajak on doing the weather for KNBC Los Angeles and impressing Merv Griffin and offering Sajak Wheel of Fortune
05:27
Pat Sajak on working with Merv Griffin and hiring Vanna White
02:47
Pat Sajak on Merv Griffin and the night-time version of Wheel of Fortune
02:14
Pat Sajak on Merv Griffin selling Wheel of Fortune and their relationship towards the end of Griffin's life
04:10

Charlie O'Donnell

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Pat Sajak on Wheel of Fortune announcer Charlie O' Donnell 
02:06

Jack Paar

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Pat Sajak on interviewing his childhood idol, Jack Paar
03:02

Susan Stafford

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Pat Sajak on working with Susan Stafford, Vanna White's predecessor
00:46

Jimmy Stewart

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Pat Sajak on the amazing line Jimmy Stewart said to him when they met
00:30

Brandon Tartikoff

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Pat Sajak on telling Brandon Tartikoff he didn't want to appear on The A-Team
01:11

Alex Trebek

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Pat Sajak on swapping hosting duties with Jeopardy!'s Alex Trebek
02:31

Vanna White

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Pat Sajak on Vanna White
02:47
Pat Sajak on the balance of celebrity that he and Vanna White have
00:45
Pat Sajak on the chemistry between him and Vanna White
01:31
Pat Sajak on a favorite Vanna White story
04:44

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