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Why Pat Sajak is another great game show host

Why Pat Sajak is another great game show host

Johnny Oleksinski

television

June 16, 2023 | 6:47 p.m

When Pat Sajak announced that he would be leaving “Wheel of Fortune” in 2024 after hosting the show since 1983, the news felt much bigger than a fictional hangman’s game.

A regular presence in American living rooms most nights of the week for four decades, the 76-year-old sadly represents a dying breed.

Sajak is another of the golden age of game show hosts.

You know who I mean. These suit-clad, smooth-talking, fun guys have a Las Vegas vibe about them. They seem to have been put on this earth simply to shake hands excitedly, ask silly questions, and hand out cash prizes.

They are icons.

Bob Barker from “The Price Is Right,” Richard Dawson from “Family Feud” and “Match Game,” and Alex Trebek from “Jeopardy!” and John Charles Daly from “What’s My Line?” and Regis Philbin from Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, among other greats, were like fun uncles who came from the booze era, anything that goes in show business.

Bob Barker was a great presence on The Price Is Right.
WireImage

However, at the same time, they also embodied a more civilized one.

For example, in the program “What’s My Line?” Well-spoken Daly was jokingly implying that he and panelist Bennett Cerf were hanging out…while wearing a tuxedo!

Of course, after Sajak revealed the sad news of his departure, speculation abounded as to who would replace him.

But you can’t swap someone for Pat Sajak willy-nilly.

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Ryan Seacrest, Whoopi Goldberg, Stephen A. Smith, and longtime Sajak host Vanna White have all been named potential candidates for the ceremony, and there will surely be another audition process as manic on the air as the one on “Jeep!” After Trebek’s death in 2020.

After “Danger!” Host Alex Trebek passed away in 2020, and Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik got the job.
Getty Images

This question-and-answer program eventually came down to Ken Jennings’, “Danger!” The contestant with the longest winning streak of all time, and Mayim Bialik of Blossom.

Meh. The duo is apt at best. They’re more Geek Squad than Hollywood and there’s no substitute for Trebek’s easy-going, erudite demeanor and rich speaking voice.

Game shows always lose their glamor and glamor when a younger, less respected, and frankly, uninteresting host takes over from a beloved legend.

Dawson would never be allowed to kiss the ladies today in “Family Feud,” but he had an electric edge in the ’70s that even the sweet young Steve Harvey couldn’t approach.

Richard Dawson had an edge that new “Family Feud” host Steve Harvey couldn’t match.
Courtesy Everett Collection

By the way, Parker – who is 99 years old – has had his fair share of backstage drama on “The Price Is Right.”

However, she is giddy when he tells a contestant that they have just won thousands of dollars.

Drew Carey, truth be told, was a lot better on “The Drew Carey Show” than he is on The Bob Barker Show.

Being a great host is really a skill all its own, and as we learn in Pathetic Trophies shows more with each passing year – it’s a skill that can’t quite be taught.

you must be reliable, yet likable; deliver bad news, but keep people happy; To be a comedian and scientist. In short, you have to be an old school artist, and Sajak is one of the last ones.

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It would be near impossible to reinvent the “wheel”.


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