Shortly after breaking the news of Sajak’s departure, Bloomberg reported that Seacrest, 48, is in talks to take over. “Some sources say he’s the frontrunner. Others say he is just one of many interested,” Bloomberg reporter Lucas Shaw tweeted on Monday, June 12.
After more than 40 years on Wheel of Fortune, Sajak, 76, confirmed his plans to move on from the NBC series. “Well, the time has come,” the Chicago native said in a statement to Bloomberg News on Monday. “I’ve decided that our 41st season, which begins in September, will be my last. It’s been a wonderful ride, and I’ll have more to say in the coming months. Many thanks to you all.”
Sajak previously hinted at his plans to depart the game show, telling Entertainment Tonight in September 2022, “We’re getting near the end. We’re not gonna do this for another 40 years. The end is near.”
The TV personality made his debut on Wheel of Fortune in 1981, which has made him the longest-running host. Seacrest, for his part, has made a name for himself in front of the cameras on shows such as American Idol and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.
Earlier this year, Seacrest announced his plans to step down from Live with Kelly and Ryan after six years. “Kelly [Ripa] and I have some news here. This is something that she and I have been talking about for a long time and it was a tough, tough decision,” he explained in a February episode. “Last year, we spoke and I made the decision to make this my last season as cohost with Kelly here on Live With Kelly and Ryan, which is bittersweet.”
The Georgia native said goodbye to the ABC series with an emotional final episode two months later. “I want you all to know, it’s not lost on me how fortunate I am. Fortunate to have had this seat next to you, Kel, for six years. You’re incompatible. There’s no one like you,” he said during his April departure. “I’ve spent my entire career talking … but today, it’s hard to put into words how deeply I’ve appreciated being here and being with you, being invited into your homes every day to try to deliver a smile or a laugh or two. I’m honored to be a part of this family.”
Seacrest was subsequently replaced by Ripa’s husband, Mark Consuelos, and the show was renamed Live With Kelly and Mark. The American Idol host later weighed in on Consuelos’ first days on screen following his exit.
“I’ve been watching Kelly and Mark and they’re doing great. I hope to see them and hang out soon in the wild, as Kelly would say,” Seacrest told E! News in April. “It’s nice to not have to get on an airplane in 20 minutes to get back. I miss Kelly, I love her so much.”