Pat Sajak’s road to recovery

Christopher Gibson, Courier Staff

One of America’s beloved game show hosts underwent emergency surgery this past week. Pat Sajak, the host of Wheel of Fortune, had surgery to correct a blocked intestine. Filling in for him while he is home and recovering, is longtime letter-turner Vanna White.

Sajak’s surgery was so unexpected that the show’s taping this past Thursday had to be canceled. Sajak is the second game show host to experience health issues within the past year, as “Jeopardy!” host Alec Trebek was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Since joining Wheel of Fortune back in 1981, Sajak hasn’t missed very many games. He has only missed four since taking on the hosting job in ’81. Sajak got into trouble a few years back, when he was recorded saying that he had hosted the show drunk before. In an interview with Dan Le Batard’s “Highly Questionable” back in 2012, Sajak was asked if he had ever hosted the show drunk. He replied that back when he first took over, the show was different. Because of this, he and Whitea would head over to a local Mexican restaurant and have margaritas before the final taping of shows. The backlash that Sajak received from this wasn’t good and he apologized after the interview was released.

I’m interested to see how White does with hosting the show by herself. In popular culture, White is often made fun of for her lack of talking and just being a pretty face. While I don’t necessarily agree with those memes, I do agree that she doesn’t really talk much on the show. It’s understandable, however, because if she did talk, she would slow the show down and they are very organized at the studio. But, because of her lack of interaction with the contestants, I am curious to see how she will do. She knows what she’ll be doing but knowing what to do is often very different from doing it. I think she will do just fine, but we will have to wait and see until the first tapings of her hosting air.

Sajak is one of the most iconic television hosts of our time, and whether you like him or not, this news sucks. I remember watching Wheel of Fortune with my parents every night and would get enamored with each and every game. The best part of it all for me was Sajak. The way he worked with the audience and the contestants alike is amazing. Now he does it more subtly than the way I make it sound, but he knows how to do his job and he knows how to do it well.

The game won’t be the same without him, even if it’s for a couple of weeks or months (no one is sure yet of his recovery timeline). So next time you are flipping around the channels looking for something to watch, don’t be afraid to tune in to Wheel of Fortune. Sajak might be back, or maybe you’ll see White holding strong and waiting for her co-host to return. Let’s wish for a speedy recovery.