How Pat Sajak Said Goodbye to ‘Wheel of Fortune’: ‘Thank You for Allowing Me Into Your Lives’ | Video

After 43 years as host, Friday night marks the last Pat Sajak-hosted episode of “Wheel of Fortune.” Before he finished out his tenure in the edition airing Friday night, he had a heartfelt message for those watching at home.

“It’s been an incredible privilege to be invited into millions of homes night after night, year after year, decade after decade,” he said. “And I’ve always felt that the privilege came with the responsibility to keep this daily half-hour a safe place for family fun. No social issues, no politics, nothing embarrassing, I hope — just a game.”

Sajak opened with that despite his own strongly held conservative political opinions, which he’s advocated for outside of the show. That didn’t enter into his farewell, though, as he went on to marvel at the legacy the show has come to have and all of the wonderful aspects that he got to take part in.

“But gradually, it became more than that. A place where kids learn their letters, where people from other countries hone their English skills, where families came together along with friends, and neighbors, and entire generations,” he continued. “What an honor to have played even a small part in all that. Thank you for allowing me into your lives.”

You can watch a preview of Sajak’s farewell message in the video above.

Meanwhile, his longtime assistant Vanna White had a message of her own on Friday — but for Pat Sajak himself. She praised him for making her “green” self more comfortable when they started together, and she reflected on the many years of “milestones and life events,” both in front of and behind the camera.

“What an incredible and unforgettable journey we’ve had, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it with you,” White said, tearing up. “As this chapter of our lives is coming to an end, I know you’ll still be close by. You’re like a brother to me, and I consider you a true lifelong friend who I will always adore.”

“American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest is set to take Sajak’s place next season, with White remaining as the new era begins.

You can watch the final Pat Sajak episode of “Wheel of Fortune” Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET.

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