Ryan Seacrest Posts Emotional Tribute to Pat Sajak Following TV Legend's Final “Wheel of Fortune” Episode

Sajak began hosting the popular television game shown in 1981

<p>Frank Micelotta/Disney via Getty; GP/Star Max/GC Images)</p> Ryan Seacrest, Pat Sajak.

Frank Micelotta/Disney via Getty; GP/Star Max/GC Images)

Ryan Seacrest, Pat Sajak.

Ryan Seacrest is ready to take over Wheel of Fortune — but not without first thanking his predecessor.

The multi-hyphenate star paid tribute to Pat Sajak following his final episode as host of the game show series on Friday, June 7, calling him a “standard for hosts everywhere.” (Sajak, 77, started hosting the game show in 1981.)

“Pat, congratulations on an incredible run with Wheel of Fortune!” Seacrest, 49, began his Instagram post alongside a photograph of himself, Sajak and Vanna White.

“Your dedication, charm, and wit have made the show a beloved part of American television for decades," he continued. "Your partnership with Vanna has been nothing short of iconic, and together, you’ve created countless wonderful memories for viewers.”

Related: A Winning Pair! Throwback Photos of Pat Sajak and Wife Lesly Brown as He Signs Off from Wheel of Fortune

Seacrest also gave credit to the high bar Sajak set for television hosts.

“You’ve set the standard for hosts everywhere, and this marks the end of an era,” he concluded. “Best wishes for all your future endeavors!”

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<p>Christopher Willard/ABC via Getty</p> Vanna White and Pat Sajak

Christopher Willard/ABC via Getty

Vanna White and Pat Sajak

Seacrest has been anticipating taking over Wheel of Fortune hosting duties, and he spoke exclusively with PEOPLE in April about filling Sajak’s shoes.

"Well, no one can ever do what Pat has done. He is incredible," he said at the time.

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"He has made that show just something so very special for so long, and he has done such a seamless, remarkable job, so no one can be him," Seacrest continued.

Related: Vanna White Gets Emotional as She Bids Farewell to 'Brother' Pat Sajak Ahead of His Final Wheel of Fortune Episode

The On Air with Ryan Seacrest host admitted that he feels pressure stepping into the new role.

“People love watching him,” he explained of Sajak. “I want them to keep love watching it, and I hope to do a great job as well.”

<p>Disney/Eric McCandless</p> Ryan Seacrest

Disney/Eric McCandless

Ryan Seacrest

Sajak announced his retirement in June 2023, and Seacrest was later announced as his replacement a month later.

The Wheel of Fortune hosting gig is one of many Seacrest has under his belt, including American Idol and Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve.

Related: Pat Sajak Reflects on 'Gratifying' Journey Hosting Wheel of Fortune Ahead of His Last Episode: 'A Great 40 Years'

White, 67, meanwhile isn't stepping away from the the series just yet.

She will be joining Seacrest in his inaugural season, with a deal to stay on the show through the 2025-2026 season.

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