The new format debuted this week. After years of Sajak completing the final spin, a decision was made to leave the job to contestants instead. The final spin habitually takes place toward the end of each game show episode. The landing spot determines the dollar amount each player receives for every letter until the puzzle is solved.
Sajak, 74, spoke up about the switch in a segment with his daughter, Maggie, who joined the show on Monday. The longtime game show emcee is apparently pleased with the change because performing the final spin was something he admitted “always bothered” him.
“You remember when Vanna used to turn the letters? Well she complained. The work was way too hard, the workload, so now they just light up…No, I’m lying about this,” he cracked.
Then he got down to business. “The reason is, honestly, I’ve never liked the idea of imposing the host on the game. That always bothered me a little bit. We finally got to talking. We said, ‘Look, someone’s spinning the wheel anyway. We’ll save time. We’ll just let them spin it, whoever turn it happens to be. So the final spin, at least as far as the host is concerned, is gone, but the final spin remains. I’m just not doing it.”
“I hope that’s a satisfactory explanation,” Sajak added.
Sajak then opened up about the question he gets asked often: “Why do you never hit a bankrupt or a lose a turn out there?”
He said he has but there’s not much of a point to show that to viewers.
“We’re already running short of time because obviously, we’re in a final spin situation. So why eat up time watching me spin? So we just edit those spins out, and we’ll do the same now that the players are doing the final spin. If they land on a bankrupt or a lose a turn or a prize, we’d let them spin again until they land on the dollar amount.”
Sajak joked that he’s “afraid of a viewer revolt” due to the change.
Earlier this year, fans did call for a rule change to the game show, but it had nothing to do with the final spin. Viewers in April voiced their opposition to a rule that was introduced in 2016 along with the long-running game show’s crossword puzzle format. The crossword puzzle typically consists of four words that the contestants need to figure out. When it comes time to deliver their answer, the rules state that they need to say the four words and only the four words that make up the puzzle solve. This didn’t bode well for a contestant named David Petersen who answered a puzzle with the answer, “Soul, Flounder, Cod and Catfish.”
This forced host Pat Sajak to deny Petersen the points, meaning he lost out on big money simply for adding the word “and” to his answer.
Some noted that the rule is needlessly restrictive to contestants who otherwise solve the puzzle. “Our long-standing rule is that in order to have a correct puzzle solve, a contestant must say only what is on the board without adding words,” a spokesperson for the show told Fox News at the time. “Contestants are thoroughly briefed prior to the show, and Pat often reminds them of this rule when solving a puzzle in this particular category.”