Pat Sajak, who as the host of “Wheel of Fortune” since 1981 became one of the most familiar faces on American television, announced on Monday that he will retire next year.
“The time has come,” Mr. Sajak, 76, said on Twitter. “I’ve decided that our 41st season, which begins in September, will be my last.”
Over the four-plus decades that Mr. Sajak has hosted the show, more than 10,000 people have auditioned for the “Wheel of Fortune,” which has drawn more than 26 million viewers per week, according to Sony Pictures Television, the studio that owns it.
Suzanne Prete, executive vice president of game shows for Sony Pictures Television, said in a statement on Monday night that the studio was “incredibly grateful and proud to have had Pat as our host for all these years.”
“We look forward to celebrating his outstanding career throughout the upcoming season,” Ms. Prete said.
Mr. Sajak agreed to continue as a consultant for three years after his final season, Ms. Prete said.
It was unclear who would take over the hosting duties after Mr. Sajak retires.
Vanna White, Mr. Sajak’s longtime co-host, did not post any comment on social media on Monday night. She briefly stepped in for Mr. Sajak in 2019, when he needed an emergency surgery to fix a blocked intestine.
While Ms. White filled in for Mr. Sajak, his daughter, Maggie Sajak, took over Ms. White’s puzzleboard duties. Ms. Sajak is a social correspondent for the show, posting digital content.
The show, which was created by Merv Griffin in 1975, features contestants who try to guess word puzzles to compete for cash, of which more than $250 million had been awarded since it premiered, according to Sony.