There have certainly been big paydays on Wheel of Fortune. For example, the syndicated game show made headlines in February, after contestants won the $100,000 grand prize on three consecutive nights. But with his massive salary, longtime host Pat Sajak is undoubtedly the biggest winner of Wheel of Fortune. Just how much does Sajak make per show? We have an estimate below!
Sajak has been hosting the current iteration of Wheel of Fortune since 1983, with the 39th season debuting last September. As you’ll see below, Sajak still has years left on his Wheel contract, which means the 75-year-old will be making millions for a while.
Sajak likely earns five figures for each "Wheel of Fortune" episode.
In an October 2016 ranking of the highest-paid TV hosts, Forbes reported that Sajak was earning $15 million per year at the time—just as much as The Late Show’s Stephen Colbert and The Tonight Show’s Jimmy Fallon but more than daytime talk show host Steve Harvey ($14.5 million) and The Price Is Right’s Drew Carey ($12.5 million).
Late Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek edged Sajak out at the time, with a $16.5 million paycheck, but both emcees trailed far behind the best-paid TV host at the time, Dr. Phil McGraw, who was then pulling in $88 million per year.
Fans report that Wheel of Fortune films 195 shows per season, with new episodes airing each weekday for 39 weeks of the year. So, if Sajak is earning $15 million per year from Wheel of Fortune, and if he shoots 195 episodes per year, then he’s earning $77,000 per show.
Sajak previously told WCCO that he and co-host Vanna White shoot Wheel of Fortune for 35 days each year. A $15 million annual salary for 35 workdays works out to earnings of more than $428,000 per day.
Sajak and Vanna White have renewed their "Wheel of Fortune" contracts through 2024.
You can expect that wheel to keep spinning for another few years at least. Last September, Sajak and White signed a new deal to keep hosting Wheel of Fortune at least through the 2023–2024 television season, as Variety reported at the time. Sajak also became a consulting producer of the game show as part of the deal, and his daughter, Maggie Sajak, joined the production as Wheel of Fortune’s social correspondent.
Around the same time, Sajak told Entertainment Tonight that Wheel of Fortune’s longevity has been “unfathomable” but predicted that he and White are “certainly closer to the end than the beginning” of the show.
“I’d like to leave before people tune in and look at me and say, ‘Ooh, what happened to him?’” he added. “I wouldn’t bet on seeing us in, like, 10 years, I would say. Is that fair?”
“Probably, yes,” White replied.
In the meantime, though, the duo have also been hosting the Celebrity Wheel of Fortune on ABC. Sajak has already revealed which Hollywood star he’d love to see take a spin on that spinoff. “I would pick Meryl Streep, because I just want to have Meryl Streep standing there and saying, ‘Come on, big money!’ he told ET, laughing. “That’s my dream.”