Pat Sajak continued to turn heads while hosting Wheel of Fortune, this time going missing for the bonus round in a recent taping of the show. In his place was announcer Jim Thornton.
While the moment caused a brief panic among viewers, it turns out the disappearance was little more than a fun swap between host Sajak and announcer Thornton. As the final round contestant would relate to E! News afterward, she was just a huge fan of the booth man and the moment was made extra special when he stood next to her for the final puzzle
“I love Jim Thornton so much,” the contestant Sarah told Sajak at one point of the show, according to E! News. “And how could someone not? His voice is so soothing and energizing. He’s hilarious and just such a good person.”
“When I don’t hear his voice I worry about him,” she added. “So, I’m so glad he’s here.”
Who's this guy and what has he done with Pat? pic.twitter.com/cFE71uefDg
— Wheel of Fortune (@WheelofFortune) April 27, 2023
As one Fox News commenter said beneath their own article, what happened was just a really great gesture to enhance the user experience of the contestant.
“Pat did not disappear at all. it was actually a very nice thing that was done. the winning contestant was a huge fan of the announcer Jim. In a wonderful act Jim stepped in and completed the bonus round with the contestant. Pat finished the show summarizing the contestants winning as Jim would have,” the person wrote.
“I looked at my husband and said it was a very nice gesture and was glad to see that they had done that for her. I understand that Pat has been under scrutiny recently, but definitely should not be critized for this,” the person finished.
The swap may or may not have been in the works anyways, but its timing was nevertheless curious. On the show the day prior, Sajak and his Wheel of Fortune crew took some serious heat for presenting a puzzle deemed not just challenging, but straight-up unfair.
Faced with several blanks and just a few O, N, R, T, H, and E spaced around, final round contestant “Angela” missed out on a $45,000 check when she failed to fill in the blanks to spell “joining the fray.” She took home over $20,000, but it still left fans and viewers outraged.
“#Angela on @WheelofFortune got a piece of CRAP bonus round. I have NEVER heard of ‘Joining the Fray’ before in my ENTIRE life. Can we get some kind of sponsor to give this woman a prize?” one user wrote on Twitter. “What the hell kind of puzzle was that??? Come on now. Ridiculous!!”
Another fan agreed with the comment and added, “Exactly!! I needed to get on Twitter and make sure I wasn’t the only one going ‘wtf is that!!'”
“Angela you had one hell of a night, Joining the fray who the hell ever comes up with something like that as that’s freaking ridiculous…BOOOOOOO WOF for that,” another upset person commented.
As improved as Twitter has become, the devolution into anger over a used, albeit uncommon, expression reminds us all that stupidity is alive and well. For starters, the phrase absolutely does exist. And for another, if Wheel of Fortune only lobbed softballs and send everyone home with an extra $50,000 it seems unlikely it’d produce the same level of excitement or entertainment.
We call this a first-world problem, if there ever was one.
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