Q&A with Pat Sajak

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Below is Chad Silber's 1-on-1 interview with Pat Sajak.

What's the best part about this show?
"For me personally the schedule is incredible. We're going to tape six shows today and six shows tomorrow and not work again for two weeks. It's hard to beat that."

What's it like working with Vanna White?
"It's a living hell. She is, as you've already discovered, a terrible person, hard to be around and really unattractive (just kidding). She's great. We're a lot alike in that we don't take ourselves too seriously. We both realize it's a fluky business and she kinda caught lightning in a bottle and she realizes that. She has fun with it. When you ask her what she does for a living she doesn't say 'well I'll be directing one day' she says 'well I touch letters and they light up'. She's a great ambassador for the show and she's been terrific to work with."

What don't you like about working with her?
"She eats all the food before I can get to it! It's her only fault. It's funny because she weighs like 9 or 11 or something and backstage between rounds she's always grazing on nuts and candies and berries and things but she exercises a lot...she claims."

Since you haven't been to Nebraska, what do you think it's like there?
"I assume there's lots of skiing."
In the cornfields?
"Yeah, mountain climbing that sort of thing (laughs). I'm from Chicago and I have kind of a Midwestern sensibility. Our executive producer is from Nebraska. Wasn't Johnny Carson from Nebraska? All the good people are from the Midwest. Although I haven't been there specifically I think I have a feel for that part of the country. In my business there is a sense that that part of the country is flyover country, but it's obviously much more than that. For one thing it feeds us which is a pretty good deal. I do want to come and I'm going to. I can't commit exactly when but I'm going to and I'm going to ring your doorbell in the middle of the night just to prove it!"

For a lot of people that have never been to a taping of a show like this, they think, there's Pat and Vanna, and that's it. But it really takes a whole cast of characters to put the show together.
"It's a huge undertaking, We travel with the show once or twice a year and we take a 100 people. I laugh sometimes because Vanna and I get a lion's share of the credit because we're on air all the time. But in a way, we do the least. We show up in these cities and they build a set. They had a Wheel of Fortune set at a convention center, how did they do that?! We stumble out and do the show, and they're like, 'good job Pat!'. We have a lot of fun, we have a great staff. It's fun to watch the audience. They come in for three shows, and the first one, 'Hey, it's Pat and Vanna!' The second show, 'it's Pat and Vanna again', and then the third show, it's like, 'Is that it? There's no dancing girls?'. So three is about people's limit."

People in our area, just like so much of the country are so obsessed with Wheel of Fortune that it makes them a little bit delusional about safety. Because for example, in Nebraska, we have a lot of tornadoes, a lot of inclement weather, and for some reason...
"Let me guess where you're going, If you interrupt Wheel, because there's a tornado bearing down, 'wait a minute, let me solve the puzzle!' I've heard that, you guys have to do your job. You are there, you are public service, you must serve the community. If there's danger, you must let them know. Somehow, you have to do it without interrupting us, good luck with that! But I'm not going to go too far down that road because I don't think there are too many things more important than Wheel of Fortune. So if you have the choice, if there is a storm bearing down, maybe you could tape the show."