Friday, July 11, 2014

What Might've Been: The Pat Sajak Show (1989)

During Johnny Carson's run as host of The Tonight Show, ABC, CBS, and the then-fledgling Fox network took turns trying to mount their own late-night yak-fest. ABC had Dick Cavett for a few years, and also had Joey Bishop (with future icon Regis Philbin as Bishop's sidekick). Fox, of course, famously bombed with The Late Show after Joan Rivers departed. Ultimately, Arsenio Hall was spun into his first syndicated series after taking over the Fox show near the end of its run.

CBS, if memory serves, tried out Merv Griffin, but otherwise went with reruns of primetime shows, either their own or 3rd party acquisitions (i.e. The Saint) or movies. In 1989, they rolled the dice, or, to be more accurate, spun the wheel on a certain game show host.

Pat Sajak had left the daytime Wheel of Fortune, which had moved to CBS from NBC, to give it a go as a talk show host. A former radio DJ before succeeding Chuck Woolery on Wheel, Sajak did have some experience conducting interviews, so that worked in his favor. The ratings? Not so much. 

The Pat Sajak Show lasted a shade more than a year before getting the boot, and of course you know CBS solved their late night problem three years later by prying David Letterman away from NBC.

In this clip, Pat is reunited with Vanna White, who visits to plug her NBC TV-movie, "Goddess of Love". Things get a little awkward rather quickly. Vanna was married at the time, but that didn't matter to the little boys who tried staying up...........

Today, Pat is back on Wheel, which ended its network run many moons ago, and is thriving in syndication. And the flirting continues........!

Rating: C.

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