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Ryan Seacrest? Yawn. The newest host of 'Wheel of Fortune,' makes … – The Arizona Republic

Ryan Seacrest will be the new host of “Wheel of Fortune,” which makes sense because he hosts everything.
Or so it seems.
Zzzz.
But is it really “Wheel of Fortune” without Pat Sajak?
Ask Chuck Woolery. And if that name doesn’t ring a bell, well, that’s the point.
Sony Pictures Television didn’t dink around when naming a successor to Sajak, choosing Seacrest only a couple of weeks after Sajak announced his retirement. (Letter-turner Vanna White is in negotiations to continue with the show.) 
Thus the studio avoided the self-inflicted drama “Jeopardy” faced in naming a successor — or successors — to the late Alex Trebek after he died.
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“I’m truly humbled to be stepping into the footsteps of the legendary Pat Sajak,” Seacrest said in an Instagram post Tuesday. “I can say, along with the rest of America, that it’s been a privilege and pure joy to watch Pat and Vanna on our television screens for an unprecedented 40 years, making us smile every night and feel right at home with them.”
It’s a careful statement, so sterile it could have been cooked up in a lab, designed to be blandly pleasing without offending anyone, even inadvertently.
Just like Seacrest.
He stepped down from “Live with Kelly and Ryan” earlier this year, one of his many gigs he’s held and continues to hold. Good ones, too. But can you think of anything memorable he’s done in any of them? This isn’t to say he doesn’t do his jobs well. He does. He is perfectly fine, riding an even keel. No ups, no downs. Just straight ahead.
That is probably the point of naming him “Wheel of Fortune” host, and doing it so quickly. He’s a known quantity, and more than that a known VANILLA quantity, a creature of television who is not so much a star as he is star adjacent. He’s one of those people who just seem to always be there, no matter where “there” is. He’s the expensive wallpaper of TV hosting.
Although I bet his bank account balance isn’t boring. He can buy all the vowels he wants. Consonants too, probably. (His net worth is estimated around $450 million.)
Seacrest rose to fame as the co-host of “American Idol.” Yes, co-host. Remember Brian Dunkleman? That’s OK, no one else does, either. By the second season Seacrest was the sole host of the show. He also hosts “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest.” He took over “American Top 40” after Casey Kasem’s death.
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Some people thought of Sajak, who will leave after the upcoming season, as bland. I thought he had a weird, smart-aleck edge that came out too rarely. (Though if it came out too often, it probably would have put people off.) He was like one of those small dogs who occasionally nip at your heels.
Seacrest, on the other hand, is the perpetual puppy, desperate for your approval. A pat on the head and a multimillion contract and he’s happy. Who wouldn’t be?
The show must go on, as they say.
Woolery, by the way, was the original “Wheel of Fortune” primetime host, from it’s beginning in 1975 till 1981, when Sajak took over. Woolery now is known mostly for being a right-wing crank.
Meanwhile an average of 8.6 million people a night watched “Wheel of Fortune” in its most recent season, according to Nielsen. So, it’s safe to assume it’ll be fine, just fine. Just like its new host.
Reach Goodykoontz at bill.goodykoontz@arizonarepublic.com. Facebook: facebook.com/GoodyOnFilm. Twitter: @goodyk.
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