Pat Sajak I Don't Care Who Replaces Me ... When I Leave 'Wheel'

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KEEPIN' IT IN THE FAMILY
TMZ.com

Pat Sajak and Alex Trebek are in the same fam -- 'Wheel' and 'Jeopardy' are produced by the same company -- but they have very different end-of-game outlooks.

We got Pat, along with the permanent and temp letter turners, Vanna White and Pat's daughter, Maggie, Thursday night in WeHo leaving Craig's, and we asked the longtime host who he'd want to replace him when he hangs it up.

Pat's answer ... way different from Alex's. Harvey interviewed Trebek a while ago for the show, "OBJECTified," and Alex had 2 favorite replacement hosts -- L.A. Kings announcer Alex Faust and CNN legal analyst Laura Coates.

Seems Pat isn't keeping up with the awesome 'Jeopardy' G.O.A.T. tourney ... but he has love for Alex.

Pat was sidelined with intestinal issues and underwent surgery. It was serious, but he's back in the game.

Pat Sajak I Thought I Was a Goner ... Surgery Saved Me

Near-Death Experience
ABC NEWS

Pat Sajak's fortunate to be alive after suffering a blocked intestine, but says for a brief drug-induced moment ... his life flashed before his eyes and he thought he was for sure dying.

The "Wheel of Fortune" host turned up on 'GMA' and spoke for the first time about last month's health scare, which he says was intense ... and could have killed him if he didn't go under the knife STAT.

Sajak says one moment he was out for his daily morning walk with his daughter and the next ... he's curled up in the fetal position with "excruciating" pain in his stomach. Within 2 and a half hours, he was having emergency surgery.

The craziest part -- Pat says none of the pain meds he was given were working until all of a sudden one worked REALLY well ... and instead of thinking about pain, he was thinking about his death.

He says it wasn't a morbid thing really, he just felt bad for his wife and daughter and thought about how much their lives would change after he was gone ... but turns out, he was just really high.

Pat clearly didn't lose his sense of humor in surgery.

As we reported ... longtime 'Wheel' hostess, Vanna White, took over Sajak's hosting duties while he was recovering, and he commended her on 'GMA' for being a team player and having fun with it, and doing a great job.

Pat's back in the studio taping shows now though ... and says he's feeling great.

'Wheel of Fortune' 'Gold Shower?' Sorry, The Category Ain't Trump Tape!

Poor Melanie ... poor, poor Melanie.

The answer was staring her in the face -- all she needed to do was guess the ONE letter missing from Thursday night's "Wheel of Fortune" puzzle and she would have won a bunch of money.

The category was "Same Name" -- and the key word here is "Shower."

What kind of shower has 4 letters and ends with "_OLD"?

Should be obvious ... unless you're into water sports.

Melanie did not go with "Cold Shower" -- she went with "Gold Shower" ... an answer that would be more appropriate if the category was, "Things The Russians Reportedly Have on Video."

Don't worry, Jenn was able to swoop in and clean up when Melanie struck out.

Poor Melanie ...

'Wheel of Fortune' Contestant Mispronounces 'Flamenco' ... Spelled Out & All

CLOSE, BUT NO FLAMENCO
ABC

Pronunciation's fury has struck again in the game show world -- and it cost one guy dearly after he said "flamingo" instead of "flamenco" ... even when it was spelled out.

The contestant -- a dude named Jonny (no 'H') -- had a complete answer filled out on the board Monday night on "Wheel of Fortune" which read "Flamenco Dance Lessons." But instead of saying 'flamenco,' he went with the pink bird ... and producers cried fowl.

Jonny got buzzed for a wrong answer, and another fellow contestant, Ashley, picked up an easy W. Even sadder than the fail ... this poor dude's face realizing his mistake, which cost him $7,100.

This ain't the first time pronouncing an answer wrong has screwed someone on TV. You'll recall ... a man was dinged on "Jeopardy" not too long ago for calling Coolio's song "Gangsta's Paradise" ... "Gangster's Paradise" with a hard R.

The lesson ... get on your P's and Q's, everyone. And every other letter for that matter.

'Wheel of Fortune' Genius Sinking My Winnings Into Some New Muscle!

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MY SECRET SAUCE IS ...
TMZ.com

The "Wheel of Fortune" wizard who nailed puzzles with just one letter and took home $76k is about to drop some of that dough on a sports car.

Robert Santoli came on "TMZ Live" to explain how he pulled off a near sweep of every puzzle on last Friday's episode of 'Wheel' -- and his strategy was downright genius. And a lot of hard work.

Robert -- whose day job is working IT at a college prep school -- tells us he's eyeballing a new Mustang ... either red or black. He says he fell in love with Ford's muscle car when he was in L.A. shooting 'Wheel.'

Don't worry, Mom ... the 23-year-old also says he's going to pay off his student loans from Fordham.

Pat Sajak Y_u'v_ B__n Su__

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Pat Sajak has caused more than $100,000 of misfortune to his neighbor who is now suing him for gross sprinkler malfeasance ... this according to a new lawsuit.

Jacob Saleh claims in the suit -- obtained by TMZ -- Pat's sprinkler system was a disaster ... broken sprinkler heads, broken pipes, defective timers and other problems with the irrigation system.

Saleh says the "Wheel of Fortune" star did nothing to fix the problem on his $3 million estate ... and as a result there was massive flooding on Saleh's property ... causing the soil to significantly shift.

Saleh says his retaining walls were damaged, and there was large cracking and shifting of the pool. He's also worried his foundation might be damaged.

According to the lawsuit ... Saleh confronted Sajak ... to no avail. In fact, he says Sajak admitted he had broken pipes and defective sprinklers but did nothing to fix any of the problems.

According to the suit ... the repair costs are estimated at $125,000.

We called Pat's rep for comment ... so far no word back.

'Wheel of Fortune' Flub Yeah, I'm an Idiot ... But There's a Bigger Idiot Than Me!!!

EXCLUSIVE

The guy who massively choked on solving a puzzle on "Wheel of Fortune" Wednesday night fully admits he blew it -- but tells TMZ he doesn't think his blunder is the worst of all time.

In case you missed it, check out the clip above to see just how far off Stephen Dryer was. It wasn't pretty.

TMZ spoke with Dryer ... who explained to us he rang in way too early and nervously forgot the category. Dryer says he knew his answer was off from the beginning ... but just felt he had gone too far to try and change it.

As bad as his mistake was ... Dryer thinks the guy who flubbed on Achilles back in April was WAY WORSE. He's right.

But Dryer is taking the ridicule he’s receiving in stride -- he did leave the show $7,200 richer, and says he plans to take a cruise to the Southern Caribbean for eight days in October.

Bad guess, good sport.

'Wheel of Fortune' Player Mind-Blowing Guess WASN'T RIGGED

EXCLUSIVE

The guy who correctly guessed the remaining letters in "Ne_ ____ _____" on "Wheel of Fortune" last night -- ON HIS FIRST TRY -- tells TMZ, the game was not rigged ... he really did pull the right answer out of his ass.

Emil De Leon -- who won $45,000 for the insane guess -- is a nursing student at the NCP College of Nursing in San Fran ... and while the show was being filmed in January, he was studying pediatrics.

Emil says he had babies on his mind during the show and got completely lucky -- once you watch the clip, you'll understand why this makes sense. Emil also says he's watched "Wheel of Fortune" forever and he's pretty much a pro at solving word puzzles.

Emil adds, Pat Sajak and Vanna White even pulled him aside afterward and told him he was one of the best players ever.

As for what Emil plans to do with his money -- he says he'll be putting most of it towards his nursing degree ... but plans to splurge a little on a trip to Cabo very soon.

See if you can guess Emil's answer before watching the clip.

Pat Sajak Valentine's Date with Vanna ... Do We Have to Spell It Out?

TMZ TV

Awww yeah ... Pat Sajak is kicking it with Vanna White tonight for Valentine's Day! But hold off on the champagne and fireworks -- his wife and her man will be there too.

Which means 30-plus years working together, and still no ... _ _X.

'Wheel Of Fortune' We Feel TERRIBLE About Last Night's 'Fast & Furious' Puzzle

File this one under: OOOPS.

"Wheel of Fortune" aired an episode last night that featured a puzzle with the answer "The Fast and the Furious" ... just days after Paul Walker died ... and now the show is in full spin mode.

During the show, producers ran a crawl on the top of the screen that read, "This episode was taped a few weeks ago, prior to the tragic passing of 'The Fast and the Furious' actor Paul Walker."

After the show aired, Pat Sajak tweeted, "Feel terrible about timing of 'Fast & Furious' puzzle tonight. Taped long ago & went out to 200 local stations days ago."

Still, it's unclear why producers didn't simply pull the episode to run at a later date.

'Wheel Of Fortune' Contestant I'll Solve the Puzzle ... I GOT SCREWED!

It's time to play ... "WHEEL OF FORTUNE"!!!! Everybody ready? Great, the category is "Living Things"... now guess this phrase:

SE _EN S_ _ NS _ -S_ _ MM _ NG

Pretty easy right? Not if you were a contestant named Renee on Wednesday night's show -- who correctly solved the puzzle, but mispronounced "Seven Swans a-Swimming" ... as "Swimmin."

Turns out, no "g" ... meant no cash (which in Renee's case was thousands) -- because even though the letter was clearly on the board, Pat Sajak and the "Wheel" honchos quickly rejected the answer and moved on to the next player.

Not surprisingly, when the next contestant went to solve the game, she made sure to say "Swimming"
-- HARD G.

But ya gotta check out the tape, because during the EPIC rejection of an obviously correct answer ... Renee managed to grin and bear it, despite getting ROBBED ...

With a capital "R."

Pat Sajak I Was Drunk on 'Wheel of Fortune'

Pat Sajak used to be WASTED on "Wheel of Fortune" back in the 80s -- this according to the game show host himself.

Pat made the confession during an interview with Dan Le Batard -- claiming in the old days, he would down "two, three, or six" margaritas at a Mexican joint near NBC studios during the show's 2-hour dinner break ... before heading back to finish taping.

According to Pat, Vanna was also guilty of drinking on the job -- but they've since stopped the mid-show imbibing tradition.

Pat added, they were so drunk ... they would often "have trouble recognizing the alphabet."

Pat Sajak Tapes Tribute to 'Wheel' Announcer

Pat Sajak and Vanna White put in some extra time on the set of "Wheel of Fortune" this week-- shooting a tribute for the show's legendary announcer Charlie O'Donnell, who passed away Monday.

We're told Pat and Vanna each said some kind words about the 78-year-old TV veteran -- and gave an intro to a montage honoring their friend as well ... and it's all set to air during Friday's episode.

FYI -- O'Donnell worked on "Wheel" for 28 years.