Saturday, June 1, 2013

Sympathy for Mr. Sajak

I know I'm overdosing on Wheel of Fortune lately. But if you can't o.d. on a show after its second million-dollar win, when can you o.d.?

At the game show blog, Carrie Grosvenor notes that Wheel got snubbed in this year's Daytime Emmy nominations. In particular, she's surprised that Pat Sajak couldn't even get nominated, much less selected, for one of the cutesy-pie statuettes.

I've bitched about this before, but Mr. Sajak makes Rodney Dangerfield look well-respected. In part that's due to his low-key persona, which was on display in Autumn Erhard's recent million-dollar haul. Pat didn't hog the moment and go wild on camera. He deliberately underplayed the announcement, which of course was plenty dramatic without any artificial hype, and then got out of the way so Autumn could celebrate with her parents and fiancé.

It's not that he played cold fish, as Drew Carey (in)famously did after the perfect showcase bid on The Price is Right. Pat eventually joined in the festivities and helped Autumn and friends enjoy the moment.

Which has been the secret of his success through those much-advertised 30 years on Wheel. Sajak knows that a dominating, camera-grabbing personality tends to burn out fast. He's not a lamppost on the show, with his wry humor and faultless hosting skills. But he's not the main attraction, either, and he's very well aware of it.

Pat always comes across as witty, thoughtful and articulate in his interviews. This is a smart guy, and he knows how to keep a career going for a long successful time on TV.

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