"There weren't many letters up there and I said, 'I'd rather be here than up there, quite frankly' — which was the puzzle," Pat Sajak explained after the gaffe

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Pat Sajak
Pat Sajak
| Credit: Gerardo Mora/Getty Images

It seems Pat Sajak recently had a bit of misfortune on Wheel of Fortune.

The longtime host, 74, accidentally gave away the bonus round answer during Thursday's broadcast of the beloved game show.

When the letters "_ _ _ TE  _ RAN _ L _" were left in a puzzle, Sajak mistakenly said the answer aloud while speaking to a contestant.

"Yikes," he commented, after only six of the puzzle's 12 letters were revealed. "Well, I'd rather be standing here than there, quite frankly."

"Quite frankly" turned out to be the answer, though the contestant didn't seem to realize and failed to correctly figure out the puzzle before time ran out.

Wheel of Fortune
Credit: Wheel of Fortune

Sajak addressed the on-air slip-up in a video that aired after the episode, telling Vanna White that he realized his mistake right as he said it.

"I wonder how many people at home caught it," he remarked. "There weren't many letters up there and I said, 'I'd rather be here than up there, quite frankly' — which was the puzzle. But it goes to show you that people are concentrating and they're not paying any attention to me."

The host went on to say that there was "no reason" the contestant should have guessed the answer given his gaffe.

"It's funny what your ... mouth will say when your brain says, 'You shouldn't do that,'" he quipped, before poking fun of himself by telling the audience that he and White, 64, will "quite frankly, see you next time."

"Yes, we will!" White added.

Sajak has been hosting Wheel of Fortune, the longest-running syndicated game show in the United States, since 1982. White joined him as the letter turner that same year, and the pair have been the face of the popular program ever since. 

In November 2019, when Sajak had to undergo emergency surgery, White stepped up to temporarily host the show.

In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE at the time, White said she "didn't have a chance to prepare" for her solo debut and was "very nervous."

"I literally had a 30-minute rehearsal of hosting the game. I did one, and then we did the shows! I'm very green, let's put it that way," she joked. "I think for listening to Pat for 37 years, I understood the game and how he hosted it. I was very familiar with the show."

"I just wanted it to go smoothly. I wasn't sure it was going to. I'm very shy, and I prefer being behind the scenes, not the center of attention," White continued. "It was awkward in one way. But I did it. I did 15! I was on for three weeks of shows."