Vanna White May Leave "Wheel of Fortune" Amid Shocking Revelations About Her Salary
The game show co-host has reportedly not received a raise in 18 years.
For 40 years, fans have been tuning into Wheel of Fortune and hearing some variation of the announcement, "Here are the stars of our show, Pat Sajak and Vanna White." But that's all about to change. In June, Sajak, who has been hosting since 1981, revealed that he is leaving the game show after this coming season. And on Tuesday, June 27, veteran TV host Ryan Seacrest announced that he'll be taking over as the show's new host after that.
But in the wake of these changes, White's future with Wheel of Fortune is reportedly undecided. According to a new report, the 66-year-old is in the process of renegotiating her contract and is asking for a raise as she—potentially—enters her first season without Sajak.
That in and of itself is not surprising, but the shocking aspect of the story is that White has reportedly not received a raise in the past 18 years. She also is said to make significantly less money than her co-host. On top of that, reports have surfaced that the show is considering eliminating the letter-turner role entirely. Read on to find out more.
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Sajak recently announced that he's leaving Wheel of Fortune.
On June 12, Sajak shared that he will be stepping down as the host of Wheel of Fortune following the upcoming 41st season, which will air from September 2023 to June 2024. He will remain on as a consultant on the show for three additional years.
"Well, the time has come," Sajak said in a statement, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "I've decided that our 41st season, which begins in September, will be my last. It's been a wonderful ride, and I'll have more to say in the coming months. Many thanks to you all. (If nothing else, it'll keep the clickbait sites busy!)"
In his Instagram statement announcing his new role, Seacrest wrote, "I'm truly humbled to be stepping into the footsteps of the legendary Pat Sajak. 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."
White has reportedly entered negotiations with the show.
White, who joined Wheel one year after Sajak in 1982, is reportedly re-negotiating her contract. According to a report from Puck, White has hired an "aggressive" lawyer named Bryan Freedman. With her new lawyer, White is looking to secure a raise, which Puck reports is something she hasn't received in 18 years.
According to the report, White makes $3 million per year for the syndicated version of Wheel of Fortune. This salary is said to be five times less what Sajak receives. Forbes recently reported that its estimate in 2016 was that Sajak made $15 million.
As Puck notes, Sajak is the primary host of the show, but White is still very valuable—she's been around for decades, she has to be on set longer than her co-host due to hair, makeup, and wardrobe, and she promotes the show and participates in it beyond simply revealing the letters during gameplay.
The outlet also reports that White has received some bonuses during her time on the show and that she was recently offered a raise from $55,000 per episode to $66,000 per episode for Celebrity Wheel of Fortune, specifically.
Her role could be eliminated.
Since the letters on Wheel of Fortune have, for a long time now, not needed to physically be turned around, White's role isn't necessary to the game. But, she is still very much associated with the show, part of the banter and flow, and has a lot of fans.
Puck reported that when a new host (now revealed to be Seacrest) replaces Sajak, the co-host dynamic could be eliminated altogether. This was reportedly considered in the late '90s but ultimately decided against.
Following the report, a source close to the game show told TVLine that there "is no plan to eliminate Vanna's role." They added, "Sony is in active discussions to renew Vanna's deal beyond her current contract."
For his part, Seacrest closed out his statement saying, "I can't wait to continue the tradition of spinning the wheel and working alongside the great Vanna White."
Best Life has reached out to Sony for comment.
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White has admitted to considering retiring when Sajak does.
White has said in the past that she figured she and Sajak would leave Wheel of Fortune together.
"I can't imagine doing the show without Pat," she told Access Hollywood in 2021. Sajak added, "Yeah, we've talked about it, and we'll probably walk off into the sunset at the same time."
In December 2022, she told People that thinking about leaving the show was "depressing." She couldn't fathom it going on without her and Sajak.
"I can't imagine," she said. "Everybody relates Wheel of Fortune to Pat and Vanna. We're like Ken and Barbie, you know? We've been in everybody's homes for 40 years, so it would be weird having somebody else turn my letters."
Fans don't want her to leave.
Following Sajak's announcement, fans put forth their picks for who should take over his role. Some Twitter users suggested that Sajak's daughter, Maggie Sajak, who is currently the social media correspondent for the show, should get the job. Others thought that White should take Sajak's hosting position, with Maggie stepping into White's role. The show used this configuration once already when Sajak was away having surgery.
In response to reports about her negotiation, some viewers expressed their desire for White to remain on the show. "Vanna is the heart of Wheel of Fortune. She should be there as long as she wants to be," one Twitter user wrote. Someone else posted, "Her role as co-host should only be eliminated if it's because she's becoming the actual host." Another fan wrote, "I assume MAJOR rankings drops if Vanna White isn't on Wheel of Fortune. Sajak has been snippy with people at times but Vanna is timeless."