Future 'Wheel of Fortune' host Ryan Seacrest hopes Vanna White stays on show amid reported contract dispute

13:07 18.09.2023 - FOX News, Emily Trainham

'Wheel of Fortune' host Pat Sajak is retiring after the current season to make way for Ryan Seacrest.

Ryan Seacrest is looking forward to filling Pat Sajak's shoes.

While Seacrest is slated to take over for Sajak when he retires after the current season of "Wheel of Fortune," longtime co-host Vanna White has been quiet about her own future on the show, even as rumors have swirled of a difficult contract dispute. Now, Seacrest is admitting that it's unclear if she will continue on the revamped show.

While speaking at a conference for Fortune magazine, the American Idol host spoke briefly about his upcoming game show gig. Toward the end of his conversation, he was asked, "Are you going to keep Vanna White?"

"Well, so I am going to??" he began before switching gears a bit, saying, "I'm fortunate enough to take over for the legendary Pat Sajak."

He continued, "Next year, which I am so?? My energy's gonna go up, sir, on that. I'm telling you. I have been the biggest fan of that show forever."

"I love Vanna White. I've known Vanna for a long time. We sat in important places next to each other. And I hope for nothing more than to be able to walk out on that stage and host with her."

Seacrest didn't elaborate further, but his wording was notable for fans who have been keeping up with the uncertainty surrounding White's future on "Wheel of Fortune."

After Sajak announced his retirement, dedicated viewers became curious about the possibility of White retiring along with him. In June, reports began circulating that White did want to stay on the show, but that she was requesting a raise in pay.

White, 66, has reportedly been in negotiations to renew her contract to continue co-hosting "Wheel of Fortune," according to People.

After being a co-host alongside Sajak, 76, for more than four decades, White requested a pay raise in her new deal.

Her last pay increase was reportedly nearly 20 years ago, as White earns $3 million annually while Sajak makes five times as much, according to People via Puck.

Sajak made $15 million a year from "Wheel of Fortune" in 2016, Forbes reported.

While Seacrest isn't sure if White will join him next year in his first season of hosting the beloved game show, fans have made it clear that they have an idea of who could take her spot if she retires as well - Sajak's daughter, Maggie.

Maggie has been a familiar face on "Wheel of Fortune," acting as the show's social media correspondent. She also took White's place for an episode of "Celebrity Wheel of Fortune" earlier this year when White competed along with "Jeopardy!" hosts Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik.

"Love Maggie she should take Vanna s place sorry but it's time," one person commented on one of Maggie's recent Instagram posts.

"Maggie, you REALLY need to host the show!!" another follower told her.

/ Monday, September 18, 2023, 1:07 PM /

Ryan got his wish! Vanna White extends Wheel of Fortune' contract with substantial pay increase'

Ryan Seacrest's dream of hosting with Vanna White is finally coming true after it was announced that White, 66, extended her contract with "Wheel of Fortune" through 2026.

According to TMZ, White got a "substantial pay increase" with the deal.

Incoming "Wheel of Fortune" host Ryan Seacrest revealed last week that he hoped to work with her on the ABC show.

"I love Vanna White," Seacrest, 48, told Fortune Magazine. ..... 

White - who makes $3 million a season - had reportedly been seeking a raise from the show's producers, claiming that she only received bonuses for the last 18 years.

She reportedly "lawyered up" and was asking for half of current host Pat Sajak's $15 million a year salary.

"After 41 years as a model employee and more the face of that show than [Pat], asking for 50% of what he makes seems like a no-brainer," a source close to White told TMZ.

The insider also claimed that Sony had been "very difficult" amid the discussions.

White's sudden decision to lawyer up came after a source told the Daily Mail that she feared being let go from the series after Sajak's upcoming exit.

"The next year is going to be quite the ride and Vanna wants to be a part of it all even after he leaves, and she hopes they don't force her out," a source close to White told the outlet.

The source later stated that White - despite being temporarily replaced - had no desire to leave the long-running show despite her initial contract ending in 2024.

"Vanna doesn't want to leave 'Wheel of Fortune' even after Pat's announcement of retirement, and she would highly consider taking over his role as host on the show," the anonymous source claimed.

Appearing on "Good Morning America" on Monday, Seacrest enthusiastically told anchors Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos how excited he was to take over for Sajak for when he retires in 2024.

"Pat is a legend, but coming in there and give a lot of money to these contestants really is the best part of the whole thing," gushed Seacrest.

The American Idol judge has even already started practicing in front of his dog.

"I'm shouting out the puzzles and my dog is staring at me," laughed the host. "I'm also practicing the hosting part in my living room just to make sure I have the rules down."

Seacrest's comments came mere days after the first episode of Sajak's final season was interrupted by the pregame show for Monday night football ahead of the Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets game.

Sajak, 76, announced in June that his final spin at the syndicated game show would conclude with the show's 41st season.

"Well, the time has come. I've decided that our 41st season, which begins in September, will be my last, the game show host tweeted. "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!)"

Sajak has hosted Wheel since 1981, while his trusty letter-turner White joined the show a year later.

Ryan Seacrest reacts to Vanna White's Wheel of Fortune' contract renewal

Seacrest - in! Ryan Seacrest will soon be working alongside Vanna White on "Wheel of Fortune" - and he's ready.

"This is such great news," Seacrest, 48, told Willie Geist in a pre-taped sneak peek of "Sunday Today With Willie Geist," which aired on TODAY Wednesday.

"Vanna has been such a staple on that show and in our living rooms for so many years," he continued. "I have been very excited to work with her, but now that it's official I can say, Congratulations Vanna! I can't wait.'"

Hours earlier, White's contract renewal was officially confirmed following months of negotiations. According to TMZ, White, 66, locked in a "substantial pay increase" and her contract is now through 20 ..... 

Seacrest won't be joining the ABC game show until current host Pat Sajek steps down in 2024. He announced his upcoming retirement in June.

For Seacrest, it's "super important" to have vet White when he makes his debut.

"She's beloved by this country and by the viewers and I can't even imagine standing next to her on that set being able to say, Okay, let's get to it.' It's great news," he told Geist. "I'm very, very happy to hear it and very happy I'll be able to work with her."

He joked that White will be his go-to for advice. "Vanna, please tell me what to do!" the American Idol host teased. "I can say, How does this work? Where do we go now? What's next? Okay, got it.'"

Seacrest officially ended his run on "Live with Kelly and Ryan" after six seasons in April. Kelly Ripa's husband, frequent guest host Mark Consuelos, replaced him behind the table.

'Wheel of Fortune' co-host Ryan Seacrest thrilled with Vanna White contract renewal: 'She's beloved'

Vanna White recently extended her co-host 'Wheel of Fortune' contract through the 2025-26 season.

Ryan Seacrest is congratulating Vanna White on her "Wheel of Fortune" contract extension, which slates her as co-host through the 2025-26 season.

In a pre-taped clip from "Sunday Today With Willie Geist," Seacrest shares that he's thrilled with White's return.

"This is such great news," the new "Wheel of Fortune" co-host began. ..... 

On Tuesday, Fox News Digital confirmed that White has extended her contract with "Wheel of Fortune" for two years as longtime host Pat Sajak prepares to leave in 2024.

White signed a two-year contract extension as co-host of the popular game show through the 2025-26 season as Seacrest will take over for Sajak in fall 2024, according to a statement provided to Fox News Digital.

Terms of White's new contract were not disclosed.

According to Seacrest, it was "super important" important that White remained as co-host of the popular game show.

 ..... It's great news," he said. ..... 

Seacrest shared with Geist that he will be turning to White for advice when he steps into the co-host role.

"Vanna, please tell me what to do!" Seacrest said. ..... 

Before Seacrest became a household name, he found a mentor in broadcasting legend Dick Clark, who helped propel his career from standing on the sidelines to shining in the spotlight.

Seacrest not only hosts multiple shows across a variety of platforms, he also works behind the scenes as a producer on some of the biggest television shows.

Pat Sajak announced his retirement from Wheel in June after hosting since 1981. The program first premiered in 1975 with Chuck Woolery and Susan Stafford.

"As previously announced, Wheel of Fortune's Season 41, which kicked off this past week, will be the last for host Pat Sajak," the statement announcing the show's 41st season said.

"The show will celebrate the 41-derful seasons with him at the helm. Co-host Vanna White has extended her contract for an additional two years, keeping her revealing letters at the iconic puzzleboard through the 2025-2026 season."

White became Sajak's regular co-host in December 1982 after Stafford left the show months before.

Fox News Digital's Tracy Wright contributed to this report.

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