“When we started @WheelofFotune who could have imagined we’d still be at it 41 seasons later?” the former pageant queen, 66, wrote via Twitter on Tuesday, June 13, quoting her cohost’s original announcement tweet. “I couldn’t be happier to have shared the stage with you for all these years with one more to come. Cheers to you, @patsajak!”
Sajak, 76, shared the career update one day prior. “Well, the time has come. 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,” he wrote via Twitter on Monday, June 12.
The Illinois native and White have formed a close bond over the years since they joined the program in 1981 and 1982, respectively. “We’ve been together for, like, 38 years and he’s like my brother,” the Vanna’s Choice businesswoman told Entertainment Tonight in 2021. “He’s funny. I mean, we could finish each other’s sentences if we wanted to. We know each other that well.”
Sajak, for his part, gushed about his dynamic with the Vanna Speaks author during a 2017 talk at the Paley Center for Media in New York City. “I can’t imagine being up there with someone else,” he told the audience at the time.
Despite the Daytime Emmy winner’s kind comments, he didn’t always think White was the perfect cohost. During a 2020 appearance on CBS Sunday Morning, he admitted that he “didn’t recommend Vanna” after seeing her audition in 1982.
“Vanna knows this,” said Sajak. “Not that she wasn’t lovely and wonderful and personable and all that. But she was the most nervous, by far, of any of them.”
Despite Sajak’s reservations, White got the gig, but she didn’t predict the show’s longevity.
“I thought, ‘Well, this is gonna be fun, but I can’t imagine it lasting that long,’” she told USA Today in 2019 as Wheel of Fortune celebrated 7,000 episodes. “I remember sitting in the chair next to Pat saying, ‘I wonder where we’ll be in 10 years?’ … And here it’s been 36.”
A replacement for Sajak has not yet been announced, but some fans have already expressed hopes of White taking his place.
“With Pat Sajak retiring, the ONLY smart thing is to make VANNA WHITE the new host of WHEEL OF FORTUNE! She’s already proven herself as a substitute host, everybody loves her and she can provide smooth, unbroken continuity,” one viewer wrote via Twitter.
“I was probably the most nervous — and excited at the same time — to be able to fill in for Pat while he was away,” White exclusively told Us Weekly in December 2019. “I have never even thought of hosting the show. Never crossed my mind. But obviously, I stepped in, took one for the team to fill in for him because I’m very familiar with the show after all these years.”