Vanna White, Pat Sajak, Ryan Seacrest

Vanna White, Pat Sajak, Ryan Seacrest


Vanna White, Pat Sajak, and Ryan Seacrest

Longtime “Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak heard from countless fans and friends as his final episode of the iconic game show aired on June 7, 2024. Among those wishing him well in retirement were the two people who will carry on the torch — his longtime co-star Vanna White and his replacement, “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest.

White’s emotional, pre-recorded message for Sajak, 77, aired on the June 6 episode of the show, in which she tearfully said, with a snap of her fingers, “Eight thousand episodes went by like that! When I first started, I was so green. You made me so comfortable and made me so confident, Pat. You made me who I am.”

Seacrest, 49, named in June 2023 as Sajak’s replacement, paid tribute to his predecessor via social media as Sajak’s final episode aired in most markets on the evening of June 7.

Sharing a photo of him and Sajak on the “Wheel of Fortune” set with White, 66, who has signed on to work with Seacrest for the next two years, Seacrest wrote, “Pat, congratulations on an incredible run with Wheel of Fortune! Your dedication, charm, and wit have made the show a beloved part of American television for decades.”

“Your partnership with Vanna has been nothing short of iconic,” he continued, “and together, you’ve created countless wonderful memories for viewers. You’ve set the standard for hosts everywhere, and this marks the end of an era. Best wishes for all your future endeavors!” 

That final passing of the torch is mainly symbolic, though, given that Seacrest has already begun filming “Wheel of Fortune,” ushering the legendary show into a new chapter. After a summer of reruns, Seacrest and White’s first episodes together will begin airing in September, according to TV Insider. 

Ryan Seacrest Began Filming ‘Wheel of Fortune’ Right After the Season 22 Finale of ‘American Idol’

Though there’s been lots of fanfare around Sajak’s final episode airing, the changing of the guard happened months ago at “Wheel of Fortune.” According to The Sun, Sajak taped his last episode after 41 seasons on April 5.

At the time, Seacrest was immersed in hosting his 22nd season of “American Idol,” which he’s done since the show began in 2002. But the day after the season 22 finale aired live on May 19, Seacrest took the stage at his new game show gig.

On the “Idol” red carpet after the finale, ET correspondent Denny Directo asked Seacrest when he would begin filming “Wheel of Fortune.” To Directo’s surprise, Seacrest exclaimed, “Tomorrow!”

“I can’t wait,” Seacrest added. “I have to shift my head from, like, ‘Vote now!’ to ‘Uh, you’re bankrupt (or) yes, you can buy a vowel!’ I have to get my brain shift.”

Prior to filming his first episodes of “Wheel of Fortune,” Seacrest was spotted filming promos with White in early February. The day after Seacrest hosted the Hawaii rounds of “American Idol” at Disney’s Aulani resort, during which White made a cameo appearance on the show, the new duo filmed their promos at Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort.

TMZ posted footage that bystanders captured of Seacrest and White standing next to each other, reading liners with a camera crew while producers tended to them, and slowly walking through the resort.

Reel News Hawaii also tweeted photos on February 10 of the barefoot duo pretending to sunbathe on the beach, with Seacrest humorously delivering an armful of gear as White sat on a beach blanket.

Three days after Sajak taped his final episode, the first 10-second promo starring Seacrest and White aired during “American Idol” on April 8.

Ryan Seacrest & Vanna White Have Both Expressed Excitement About Working With Each Other

Though White has said she’ll miss working with Sajak after so many years together, she and Seacrest have already shared mutual admiration for each other. In fact, after her time on the “American Idol” set, she shared a fun behind-the-scenes video of her bonding with Seacrest and meeting the whole star-struck cast.

White considered retiring alongside Sajak, but ultimately decided to sign a new contract and team up with Seacrest for at least the next two years.

“It was a very hard decision for me to make,” White told People in April, “because it definitely crossed my mind. It’s like, ‘I just don’t know if I can do this without you,’ but I thought about it and I’m not ready to retire, so I am staying on.”

She went on to tell the outlet, “I know Ryan — he is professional, he’s good at what he does, he’s kind. I think it’s going to be good. He’s such a nice guy and he loves what he does. He said, ‘Look, I am not replacing Pat. I’m not going in to try to fill Pat’s shoes. No one can ever replace him.’ He says he’s coming in to do a good job and to keep the show going, and I’m looking forward to working with him.”

Seacrest, meanwhile, has gushed about getting to work with White. When news broke that she’s renewed her contract, Seacrest told TODAY, “This is such great news. Vanna has been such a staple on that show and in our living rooms for so many years. I’ve been very excited to work with her but now that it’s official I can say, ‘Congratulations, Vanna.’ I can’t wait.”

Liv Lane is an entertainment writer who covers the Hallmark Channel, HGTV, American Idol and The Voice for Heavy. Based in Minneapolis, she has three decades of experience as a local and national radio host, columnist and publicist, interviewing and working with a wide range of celebrities over the years, from Deepak Chopra to Lil Nas X. More about Liv Lane

Also Read More: World News | Entertainment News | Celebrity News

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