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‘Wheel of Fortune’ fans want Vanna White as new host amid Pat Sajak’s exit

"Wheel of Fortune" host Pat Sajak, left, and hostess Vanna White walk onstage as they are inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame at the Encore Las Vegas on April 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images/TNS)

“Wheel of Fortune” fans would like to solve the puzzle of who’s going to replace host Pat Sajak once he leaves the long-running game show.

For some avid watchers, longtime letter turner and co-host Vanna White is the front-runner to take over the show from Sajak, who announced his retirement Monday evening. For more than 40 years, White has shared the screen with Sajak and helped numerous contestants solve word puzzles with the delicate touch of her hand.

“When we started @WheelofFortune, who could have imagined we’d still be at it 41 seasons later?” White replied to Sajak’s announcement Tuesday morning. “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!”

White, 66, made her “Wheel of Fortune” debut in December 1982. During her tenure, White has flipped countless letters, donned more than 7,000 dresses and even took over for three weeks when Sajak recovered from surgery in 2019.

“That was so exciting and so emotional and happy, and I’m glad to be a part of it,” she said during her first night running the program.

For some devoted “Wheel” fans, White is Sajak’s natural successor.

“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 Twitter user wrote Tuesday.

“It’s time for Vanna White to host Wheel of Fortune,” said a second Twitter user.

Other Twitter fans pitched variations of a new “Wheel of Fortune” chapter with White at the helm, such as including celebrity co-hosts or hiring “a hot dude to point at the letters.”

After more than 40 years as the face of “Wheel of Fortune,” Sajak said Monday that his “time has come.”

“I’ve decided that our 41st season, which begins in September, will be my last,” he tweeted.

In the last year, Sajak’s on-screen behavior — including jokingly putting a contestant in a chokehold — has come under scrutiny. However, it’s unclear whether his actions, and resulting backlash, are related to the exit. A representative for Sony did not respond to the L.A. Times’ request for comment Tuesday.

“It’s been a wonderful ride, and I’ll have more to say in the coming months,” he continued. “Many thanks to you all.”


© 2023 Los Angeles Times

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