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Why is Pat Sajak not on Wheel of Fortune? Vanna White is hosting as the show must go on

vanna white fills in for pat sajak as wheel of fortune show host
Vanna White appears as host of Wheel of Fortune for the first time in show history. Pic credit: Wheel of Fortune/YouTube

On Monday night’s new episode of Wheel of Fortune, viewers were surprised to see Pat Sajak not on Wheel of Fortune.

Instead, it was letter turner Vanna White filling in for Sajak as part of the holiday-themed edition of the game show. She also had Disney characters with her to help out. So what was going on and why was Pat Sajak not on Wheel of Fortune?

White arrives as Wheel of Fortune host

As Wheel of Fortune’s Secret Santa Holiday Giveaway arrived, so did Vanna White.

Wheel of Fortune showed off a clip of Vanna as she was escorted into the studio with Disney friends waving enthusiastically to the audience. In Wheel’s tweet, they mentioned it was a history-making episode as she was filling in as host for the first time in show history.

It is true that this is the first time that the 62-year-old White has been the official host for the entirety of a show. However, she’s briefly taken over Pat’s role in the past.

As a commenter mentioned on Twitter, there were a few occasions when White took over for Sajak, but it happened during the episode rather than for a full show.

One episode saw the two swap roles with a round played for charity. On another of the occasions, it was White filling in for Pat during the bonus round due to Sajak’s laryngitis.

Now viewers are getting to see Vanna White take a turn as the official game show host. She tweeted out ahead of her time on the air, “Tonight’s my first night of hosting Wheel! I’m excited and nervous! Stay tuned!”

Here she is during the bonus round as she seems more than capable of handling the show host duties. She also had Minnie Mouse as her letter-turning assistant providing reactions to each letter called out.

Another YouTube clip shows Vanna giving the wheel a final spin for the first time in the history of the show.

So far it seems the reactions from viewers have been positive and in support of Vanna as Wheel of Fortune substitute host.

“Vanna did a great job!!,” one Twitter commenter said.

“Vanna and Minnie was running the ship tonite…good job ladies,” another said.

“This different! I like seeing Vanna doing something different,” yet another said.

There was even one who took things to the extreme suggesting they need to ditch Pat Sajak as show host and have Vanna White take over. That doesn’t seem likely, at least not right away.

Why isn’t Pat Sajak hosting the show?

The Wheel of Fortune Secret Santa holiday episodes were taped last month. During the time they were taping, Pat Sajak had just had emergency surgery for a blocked intestine so he was in recovery mode after his surgery for that issue.

White talked to Good Morning American recently about Sajak’s situation and taking over as host of the show.

The good news is that the surgery was a success and Sajak reported he’s OK. He’s also since returned to his job as host to tape some new episodes, based on Wheel of Fortune’s Instagram post.

Viewers will continue to see Vanna White as the host during the show’s episodes for the Secret Santa Holiday Giveaway this week and next. Sajak is expected to make his official on-television return soon with White also getting another run of episodes.

By the new year, Sajak said things should be “back to normal” although some viewers may prefer this change up at the wheel. Maybe a full show with Pat turning letters and Vanna hosting?

Check local listings to watch Wheel of Fortune on weeknights.

Matt Couden is a freelance writer for over 10 years. Matt enjoys publishing mostly about the things he loves — entertainment, sports news, and video... read more
Matt Couden

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