Pat Sajak may not be the only household name saying goodbye to Wheel of Fortunein the near future.
As the search begins for a new Wheel host — following Sajak’s announcement that Season 41 will be his last — some at Sony TV have reportedly suggested “eliminating” the co-host role currently filled by Vanna White, whose star power might no longer be necessary if the new host turns out to be an established name like Ryan Seacrest, according to Puck News.
A Sony rep declined to comment, but a source close to the game show maintains to TVLine that there “is no plan to eliminate Vanna’s role,” adding, “Sony is in active discussions to renew Vanna’s deal beyond her current contract.”
White’s current salary is estimated around $3 million annually, which is believed to be about five times less than Sajak’s. She has reportedly hired high-powered litigator Bryan Freedman — who has represented everyone from Tucker Carlson to ousted Jeopardy! producer Mike Richards — to sort out the pay discrepancy.
Wheel without White may seem unfathomable to some, but as this report reminds us, Sony already considered dropping her during a dip in Wheel‘s profitability back in the late 1990s. White has been with the show since 1982.
Sajak announced his retirement plans earlier this month, saying, “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.”
Sajak has served as Wheel‘s host since its nighttime debut in 1983, also hosting the syndicated game show’s daytime edition from 1981 to 1989. He has taken home three Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Game Show Host, receiving 16 additional nominations.