In a swirl of developments surrounding the beloved game show “Wheel of Fortune,” steadfast fans might find themselves on an emotional rollercoaster this week as they witness the temporary absence of co-host Vanna White. The reassuring news, however, is that her disappearance from the screen isn’t permanent.
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White, the legendary letter-turning assistant, was absent from the recent taping of the episodes due to a bout with COVID-19 back in August, meaning she was sidelined for a series of five shows. Pat Sajak, who himself has been the talk of the town with his forthcoming retirement after 41 seasons, addressed the curious case of White’s absence at the commencement of Monday’s episode. “You’ll notice Vanna is not here, and I have to say that Ms. White has tested positive for COVID. That’s the bad news. The good news is I talked to her just a little while ago and she feels fine. She has a little sniffle. But she tested positive and that’s the way it goes, so she will not be with us here this week.” expressed Sajak, always one to keep fans in the loop.
The unforeseen circumstance led to Bridgette Donald-Blue, honored as the 2023 California Teacher of the Year, stepping into White’s shoes from October 2nd to October 6th. This substitution comes poetically during the show’s Teacher’s Week celebration. With the educators already present for the summer filming in Los Angeles, the episodes featuring them could not be postponed, though subsequent non-Teacher’s Week episodes were moved to allow White recovery time.
It’s noteworthy that White has been astonishingly consistent, missing the show only three times since her tenure began, with her previous absence dating back to 1991.
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In related news, as Sajak hangs up his hosting hat at the conclusion of season 41, Ryan Seacrest is poised to take the reins, expressing enthusiastic anticipation of spinning the renowned wheel alongside White, who recently extended her contract through the 2025-26 season. Following vigorous negotiations, which purportedly netted her first pay raise in nearly two decades, White is set to continue her legacy on “Wheel,” much to the delight of fans nationwide.
Thus, amidst all the wheelings and dealings, transitions, and momentary health setbacks, “Wheel of Fortune” rolls on, embracing change while maintaining its cherished familiarity in living rooms across the country.