A career of letter turning and tapping may not have been as lucrative as hoped for one “Wheel of Fortune” mainstay looking to cash out.
For just over four decades, the duo of Pat Sajak and Vanna White, 66, have drawn fans to their wheel-spinning puzzle game. Now, as the host prepares for his sunset tour, reports have cropped up that the co-host’s negotiations for a pay bump are stalled after her own bid to take the top spot was squashed.
Last month, 76-year-old Sajak announced the 41st season of “Wheel,” beginning in September, would be his last, and not long after, 48-year-old Ryan Seacrest was named as his successor.
A source with details on White’s contract negotiations spoke to People and reacted to reports that the TV icon wanted at least half of Sajak’s salary just to continue in her current role, a detail referred to as “outrageous.”
“50 percent of Pat’s salary is so outrageous that no one in their right mind could say that it’s fair,” the insider said. “The negotiation is asking for much more than 50 percent of his salary. It’s asking for the same pay — if not more.”
She should be the host!
— Luis Costa Jr. (@Luiscostajr) July 23, 2023
She’s past her prime by a lot. Fire her and bring in someone younger.
— MooPote (@moopotechi) July 23, 2023
Finer points on the current state of the show suggested that for 18 years, White’s salary has remained around $3 million annually. By comparison, Forbes reported in 2016 that Sajak may have been pulling in $15 million a year for his role as host.
They weren’t making the same? Wow. Give Vana her money
— RichU (@THEjoblesserver) July 23, 2023
Now, with her contract last renewed in 2021 through 2024, the source indicated that suggestions she had agreed to at least $100,000 per episode were “not correct at all.”
Meanwhile, TMZ reported that their sources detailed White’s lawyer, Bryan Freedman, had negotiated her deal for “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune” that expired, but a standstill has come about due to the current writers’ strike in Hollywood.
“It’s gonna get ugly if [Sony] doesn’t get more generous,” their source said.
Older women making salary demands to a studio that would prob be thrilled to replace her with someone younger and cheaper. Very bold strategy what could go wrong with this
— Moosey (@SwagMoss) July 23, 2023
White had reportedly been “disappointed” at the announcement about Seacrest, a detail that appeared to relate to her history of dealing with contracts.
An insider had told The Daily Mail, “She was disappointed that they didn’t give her more of a chance to take over Pat’s job, or that she wasn’t able to give her two cents on the replacement.”
“She didn’t assume they would be making the announcement of his replacement so soon,” they added.
Bye bye Vanna. You should be happy that you made all that money for so long. If I were them I would not replace you. Just light up the letter with a button. Ryan is YOUNG. You could be his mom. Bye bye
— Florida or bust (@Dasherjobe) July 23, 2023
Similarly, People had reported from their source, “Vanna was told, ‘If you fight this, you will lose your job. You’re lucky to have a job.’ And when people tell you that for so long, you believe it.”
They added that White is ready to “fight for her future.”
Speaking for herself, the co-host had told People in December that she didn’t even want to think about the end of her and Sajak’s tenure together. “Everybody relates Wheel of Fortune to Pat and Vanna. We’re like Ken and Barbie, you know? We’ve been in everybody’s homes for 40 years, so it would be weird having somebody else turn my letters.”
I hate to break it to her, but she’s not exactly indispensable. It’s not like her primary function on the show, which used to be flipping the letters, but is now just touching a screen, is some unique skill that only a very few people can execute.
— Peter Garrett (@TheUnrealPeterG) July 23, 2023
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