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Ryan Seacrest is thrilled to be teaming up with Vanna White when he starts his duties as the host of “Wheel of Fortune” next fall.
Seacrest shared his joyous reaction after White extended her contract for the syndicated game show through the 2025-26 season.
“This is such great news,” the “American Idol” host, 48, told Willie Geist in a preview of his “Sunday Today” interview released Wednesday.
“Vanna has been such a staple on that show and in our living rooms for so many years. I have been very excited to work with her, but now that it’s official, I can say, ‘Congratulations, Vanna! I can’t wait.’”
Seacrest, who will take over hosting duties when Pat Sajak retires, further explained why having White, 66, on the show is “super important,” saying she is an integral part of its success.
“She’s beloved by this country and by the viewers, and I can’t even imagine standing next to her on that set being able to say, ‘OK, let’s get to it.’ It’s great news,” he continued. “I’m very, very happy to hear it and very happy I’ll be able to work with her.”
Seacrest also takes comfort in knowing White will be by his side, as he joked with Geist, 48, about getting her help when need be.
“I can say, ‘How does this work? Where do we go now? What’s next? OK, got it,’” he said.
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White, who joined “Wheel of Fortune” in 1982, had been seeking a pay increase after reportedly earning $3 million a year for nearly two decades without any raises.
While her new salary has not been revealed, TMZ reported that White received a “substantial pay increase.” However, the rest of her contract remains unsettled.
The show’s 41st season, which premiered last week, will be 76-year-old Sajak’s last. The longtime host, who takes home a reported $15 million per season, announced in June that he was leaving after a “wonderful ride.”
Sony Pictures Television revealed in July Seacrest would be Sajak’s replacement.
“I’m truly humbled to be stepping into the footsteps of the legendary Pat Sajak,” the former “Live” co-host said in a statement at the time. “I can say, along with the rest of America, that it’s been a privilege and pure joy to watch Pat and Vanna on our television screens for an unprecedented 40 years, making us smile every night and feel right at home with them.”
At the time of the announcement, Radar Online reported that Seacrest’s role would come with a $28 million salary, and that upset White.
Furthermore, the longtime letter-turner felt like producers had a “lack of respect” for her by hiring Seacrest without giving her a chance to take over hosting duties, according to the Daily Mail.
“She wants to stay, but she also wants it to be fair and is going to fight for what she believes in and what she deserves,” the insider said at the time.
White reportedly also was upset that she “wasn’t able to give her two cents on the replacement,” with the source claiming, “It just shows a lack of respect in her eyes that they have for her. She wants to be with the show for as long as she wants to be on the show, on her terms. She believes she deserves it.”
Even so, White was said to be “happy to work with” Seacrest, whom she deeply “respects.”