Ryan Seacrest is excited to team up with Vanna White when he takes over as host of “Wheel of Fortune” next fall.
Seacrest shared his joyful reaction after White extended his contract on the syndicated game show through the 2025-26 season.
“It’s really good news,” the American Idol host, 48, told Willie Geist in a preview of his “Sunday Today” interview published Wednesday.
“Vanna has been a staple on this show and in our living rooms for many years. I was very excited to work with her, but now that it’s official, I can say, “Congratulations, Vanna!” I’m eager to.'”
Seacrest, who will take over hosting duties when Pat Sajak retires, further explained why White, 66,’s presence on the show is “super important,” saying she’s an integral part of its success.
“She is loved by this country and by viewers, and I can’t even imagine standing next to her on that set and being able to say, ‘OK, let’s do it.’ This is excellent news,” he continued. “I’m very, very happy to hear that and very happy to be able to work with her.”
Seacrest also takes comfort in knowing that White will be by his side, as he joked with Geist, 48, about getting his help when needed.
“I can say, ‘How does it work?’ Where do we go now? And after? OK, I got it,’” he said.
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White, who joined “Wheel of Fortune” in 1982, was looking for a pay raise after reportedly earning $3 million a year for nearly two decades without any raises.
Although his new salary was not revealed, TMZ reported that White received a “substantial pay raise.” However, the rest of his contract is still unresolved.
The show’s 41st season, which premiered last week, will be 76-year-old Sajak’s last. The longtime host, who earns $15 million per season, announced in June that he was leaving after a “wonderful adventure.”
Sony Pictures Television revealed in July that Seacrest would be Sajak’s replacement.
“I am truly honored to follow in 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 has been a privilege and a 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, which upset White.
Additionally, the longtime letter turner felt like producers had a “disrespect” for her by hiring Seacrest without giving him the opportunity to take over hosting duties, according to the Daily Mail.
“She wants to stay, but she also wants it to be fair and she’s going to fight for what she believes in and what she deserves,” the source said at the time.
White was also reportedly upset that she “couldn’t give her two cents for the replacement,” with the source saying, “It just shows a lack of respect in her eyes that they have for her.” She wants to be on the show for as long as she wants, on her terms. She thinks she deserves it.
Still, White was reportedly “happy to work with” Seacrest, whom she “respects” deeply.