When will Pat Sajak return to Wheel of Fortune? How long will Vanna White be the host of the famous show? Many people are wondering these questions after White appeared on the show in a newfound role on Monday, Dec. 10: as host.
Fans of Sajak and White alike need not worry: the pair will be back on air together in three weeks, and Sajak is in good health.
In November, Sajak underwent emergency surgery to correct a blocked intestine. Producers of the show asked White if she wanted to fill in as host of Wheel of Fortune while Sajak recovered, and she agreed. Since there’s a lag time between when the show is filmed and when it airs, the shows you’re watching now are the ones that were filmed while Sajak was recovering in November. In fact, a Wheel of Fortune Instagram post confirmed that Sajak returned to filming on Dec. 5.
Sajak fully explained the situation in a tweet in the first week of December:
It’s a bit confusing, but here’s the deal: Vanna will be hosting this coming week and the next. Then two weeks of shows I taped before my surgery. Then Vanna again the week of Jan. 6 with a special guest at the puzzle board. Then the planets will realign, and it’s back to normal.
White will serve as the host for three weeks, according to The New York Times. By that measure, and as confirmed in his tweet, Sajak should return as on-air host of Wheel of Fortune the second week of January, at the earliest.
Here’s what you need to know:
White on Her New Hosting Gig: ‘I Was Very Nervous’
To The New York Times, White talked about how it felt to be hosting for the first time on Wheel of Fortune, a show she’s been working on for over three decades no. When asked whether she had any nerves before the first show, she said, “Oh, my gosh, that’s an understatement, I was very nervous.”
White has been on the show since 1982, but she has only ever been the letter turner. She said to The Times, “Being behind the home base [as host], I didn’t have to wear shoes. So I took my shoes off during the show. It was great.”
She also noted that she is wearing dresses that aren’t full-length, so she doesn’t feel like she’s going to trip.
Who Is Serving as the Letter Turner While White Fills in as Host?
View this post on Instagram
Wheel without Pat is like a word without vowels. I’ll fill in the blanks until you return. Rest up and we’ll be solving puzzles in no time. (Don’t worry, your job is safe! Well, pretty safe.)
A post shared by Vanna White (@officialvannawhite) on Nov 11, 2019 at 4:03pm PST
Since White is filling in as host for the next three weeks, it’s reasonable to wonder who’s taking her position in the interim. White said that Micky and Minnie Mouse characters will be letter turners for the first and second week of her hosting period, and that the last week of her hosting period will be marked by a “surprise guest” as letter turner. Perhaps Sajak will be that guest, taking the switch full circle.
Though Sajak has kept relatively quiet during his stint off-air, White has paid tribute to him on social media. In an Instagram in November, following Sajak’s surgery, White wrote, “Wheel without Pat is like a word without vowels. I’ll fill in the blanks until you return. Rest up and we’ll be solving puzzles in no time. (Don’t worry, your job is safe! Well, pretty safe.)”
White has reiterated again and again how much she looks forward to Sajak’s return. To ABC News, she said, “We’ve been together 37 years, and it’s not the same — we are a team. We’re together. It just felt weird with him not being here on the set.” She added, “Those three weeks without him were very hard. I really missed him. I just can’t imagine doing this show without him, you know? And I hope he feels the same with me.”