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Ryan Seacrest will replace Pat Sajak as host of Wheel of Fortune in 2024. But it’s not certain whether Vanna White will be his co-star.
White has vowed not to work under her current salary of $3 million a year, which reports say she has earned since 2005.
White recently hired Bryan Friedman — the notoriously aggressive attorney whose clientele includes Megyn Kelly, Sage Steele, Tucker Carlson, and Chris Cuomo — to negotiate a higher salary.
But according to TMZ, Sony Pictures has informed her it would not acquiesce to her demands. “It’s gonna get ugly if they [Sony] don’t get more serious,” a source close to White told the outlet.
“Friedman had requested that Sony go through a third party familiar with game shows to gauge both White and Sajak’s roles and their significance to the show to come up with a “fair figure,” but Sony declined to do so,” adds The New York Post.
One year remains on White’s deal.
It’s unclear if Sony considers White more or less valuable with Sajak’s impending retirement.
On one hand, losing both stalwarts at once would be a drastic change for the routine, everyday viewers of Wheel.
On the other hand, a studio could argue there’s no better time to turn over the show than while it transitions from Saja to Seacrest.
Vanna White is also 66-years-old. ShowBiz has a long history of replacing veterans with younger, cheaper talents. Everyone has a shelf life. It’s the cruel nature of the industry.
Undoubtedly, Sony could fill White’s role with another co-host for half of what she makes now — let alone the $7.5 million salary she demands.
That said, Seacrest already campaigned for White to remain: “I can’t wait to continue the tradition of spinning the wheel and working alongside the great Vanna White.”
It’s not that Sony doesn’t appreciate White. Rather, it disagrees that her role is on equal footing with the lead host.
Prediction: Vanna White stays but not at the salary she requests.