The show must go on! Vanna White will be absent from a few upcoming Wheel of Fortune episodes amid the famous letter-turner’s $7 million per year contract negotiations, with a teacher stepping in as her replacement.
The 66-year-old leggy bombshell allegedly got COVID-19 late last month during the gameshow’s annual “Teachers Week.”
Wheel of Fortune producers realized they were in a crunch and reportedly called on the “Teacher of the Year” recipient, Bridgette Donald-Blue, to take White’s place at the iconic letter board for the week, according to Puck News.
This will mark the first time White has been absent from the show in nearly three decades.
Sources revealed to RadarOnline.com that “Vanna missed a day of taping the syndicated show as she was out sick” and “teachers had already arrived in LA to tape the episodes.” We’re told that “with the academic school year starting, it was not feasible to reschedule that day” to a later date.
We can also reveal that Donald-Blue “graciously agreed to fill in for Vanna for those five episodes.”
The “Teachers Week” episodes are set to air in October. RadarOnline.com has reached out to the Wheel of Fortune rep for comment.
White’s absence comes at an interesting time, considering she’s deep in negotiations for a massive pay raise after her longtime sidekick Pat Sajak announced his departure.
As RadarOnline.com reported, White is “playing hardball” with Sony bosses, who are allegedly scoffing at her high-priced demands. She recently brought in the big guns, hiring powerhouse attorney Bryan Friedman in hopes of working out a deal.
Sources claimed that Sajak was pulling in $15 million per year for his role as host, compared to White’s $3 million.
Despite having Friedman in her corner, insiders told TMZ that executives are not “receptive” to White’s pay raise demands. Her attorney allegedly asked Sony bosses to bring on a third party to evaluate White’s value, but the studio reportedly axed that idea.
The insider shared that executives believe they overpaid Saja — and don’t want to make the same mistake.
“Fifty percent of Pat’s salary is so outrageous that no one in their right mind could say that it’s fair,” a source spilled PEOPLE in July. “The negotiation is asking for much more than 50% of his salary. It’s asking for the same pay — if not more.”
However, Sajak’s replacement Ryan Seacrest reportedly negotiated a whopping $28 million when he takes over as host after Pat’s retirement in 2024. White’s demands would mark her first raise in nearly 20 years.
Season 41 of Wheel of Fortune — and Sajak’s last — is set to air on September 11.