Forty-plus years is a long time to be doing anything, particularly in the entertainment industry. But save for some time off she nabbed this summer while negotiating her first raise in 18 years, that’s how long Vanna White has reigned as the mostly silent co-host of Wheel of Fortune. She may outlast her colleague Pat Sajak, who began the year before her and is leaving after the current season. Still, when he announced he was vamoosing, White at least considered joining him.
In an interview with People, when asked if she wondered if her time was up, too, she said, “Of course it’s a thought.” She continued:
“It’s like, ‘Well, wait, if you’re leaving, what am I going to do? How can I stay without you?’ It was a very hard decision for me to make, because it definitely crossed my mind. It’s like, ‘I just don’t know if I can do this without you,’ but I thought about it and I’m not ready to retire, so I am staying on.”
Next year, she’ll be joined by a very different TV personality, Ryan Seacrest. While she admits the show with him will be “different,” she’s not worried.
“I know Ryan — he is professional, he’s good at what he does, he’s kind,” White said. “I think it’s going to be good. He’s such a nice guy and he loves what he does. He said, ‘Look, I am not replacing Pat. I’m not going in to try to fill Pat’s shoes. No one can ever replace him.’ He says he’s coming in to do a good job and to keep the show going, and I’m looking forward to working with him.”
Still, White may have to vacate the show at some point, even just temporarily. And she knows who should replace her: Maggie Sajak, daughter of Pat.
“I think she’s a good replacement if I can’t be there for some reason,” White told E! News. “She’s been around it her whole life, so I think she can fill in for me for sure.”