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Why Vanna White isn’t on ‘Wheel of Fortune’ right now

Viewers tuning in to new episodes of ‘Wheel of Fortune’ this week will notice at least one major difference: no Vanna White

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Pat Sajak, left, and Vanna White, from “Wheel of Fortune,” attend a ceremony honoring Harry Friedman with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Nov. 1, 2019, in Los Angeles. White is absent from “Wheel of Fortune” this week due to sickness.

Richard Shotwell/Invision/Associated Press

Viewers tuning in to new episodes of “Wheel of Fortune” this week will notice at least one major difference: no Vanna White.

White missed a day of taping — five episodes — due to sickness during the summer, USA Today previously reported. Her absence falls during the show’s annual Teacher’s Week, which this year airs from Oct. 2-6.

In place of White, viewers will see Bridgette Donald-Blue, who was one of the 2023 California Teachers of the Year, per USA Today.

“You’ll notice Vanna is not here, and I have to say that Ms. White has tested positive for COVID. That’s the bad news,” longtime host Pat Sajak, who is retiring after this season, said at the start of Monday’s episode, per Entertainment Weekly. “The good news is I talked to her just a little while ago and she feels fine. She has a little sniffle. But she tested positive and that’s the way it goes, so she will not be with us here this week.”

It marks the first time in 30 years White has missed an episode, Fox News reported. She has been absent from the show just three times in her decadeslong career.

How much does Vanna White make on ‘Wheel of Fortune’?

Although Sajak’s time on “Wheel” will come to an end in 2024, White recently extended her contract to stay with “Wheel of Fortune” through the 2025-26 season, USA Today reported.

Prior to White’s contract negotiations, it was widely reported that her annual salary was roughly $3 million — and that it had stayed at that amount for the past 18 years, per the Deseret News. Sajak, meanwhile, reportedly earns around $15 million, according to Entertainment Tonight.

Ryan Seacrest, who hosted “Live with Kelly and Ryan” for six seasons and has been the host of “American Idol” since 2002, will take over for Sajak in September 2024.

“I’m truly humbled to be stepping into the footsteps of the legendary Pat Sajak,” Seacrest previously said in statement on X. “I can say, along with the rest of America, that it’s been a privilege and 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.

“I can’t wait to continue the tradition of spinning the wheel and working alongside the great Vanna White.”