Vanna White was forced to miss a week of filming Wheel Of Fortune in July after contracting COVID-19, Puck News reports. The episodes were part of “Teacher’s Week,” and are expected to air in October. During her absence, Vanna was replaced by Bridgette Donald-Blue, who was the recipient of Teacher of the Year. This is just the fourth time in Vanna’s tenure that she’s been absent from Wheel. In 1986, she took time off following the death of her boyfriend and in 1991 she spent two weeks away for her honeymoon, as well as home sick with a cold. HollywoodLife has been able to confirm through an independent source that Vanna did in fact miss a day of taping while they filmed ‘Teachers Week’ and that Bridgette graciously agreed fill in for Vanna for the five episodes that were shot.
Although Vanna only missed a few days of filming, the timing comes amidst negotiations for her contract. Earlier this year, Pat Sajak announced that he’d be leaving the show in 2024 when his contract with Sony Pictures Television is up. Vanna’s contract ends at the end of the same season, and she is reportedly in the midst of negotiating with Sony for a bigger payday.
In July, Vanna reportedly reached a partial deal with the company, but only involving Celebrity Wheel of Fortune, according to TMZ. The site reports that she will now make $100,000 per episode for Celebrity Wheel. However, Vanna is reportedly asking for half of Pat’s salary for the syndicated Wheel show, as well, which is where the negotiations continue. Her salary has been the same for the past 18 years.
While Vanna’s future with the show still remains uncertain, Pat will be replaced by Ryan Seacrest for the 2024/2025 season. After Pat announced his departure in June, Vanna opened up about how much she’ll miss him on set. “When we started Wheel Of Fortune who could have imagined we’d still be at it 41 years later?” Vanna tweeted. “I couldn’t have been happier to have shared the stage with you for all these years with one more to come. Cheers to you, Pat Sajak.”
At the end of June, Pat sent a welcome message to Ryan, where he looked ahead to passing the baton. “I’m looking forward to my final season an then handing the car keys over to Ryan in September 2024,” he wrote on Twitter. The 41st season of Wheel premieres on Sept. 11.