Vanna White and Pat Sajak hosted a talk at The Paley Center for Media in New York on Wednesday to talk about Wheel of Fortune — its success, its long tenure, and its near failure.
Along the way, long-time co-host Vanna White let slip the tip she gives to contestants who seem nervous backstage.
"Buy vowels," she says. She sees this as the easiest strategy for winning the game and holding your own. However, vowels weren't always the commodity they are today. During the talk, White, Sajak,and executive producer Harry Friedman also recalled the days before the show was syndicated.
When Wheel of Fortune was a daytime, show, vowels cost $150. Because the rating were dropping at the time, the cash prizes on the board dropped correspondingly, which was reflected in the price of vowels. "It's a great economic success story!" Sajak said of the vowels triumphant rise to $250.
White is perhaps more qualified than anyone else who works on the show to dole out this advice. Among the many things they discussed at The Paley Center, they mentioned White's humble origins as a fan of the show, just hoping to play the game. While she never got to stand on that stage as a contestant, she did end up with an audition to be one of the stars.
“My knees were quivering and my legs were shaking,” White says of her Wheel of Fortune audition. She says she was more nervous than any of the other 200 girls there.
Although she started out as a fan, White has become indispensable to the show. “I can’t imagine being up there with someone else,” Sajak said of his long-time friend and co-host. The two told the crowd in New York that they plan to exit the show together when the time is right. Hopefully that won't be for a long time.