Wheel of Fortune isn’t just a typical network show. The fan-favorite program ranks as the longest-running syndicated game show in the country with Pat Sajak becoming the longest-running game show host in 2019.
With the world getting flipped upside down amid the coronavirus pandemic, Hollywood felt a dramatic impact as major networks had to push back production on upcoming series or even put a halt altogether on its current shows. Wheel of Fortune was among those to feel the impact after announcing at the end of March that it would be shutting down for the time being. While the news was certainly unwanted, the team did a great job of working ahead and recording enough episodes ahead of time — although a slight change was made to the Spin ID giveaway — to continue putting out new content with much of America in a quarantine. That being said, Sajak and his longtime partner, Vanna White, found themselves in unfamiliar territory: not working.
"I miss it," White said in an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com. “It’s horrible. I miss my Wheel of Fortune family. I really do. You don’t realize when you’ve been working with people for 20-30 years that you do miss them when you don’t see them. When we go to work it’s a happy place."
When asked about what she misses the most, White couldn’t just list one thing. “I miss it all: the people, the contestants and I miss my puzzle board.” She also misses working alongside Sajak, who she said is like a brother to her. With all of the new free time on her hands, White has been doing all she can to keep busy. That includes plenty of cleaning, cooking and exercising to go with “a lot of crocheting.” She also surprisingly can’t get away from games and puzzles, adding that jigsaw puzzles, Sudoku, Scrabble and even Words With Friends have become quite the time-killers in her household.
None of these activities, though, can replace working, which is something she has become very accustomed to after 37 years in her role on the show. She does admit, though, that it’s been a blessing to see the show continue to air new episodes and keep everyone entertained in their households.
“It is a happy place,” White explained of the show’s societal impact. “Anybody that tunes in, you can tune out anything that has been going on in your life for that week or that month and have 30 minutes of family fun. You see people win, you see people happy, you solve the puzzles [at home] and you’re a part of the show. It’s just a great half hour of escape and family time.”
As for when the show will get back on set in Culver City, California to resume producing new episodes, White revealed that she hasn’t heard anything yet. She’s remaining optimistic that it will be in the near future. “I’m patiently waiting and hoping that it will be soon,” White shared. “I’m hoping we can get back in the studio fairly soon so we won’t have to have so many re-runs.”