'Wheel of Fortune' Host Pat Sajak Says Vanna White Fans and Audiences Were 'Rooting' for Her During Hosting Stint

Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak praised Vanna White for stepping up and hosting the long-running game show while he was sidelined following emergency surgery. White, who has been the letter-turner on Wheel of Fortune since 1982, finally hosted the show solo while Sajak was hospitalized due to a blocked intestine in November. Sajak said he was "almost proud" to see White hosting and knew the audience was "rooting" for her.

"The fact that she did it speaks volumes about her. It would have been very easy for her to say, 'I'm sorry, this is not what I do,'" Sajak, 73, told Mo Rocca in a new CBS Sunday Morning profile on White, 63. "But the audience was rooting for her and almost proud to see her up there."

In the same profile, Rocca asked White if she would want to host again. She joked it was not on the "top of my list."

"I loved being there, I loved doing it, but I was so nervous," White explained. "Maybe if I did it a few more times I would feel better about it but I'm my worst critic."

White hosted three weeks' worth of Wheel of Fortune episodes, with the first two airing in December and the last airing in January. The January episodes featured Sajak's daughter Maggie standing in for White as the special guest co-host.

During interviews in December, White made it very clear that she was nervous about hosting the show, even though she has watched Sajak do it for almost 40 years.

"I literally had a 30-minute rehearsal of hosting the game," White told PEOPLE. "I did one, and then we did the shows! I'm very green, let's put it that way. I think for listening to Pat for 37 years, I understood the game and how he hosted it. I was very familiar with the show."

"I just wanted it to go smoothly," she continued. "I wasn't sure it was going to. I'm very shy, and I prefer being behind the scenes, not the center of attention. It was awkward in one way. But I did it. I did 15! I was on for three weeks of shows."

She also told Us Weekly she never even considered hosting the show before Sajak's medical emergency.

"I have never even thought of hosting the show," she said in December. "Never crossed my mind. But obviously, I stepped in, took one for the team to fill in for him because I'm very familiar with the show after all these years. And our executive producer thought I was the perfect person to do that in his absence."

Sajak and White will continue to host Wheel of Fortune for the forseeable future. In a December interview with Good Morning America after his surgery, Sajak hinted he might be ready to leave within two to three years.


"I'd rather leave a couple years too early than a couple years too late," he said at the time. "I don't have a date in mind, but you know, two, three [years], something like that."

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