The TV host is responding to news that Vanna White has extended her contract with 'Wheel of Fortune.'
Ryan Seacrest is taking over as host of Wheel of Fortune in the fall of 2024, and couldn't be more delighted with the recent news that Vanna White has extended her contract with the beloved game show. White, who has been an integral part of Wheel of Fortune for decades, will continue turning letters on through to the 2025-2026 season -- and Seacrest is eager to work alongside her.
In a preview of his upcoming interview with Sunday Today With Willie Geist, which will air in full on Sept. 24, Seacrest expresses his enthusiasm for White's contract extension. "This is such great news," he says. "Vanna has been such a staple on that show and in our living rooms for so many years. I've been very excited to work with her, but now that it's official, I can say, 'Congratulations, Vanna.' I can't wait."
Seacrest emphasizes the significance of White's presence on the show, describing her as beloved by viewers and an essential part of the program's success. "It's super important to have Vanna White on Wheel of Fortune," he notes. "I can't even imagine standing next to her on that set, being able to say, 'OK, let's get to it.' It's great news. I'm very happy to hear it and very happy I get to work with her."
Seacrest humorously mentions that he can turn to White for guidance, joking he'll ask, "How does this work?"
News that White is staying on the show comes months after Puck News reported that she had not had a pay raise in nearly two decades, and had hired an "aggressive new lawyer" to get her raise amid ongoing negotiations. Citing multiple sources, Puck News claimed White made $3 million a year, while Sajak was earning five times that. Sony declined to comment on the report at the time.
As for Seacrest, his transition into the hosting role of Wheel of Fortune seems to have the blessing of the show's outgoing host, Pat Sajak, who announced in June that he would be completing his final season on the show before handing over the reins to Seacrest in September 2024.
"I'm truly humbled to be stepping into the footsteps of the legendary Pat Sajak," said Seacrest in a message just 16 days after Sajak announced his retirement. "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."
ET spoke with Seacrest on Tuesday in Queens, New York, where the American Idol host shared the advice Sajak offered him upon taking the job.
"He is a legend. I've looked up to him forever. He's so good at that job, which, you know, is a little bit of pressure here. But he just said, 'You're going to have a great time. It's so much fun. What's better than giving away money and doing that every single night?'" Seacrest shared. "I can't wait to meet the contestants and do it."
Seacrest will begin his tenure during season 42. In the meantime, Sajak is enjoying one last victory lap as season 41 is currently underway. Seacrest said that's exactly why they haven't talked about the transition yet.
"He's enjoying his last season," Seacrest said. "I start next year. I think it's a big celebratory season for him and the show."
For the record, Sajak will be sticking around for three years after he steps down as host to serve as a show consultant.
"So, yeah, he'll be bossing me around," Seacrest quipped. "Why not? I think he deserves that, yeah."
The former Live With Kelly and Ryan host played coy with ET when asked how long he's known about the Wheel of Fortune gig.
"Well, in my dreams I've known about this job for a long time," he joked. But in all seriousness, Seacrest said the deal came together "quickly."
"It was something that felt, certainly for me, felt like the perfect opportunity," he shared. "I'm glad it felt that way to Sony as well. And it was not difficult or complicated to work out."