Vanna White was 'very nervous' to host 'Wheel of Fortune' after Pat Sajak's emergency surgery

Vanna White at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on May 10, 2019 in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
Vanna White at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on May 10, 2019 in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Vanna White will host Wheel of Fortune on Monday night for the first time in 37 years — and to say she was nervous is "an understatement."

The longtime on-air companion to Pat Sajak, White has enjoyed her role on the game show immensely. In fact, she "never even thought" about hosting duties until Sajak was sidelined due to emergency surgery to correct a blocked intestine.

"I’ve never even thought of that in 37 years," White told the New York Times in an interview last week, "and to be asked almost on the spot, 'How do you feel about hosting the show?’ Like, what?!"

When asked if she had nerves White replied, "Oh, my gosh, that’s an understatement. I was very nervous."

White, who spun her first letter in 1982, only had one dry run before filming.

"Normally I just stand there and I turn my letters, and I’m just happy as can be not having to worry about anything else," she explained. "But here I am controlling the game. So logistically, it was much harder. But I know every aspect of the game, which helped so much."

White will host Wheel of Fortune for three weeks. For the first two weeks, Mickey and Minnie Mouse characters will take over her spot with the letters, while surprise guests will stand in at the board during the third week. And the best perk that accompanies hosting the show? White got to ditch her famous heels.

"Being behind the home base, I didn’t have to wear shoes," she shared. "So I took my shoes off during the show. It was great."

While she continued to wear glamorous dresses, they weren't full length.

"I had to walk to the contestants and they were on different platform heights," she explained. "I didn’t want to have a long dress to worry about tripping over."

White recognizes how few female game show hosts there are in the business. Even though "you don’t see a lot of it," she said she doesn't see any reason why women shouldn't be headlining such shows.

"Everybody’s entitled to host the show: female, male, everyone," she said.

"It would be fun to see more women up there doing that," White added. "If that’s what they want to do."

Sajak returned to set last week.

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