Where Is Pat Sajak? Why Vanna White Is Hosting ‘Wheel of Fortune’

What happened to Pat Sajak
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If you tune in to Wheel of Fortune and see Vanna White chatting with the contestants and hosting the show — don’t be alarmed.

The 62-year-old has been turning letters on the popular game show for more than 30 years, but in the upcoming episodes of the show, she will be filling in for host Pat Sajak.

“We’ve been together 37 years, and it’s not the same — we are a team. We’re together. It just felt weird with him not being here on the set,” she recently told ABC News. “Those three weeks without him were very hard. I really missed him. I just can’t imagine doing this show without him, you know? And I hope he feels the same with me.”

What happened to Pat Sajak?

This leaves many fans wondering what exactly happened to Pat that made him absent from the show for three full weeks.

On November 8, it was revealed that the gameshow host underwent emergency surgery to correct a blocked intestine. At the time, the upcoming Wheel of Fortune episode had to be abruptly canceled as the news was too sudden and no alternative plans had been made.

“He is resting comfortably and looking forward to getting back to work,” the official WOF Instagram page shared.


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The Wheel of Fortune taping on Thursday was canceled because host Pat Sajak underwent successful emergency surgery to correct a blocked intestine. He is resting comfortably and looking forward to getting back to work. Taping resumed today as scheduled and Vanna White has stepped in as host.

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By November 15, Pat was released from the hospital and he’s now on the road to recovery. “Getting back home has given me the time to reflect on — and appreciate — the love and support of my family, friends, co-workers, casual acquaintances, and countless Wheel Watchers. Recovery will be complete and relatively fast,” he said in a statement via the WOF page. “And, for better or worse, doctors tell me they did not remove my sense of humor. See you all soon.”

Why is Vanna White hosting Wheel of Fortune?

After Pat’s health scare, producers came to Vanna and asked if she’d feel comfortable taking over temporarily as the host — something that she wasn’t exactly thrilled to do.

“My first thought was, ‘There’s no way.’ I don’t pay attention to Pat. I’m busy with my letters and my puzzle board. [You] have to be aware of everything that’s going on, where before all I had to worry about was letters. Now I have to carry the whole show, I have to talk to all three players and make sure I get their scores right,” she explained to ABC News.

But ultimately, despite being “petrified,” she stepped up to the plate, and addressed the news on her Twitter account. “Wheel of Fortune without [Pat] is like a word without vowels. I’ll fill in the blanks until you return. Rest up and we’ll be solving puzzles in no time,” she wrote, before joking that his job was “pretty safe.”

When does Pat Sajak return to Wheel of Fortune?

On December 5, it was announced that Pat had officially returned to work. He appeared to be all smiles and in good spirits. “Pat is back! We are so happy to have him return to his spot at the Wheel today! (Vanna may be happiest of all 😁)” the page shared.

But that doesn’t mean fans will be seeing him on TV anytime soon.


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Pat is back! We are so happy to have him return to his spot at the Wheel today! (Vanna may be happiest of all 😁) #WheelOfFortune

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Though he’s officially back to work now, the episodes he missed back in November still have to air. So, those episodes — with Vanna taking over as host — will start airing this week.

Pat took to his Twitter to explain just how everything will unfold. “Here’s the deal: Vanna will be hosting this coming week and the next. Then two weeks of shows I taped before my surgery. Then Vanna again the week of January 6 with a special guest at the puzzle board. Then the planets will realign, and it’s back to normal.”

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Wheel of Fortune, Weeknights, 7:30pm EST, ABC