Vanna White makes her hosting debut on Wheel of Fortune after Pat Sajak's emergency surgery

By Gabrielle Chung
December 10, 2019 12:11 AM

Vanna White just made history by hosting her first-ever episode of Wheel of Fortune in over three decades.

On the Monday broadcast of the popular game show, the TV personality, 62, left her regular post on the puzzleboard to fill in for Pat Sajak after the host, 73, had to undergo emergency surgery for a blocked intestine. She was joined by Minnie Mouse, who took over White’s duties with turning the letters.

Before the broadcast, White tweeted, “Tonight’s my first night of hosting Wheel! I’m excited and nervous! Stay tuned!”

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In a video shared by Wheel of Fortune, White gives the iconic wheel a final spin to determine the value of a consonant in the last puzzle of the night.

“The wheel is heavy,” she says.

Though the wheel lands on a $500 wedge, White mistakingly thinks it landed on the bankrupt spot. Fortunately, a producer jumps in and stops her from spinning the wheel again.

“Oh no! I’m looking at the wrong arrow,” she says, before joking to the crowd, “How do you do this show?”

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Sajak underwent surgery in November.

“The Wheel of Fortune taping on Thursday was canceled because host Pat Sajak underwent successful emergency surgery to correct a blocked intestine,” the show tweeted on Nov. 8. “He is resting comfortably and looking forward to getting back to work. Taping resumed today as scheduled, and Vanna White has stepped in a host.”

On Nov. 11, Sajak shared a health update with fans, tweeting, “Happy to say that the worst has passed.”

He has been hosting Wheel of Fortune, which is the longest-running syndicated game show in the U.S., since 1982. The show taped its 7,000th episode in May of last year.

Pat Sajak
Gerardo Mora/Getty Images

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On Saturday, Sajak cleared the air about the upcoming Wheel of Fortune schedule on Twitter, telling his followers: “It’s a bit confusing, but 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 Jan. 6 with a special guest at the puzzle board. Then the planets will realign, and it’s back to normal.”

In October, White opened up to PEOPLE about her and Sajak’s “brotherly and sisterly chemistry” — and revealed that in the 37 years they’ve been on air together, she and Sajak have never had a single fight in real life, except once about whether or not to put ketchup on a hot dog.

“We’re one big family,” she told PEOPLE of the Wheel of Fortune cast and crew. “It’s wonderful.”

Wheel of Fortune airs weekdays (check local listings).

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