Vanna White shocked her Wheel of Fortune bosses after hiring a powerhouse lawyer and demanded a massive increase to her salary following Pat Sajak’s exit — and sources said she will fight any potential plans from new host Ryan Seacrest to replace her with a younger star, RadarOnline.com has learned.
According to sources close to the situation, Vanna was furious after learning Ryan would be taking over for Pat as host of the long-running game show.
As we previously reported, insiders claimed the 66-year-old wanted to take the game show’s top job after Pat stepped down. But Ryan, 48, swooped in at the last minute and won the job after quitting as Kelly Ripa’s co-host on the morning TV gabfest Live!
“The whole situation is fraught with drama,” said a source. “She put up with all of Pat’s weirdness for 39 long years and people figured she’d earned a shot at the big gig.”
As we previously reported, Vanna has been paid a $3 million salary for 18 years without a single pay raise. Pat was pulling in around $15 million per season.
Sources say Vanna fears Ryan may lobby to replace her with a younger sidekick — which she plans to stop. Sources said Vanna hired Bryan Freedman to represent her in talks with execs.
Another insider added, “A lot of people are shocked Vanna has been overlooked and apparently underpaid for so long. No wonder she’s calling in the big guns to negotiate on her behalf. She needs to protect herself and get what’s fair, even if it means a messy fight.”
Another source added, “Vanna’s bosses are panicking now. They clearly underestimated her and how much support she has both on and off the set!”
As we previously reported, last month, Pat announced he was set to retire after the upcoming season.
“Well, the time has come,” Sajak said in a statement. “I’ve decided that our 41st season, which begins in September, will be my last. It’s been a wonderful ride, and I’ll have more to say in the coming months. Many thanks to you all.”