After watching Vanna White hosting her first week of Wheel of Fortune, here’s my critique of how the longtime hostess did in switching duties from the turning letters on the puzzleboard to taking control of the show at the contestants’ podium.
I believe she is doing a fine job thus far – especially how quickly she was thrown into the limelight with Pat Sajak’s abrupt absence. Throughout each episode, you could tell how unnerved she was in her physical and verbally stiff demeanor and how often she missed subtle cues such as stating the second round is the Prize Puzzle and revealing the contents of the envelope immediately after winning contestants failed to correctly guess the bonus round puzzle. White did an excellent job of sticking with the basics during her emceeing baptism-by-fire during the interviews by just simply asking the contestants to “tell her about themselves”, generally throughout the game and not forcing any awkward ad-libs outside of the show-ending banter between the host and co-host.
This was smart move by producers to make White the substitute host (much to her chagrin) as not only a budget-saving measure to avoid shelling out money hiring a temporary fill-in or indefinitely postponing daily tapings, but it also gives home viewers a fresh incentive to watch Wheel given how much the show has lost its luster over the past few years. I also love how the show integrated Disney characters into the special Secret Santa episodes by making them stand-in co-hosts and revealing letters by using “Disney Magic”.
Although there were several moments where you could literally feel how nervous she was, White gradually improved and began feeling more comfortable in taking control of the show toward the end of the week by throwing in little clever quips after puzzle solves and reminding contestants about forgettable but crucial front game rules, including having the ability to use the Wild Card after landing on a big money wedge and being careful not to add extra words (like the infamous “AND”) when solving the Crossword Puzzle category.
Despite how stressed she felt while Sajak was undergoing his emergency surgery and laughing off a few humorous stumbles and gaffes, White is doing well as Wheel’s substitute host. For the next couple of weeks, we should see an even more comfortable Vanna White hosting her 10 remaining episodes. I believe the major takeaway from watching Vanna White’s hosting stint on Wheel of Fortune is that even a relatively simple game show like Wheel takes a LOT of work and effort to properly host.
Take a look at a few highlights of Vanna’s first week, including her reminiscing about her first-time, full-time hosting experience in the clips below and make sure you stay tuned for more of Vanna spinning the big wheel and hosting Wheel of Fortune for the next few weeks.