The Price is Right is losing its announcer and starting new on-camera auditions for the 39th season of the show, which begins in September.
That’s the word from Rich Fields, in a statement released on his official website.
Fields was named permanent announcer in 2004, after the death of Rod Roddy, whose flamboyant silk jackets made him a beloved second banana for then-host Bob Barker. Roddy got the announcing job in early 1986 following the death of the show’s original announcer, Johnny Olson, who died in October of 1985. Olson was the ultimate game show announcer, a talent so valued for his audience warmup skills that Jackie Gleason flew Olson down to Florida each week to warm up his audience when he moved his 1960s production to a more golf-friendly climate.
It was Olson who made “Come on down” part of Americana. It was the hammy Roddy who added even more comic elements to the show. Fields started off as the most reserved of the three, but evolved into a more stereotypical “over the top” game show announcer.
This means that of the three announcers the show has had since its 1972 premiere, Fields is the first one to leave for a reason other than death.
The reason he is leaving, according to Fields, is that the producers are hoping to replace him with an “improv comic.” Fields says the show’s executive producer loves the idea of “house bands” and “live performers” and hopes to make The Price is Right more of a “variety show within a game show.” I am not making this up!
House bands and live performers? A variety show? Really?
The only gimmick that show needs is the gimmick it has had since day one: guessing prices. It’s one of the easiest games in the world to get into, because everyone identifies with the pricing of prizes.
Who needs a house band? Who needs live performers?
Just play the damned game!
I have the feeling that I’m watching the latest chapter of “the long goodbye” for a program that has been a daytime staple for almost four decades.
It ain’t your grandfather’s Price these days…and it’s drifting further from that season after season. More’s the pity.