TV & Showbiz

Announcer Candidates, Come On Down!

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.

2 Comments

  1. When Rich Fields was named as Rod Roddy's "permanent" replacement as "The Price is Right's" announcer, he said that it had been his dream job since he was a young boy, and that you could ask his mother(!) for verification of that claim. So it REALLY steams me that the show so unceremoniously dismissed him when he was doing an exemplary job as far as I, and anyone else whom I've asked, is/are concerned! That old cliche "if it ain't broke, don't FIX it!" has never rung truer. The reason it's the longest running program on TV is because the basic formula is so good and when a few upstart producers are given the authority to meddle in that excellent format with what appears to be a high level of impunity, I take it all as a clear sign that the end of this cherished cornerstone of the network is close to being upon us, and the whole situation is causing me a great deal of angst (even a bit of admittedly premature separation anxiety!)
    Please, PLEASE CBS execs, do something, starting with re-hiring Mr. Fields, to right this rapidly sinking ship!

    Respectfully Submitted,
    Daniel Juhasz

    1. I'd agree that he did an exemplary job his first few seasons with the show. But as soon as producer Roger Dobkowitz left the show, Rich's tone changed into a much more "over-the-top" style that made even grocery items sound as big as "A NEW CAAAAARRRRRR!"

      Of course, one of the three new candidates is even more over the top than Rich was last season. It's so bad that he sounds like he's trying to do a caricature of a caricature of Don Pardo.
      My recent post Restaurant Sued Over Aptly-Named Burger

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.