Changes, some big some small, are coming to America’s oldest game show. ‘The Price is Right’ is suddenly in the news this week, thanks to an old scandal, a departing major player, and reports of tweaks to the show’s format that could mean more frills and less game play. Longtime fans may be grumbling and asking themselves WWBBD? (What would Bob Barker do?)
The biggest change is the departure of longtime announcer Rich Fields, which Fields himself confirmed last week in a statement to fans. Fields, who has told contestants to “come on down” since 2004, wrote that his replacement will be an improv comic, someone who’ll be chosen via on-air auditions.
It’s not clear whether Fields was let go, quit to pursue greener pastures (he’ll still be working for CBS as a weatherman), or left because of the new direction the show is taking. As Fields put it, producer Mike Richards has “explained to me that he loves having the ‘house bands’ and ‘live performers’ all the time on ‘TPiR’ and that he hopes to make it more of a ‘variety show within a game show.’ He believes that having a comedian at the announcer’s position from now on will enhance this new change in direction.”