After years of speculation, Bob Barker, the venerable host of CBS’ Price is Right, has announced his retirement. Bob will be 83 in December of this year and says he wants “to retire while I’m still young.”
Bob Barker started his national television career in 1956 as the host of the popular Truth or Consequences after many years in local television and radio markets. Bob became the host of The Price is Right in the Fall of 1972 and has been with the show ever since — outlasting games, “Barker’s Beauties” and two announcing legends, both Johnny Olson and Rod Roddy.
Bob’s been considering retirement for at least ten years but says he was just having too much fun to give it up. But, now that he’s reached a pair of impressive milestones (35 years on The Price Is Right and 50 years on national television), Bob feels the time is right to hang up the mic.
“I’ve gone on and on and on to this ancient age because I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and I’m going to miss it. I’m just reaching the age where the constant effort to be there and do the show physically is a lot for me. I might be able to do the show another year, but better (to go) a year too soon than a year too late,” Bob admitted.
“From the bottom of my heart, I thank the television viewers, because they have made it possible for me to earn a living for 50 years doing something that I thoroughly enjoy. They have invited me into their homes daily for a half a century,” he said.
President and CEO of CBS Leslie Moonves said, “We knew this day would come, but that doesn’t make it any easier. Bob Barker is a daytime legend, an entertainment icon and one of the most beloved television personalities of our time.” A primetime special celebrating the long-running show and host is reportedly already in the works.
Does Bob’s retirement spell the end of the popular and long-running daytime game show? Hard to say. Bob Barker and Price have been considered inseparable entities for years and years. Many have believed that his retirement would spell the end of the show. CBS has tried primetime incarnations of the show with other hosts over the years and none have succeeded.
That being said, CBS and Freemantle Media (who produces Price) certainly are not ready to say goodbye to the profitable game show. Freemantle is said to have been looking for a replacement host for the past few years in preparation for Bob’s eventual departure. No word on how soon a new host is expected to be selected.
How will Bob finish his 35 year run? Well, Bob’s last Price will air in June of 2007 and at this point, he plans to treat the final episode like “business as usual.” He intends to end it with his trademark sign-off: “Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered.” I’m guessing Price fans wouldn’t have it any other way.