Bob Barker, longtime host of “The Price is Right”, signing copies of Priceless Memories
- 4/9/09 7:00 PM at Borders Books – Park Avenue. New York, NY.
Robert William “Bob” Barker (born December 12, 1923) is a former American television game show host. He is best known for hosting CBS’ The Price Is Right from 1972 to 2007, making it the longest-running daytime game show in North American television history. After holding the job for 35 years and having been in television for 50 years, Barker retired in June 2007.
The Price Is Right
On September 4, 1972, Barker began his most famous assignment hosting the CBS revival of The Price is Right. In the 35 years of the CBS version, he has become far more strongly associated with the show than first host Bill Cullen was with the 1956-1965 original.
On October 15, 1987 Barker did what other MCs almost never did: he renounced hair dye and allowed his hair to go gray. Fellow hosts Monty Hall, Alex Trebek and Richard Dawson would follow Barker’s decision to go to gray hair in the late 1980s.
In 2006, The Price Is Right celebrated 35 consecutive years on the air. It is the longest-running game show of all time in North America. Overall, in daytime programming (excluding Saturday and Sunday), The Price Is Right is ranked sixth among the longest-continuing television programs (NBC’s Today ranks the longest, followed by four daytime soap operas: Guiding Light, As the World Turns, General Hospital, and Days of our Lives). It has won its time slot (11:00 a.m. Eastern) for the past 25 years with its closest competitor (currently ABC’s The View) normally getting about half of TPIR’s ratings.
On October 31, 2006, Bob made his announcement that he would retire from The Price Is Right in June 2007. However, Barker has revealed that Fremantle Media, the company that owns the show, has been looking for a successor in the last two to three years, and also that he had considered retirement for a while, but he had so much fun that he continued to do the show. He taped his final episode on June 6, 2007, with the show airing twice on June 15, 2007. The first airing was in the show’s normal daytime slot and the second airing was in prime time as the lead-in to the Daytime Emmy Awards. Repeat episodes from Barker’s final season continued to air until October 12, 2007, ending with a repeat of his final episode. On July 23, 2007, it was announced that comedian Drew Carey would take Barker’s place as the new host for the show beginning in Fall 2007.
During Barker’s tenure as host, three pricing games were introduced that used his name: Barker’s Bargain Bar, Barker’s Marker$ and Trader Bob. Of the three, Barker’s Bargain Bar is the only game that still uses his name; Barker’s Marker$ became Make Your Mark in Season 36 (the show’s first with Drew Carey as host), and Trader Bob has been retired. In addition, Barker is always mentioned in some form by Carey whenever a contestant plays Barker’s Bargain Bar (as “the founder of the show”; earlier variants used the fictitious names Ezekiel Barker and Jebediah Barker) and Punch a Bunch (where Carey tells the story of how Chuck Norris once taught Barker karate). In addition, contestants have been known to address Carey as “Bob,” especially while they place their bids in Contestants’ Row (which he usually laughs off and reminds them to call him “Drew”).
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