Rosie’s Game for ‘Price’ Position

Jun 24, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Rosie O’Donnell met with producers of “The Price Is Right” last week in New York City to discuss the former co-host of “The View” taking over the coveted job of hosting the long-running game show.

Ms. O’Donnell described the meeting with executives from FremantleMedia North America as “a nice lunch” on her blog and downplayed the possibility of landing the job.

“I don’t know if it’s going to work out,” she wrote. “Frankly, talking to real people would be better than having to talk to celebrities, so it would be good for me, but I don’t know if it would be right for them.”

Sources familiar with the situation described the meeting as “very positive” and described Ms. O’Donnell as passionate about wanting the position.

But concerns remain about whether Ms. O’Donnell is right for the CBS daytime show, the sources said. On one hand, she will almost certainly bring a higher level of media awareness to “Price” and boost initial tune-in. On the other hand, she’s a polarizing figure, and executives are worried about alienating the core “Price” audience (whose average age is 64).

The network and producers also are concerned whether simply being a game show host will satisfy Ms. O’Donnell’s need for a venue to express her opinions. If not, what other projects will Ms. O’Donnell be involved in— and how will such activities reflect on “Price”?

Longtime host Bob Barker initially told reporters he would support Ms. O’Donnell as his replacement, then later amended his comments to indicate several possible replacements were suitable.

For the moment, at least, the courtship has derailed another pending deal: Ms. O’Donnell’s planned daytime talk show.

Telepictures was submitting a budget to partner Warner Bros. for a new talk show starring Ms. O’Donnell when news of her interest in the “Price” job broke.

Although the talk show is planned for daytime, Ms. O’Donnell crafted a project that more closely resembles a late-night staple. The show would be shot in New York City in a theater setting (like “Late Show With David Letterman”) rather than on a traditional studio set. Telepictures also has budgeted for a live band.

Before Ms. O’Donnell came along, “Price” producers were keen on two candidates: “Entertainment Tonight” co-anchor Mark Steines and actor-comedian Drew Carey; producers had managed to keep the latter candidate quiet until late last week.

Producers also have tested numerous lesser-known performers, emphasizing that the “Price” brand will not bend to fit a new host, but that the host will have to adapt to fit “Price.”

Regardless, producers are under the gun to choose a new host quickly. The fall “Price” season typically begins shooting in July.


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