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TELEVISION | WORKING HOLLYWOOD

He always knew `Price' was right

July 09, 2006|Susan King

Rich Fields

Announcer

*

Current credits: "The Price Is Right" on CBS and the network's recently completed "Gameshow Marathon." He also does commercial voice-over work.

Catch phrase: "Come on down!"

Role model: The late "Price Is Right' announcer Johnny Olson.

Job description: "For other game shows it's different, but for 'The Price Is Right,' as the announcer I have got to read all of the prize description copy, and that can entail 38 to 40 pages of copy for every hour of the show. It is a lot. So inside of that there is also the calling down of all the contestants, the show opening, the introduction of Bob Barker.

"I also am charged with audience warmup as well. I have to do 15 minutes of stand-up and warmup as well to get the crowd to a fever pitch before Mr. Barker hits the stage."

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday July 11, 2006 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 37 words Type of Material: Correction
Rich Fields photo: The caption under a photograph of game-show announcer Rich Fields in Sunday Calendar's Working Hollywood article incorrectly said it was taken at "Gameshow Marathon." It was from "The Price Is Right Million Dollar Spectacular."
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday July 16, 2006 Home Edition Sunday Calendar Part E Page 2 Calendar Desk 1 inches; 37 words Type of Material: Correction
Rich Fields photo: The caption under a photograph of game-show announcer Rich Fields in last Sunday's Working Hollywood article incorrectly said it was taken at "Gameshow Marathon." It was from "The Price is Right Million Dollar Spectacular."

Pitch perfect: "It is all within the excitement level of what you are doing at the time. When it is the show opening and you are calling down the first four names and you are getting ready to introduce Mr. Barker, my voice is at a fever pitch. It's 'From CBS Television City in Hollywood!' -- with a lot of voice inflection. Then when Mr. Barker comes out and he says, 'What's the first item up for bid?' you roll into a descriptive tone of voice -- 'It's a lovely chaise lounge' -- where you can get the copy out cleanly and clearly."

Getting 'The Price' right: "For every show there is a one-hour rehearsal, and prior to the rehearsal there are two morning production meetings. The first is with the director, the associate director, the three models and myself. That is when we sit down with the script and go through each and every prize word for word.

"A half-hour later is the second meeting, and that is almost everyone on staff. Then we go into rehearsal for an hour."

Ad-libs: "Anything can happen. One model forgot to step on the brake of a new car and ran into Door 3 and broke a guy's foot backstage. Generally, Mr. Barker likes to leave mistakes in like that."

Previous experience: "I worked for Mark Goodson Productions years ago down in the state of Florida. I did the Florida Lottery's 'Flamingo Fortune.' It was a half-hour weekly lottery game show. Prior to that I was on radio. I did, like, 25 years of radio in my career. I was a music disc jockey -- top 40s, oldies. After I got my degree in broadcasting and was in radio so long, I went back to college and got a degree in meteorology from Mississippi State. I was chief meteorologist for CBS2 in Palm Springs."

Landing 'Price': I think it was October 2003 that [announcer Rod Roddy] passed away and they started auditioning voices immediately. I am a huge fan of 'The Price Is Right.' I have watched it every day or TiVo'd it since 1972. I called 'The Price Is Right' and asked for the producer, Roger Dobkowitz. I said, 'I would love to come to audition for you,' and he said, 'First, why don't you send us a tape of what you sound like?' I sent him a CD of regular copy reads. He called a week later and said, 'We are going to send you a copy of the show and the script, and we want you to take out Rod's voice and put your voice in it.' About two days later, they called and said, 'We would like you to do a week with Mr. Barker.' A week went by and they called and said, 'We would like you to do another week on the air.'

"I'll never forget it -- it was March 30, 2004, at two minutes to 6 p.m. I was getting ready to do the 6 o'clock weathercast and my wife called me and said, 'Roger wants you to call him back right away.' I called him at his house and he said, 'How would you like to be the announcer on "The Price Is Right"?' My knees buckled and I swear to God it was the first time I almost fainted."

Meeting his mentor: "When I was 18, old enough to get into the studio, I came to see 'The Price Is Right.' I sat in the very back row and I can remember Johnny Olson up on stage -- this was 27 years ago -- and he said, 'Are there any questions?'

"I raised my hand frantically in back and said, 'Yeah, Johnny. I have a question -- how do I get your job?' The crowd laughed and Johnny said, 'Come up here.' Johnny Olson brought me up on stage, handed me the microphone and said, 'Let's hear what you've got, kid. Call me down to contestants' row.'

"So I took the microphone and said, "Johnny Olson, come on down! You're the next contestant on 'The Price is Right.' The crowd screamed -- they loved it. Johnny looked around and said, 'Give me that microphone, kid, before Bob Barker hears you backstage!' "

Age: 45

Resides: Beverly Hills.

Union/Guild: American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

-- Susan King

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