It may have sounded like an endorsement, but Bob Barker’s recent remarks about Rosie O’Donnell weren’t meant that way.
“The Price Is Right” host, who retired this month after 35 years with the show, told reporters last week at the Daytime Emmy Awards that he had “no doubt” that O’Donnell would make a fine host for the CBS game show.
But Barker told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he never meant to endorse any potential host and has no role in choosing his replacement.
“I have not been asked for my opinion, nor have I expressed one,” Barker said. “I think there are several candidates who could do the show, and Rosie is certainly one of them.”
CBS and FremantleMedia North America, which produces “The Price Is Right,” have yet to announce Barker’s successor. Among those reportedly in the running, besides O’Donnell, are Todd Newton of the E! network, Mark Steines of “Entertainment Tonight,” George Hamilton and John O’Hurley. O’Donnell said on her blog that she plans to meet with the “Price” representatives this week and that she “sure would” accept the job if offered.
CBS and FremantleMedia had no comment Wednesday. “The Price Is Right” is on hiatus until the new season starts in the fall.
After winning his 19th Daytime Emmy, Barker was asked about the possibility of O’Donnell taking his place on “Price.” The silver-haired matinee idol has known O’Donnell since the days of her afternoon talk show, where Barker was a frequent guest.
“She told me at that time that she liked ‘The Price Is Right’ and some day wanted to host it,” said Barker, 83. “I thought she could do the show. She’s a very talented lady and I thought she could do most any show.”
So when asked after the Emmys about her qualifications, he responded, “She knows the show. There’s no doubt in my mind she could do the show.”
But Barker stressed Wednesday that he never meant to imply she was his top pick to replace him. It would be “terribly presumptuous,” he added, to assume he would have any impact on the host selection.
“I haven’t even seen all the tapes of the candidates,” he said.
Barker wrapped up his 50-year reign on television earlier this month. So far he has spent his time swimming, exercising and walking his dog, Jessie.
“I think I’m going to make a success of retirement,” he said.