Rosie O’Donnell has begun campaigning to become the next host of “The Price Is Right,” days after retired host Bob Barker endorsed her for the job.
Execs at FremantleMedia North America, however, which owns the show, have told insiders that they don’t have much interest in seeing her come aboard.
And sources close to O’Donnell believe that while she loves the idea of doing the show, it’s unlikely she would uproot her family and move to the West Coast, where the show is produced.
Yet asked by a fan on her personal blog, O’Donnell seemed enthusiastic about hosting the show. “If they asked me, I sure would,” she wrote.
On her blog, O’Donnell indicated a meeting would take place this week. “Rosie is meeting with several networks about a lot of different things,” said spokeswoman Cindi Berger.
If O’Donnell does audition, she will be the first woman to have taken the mic on the Bob Barker Stage at CBS Television City and tried her hand at explaining the rules of “Plinko.”
Others who have auditioned include “CBS Early Show” weatherman David Price, “Entertainment Tonight” co-host Mark Steines, Mario Lopez, George Hamilton, John O’Hurley, Todd Newton, Mark Kriski of L.A.’s “KTLA Morning News” and, most recently, Ian Ziering, who auditioned last week.
Barker endorsed O’Donnell backstage at the Daytime Emmys Friday night and told reporters that CBS had approached the former moderator of “The View” to become the next host of the durable gameshow.
“I believe they’re going to have a meeting with Rosie,” Barker told the Associated Press after winning his 19th Emmy. “There’s no doubt in my mind she could do the show. Now, whether they want a lady host, I don’t know.”
Asked by a fan on her blog if she had read Barker’s comments, O’Donnell replied, “I know. Fantastic. I love ‘The Price Is Right.’ ”
It’s crunch time for CBS and Fremantle as a new season of “Price” starts shooting at the end of July and they’re still without a host to replace Barker, who retired Friday at the age of 83. At least 10 different potential hosts have auditioned so far.
CBS declined to comment on any overture to O’Donnell or any other part of the “Price” audition process.
There’s little doubt the gamer would receive huge amounts of publicity and possibly a ratings bump with O’Donnell named to take over for Barker, but CBS and Fremantle may not want to deal with the controversies that often accompany her as well.