As a kid in Avon, Rich Fields dreamed of what he would become when he grew up. But his role model wasn't a comic-book superhero, NFL quarterback or home-run king — it was Johnny Olsen, the original announcer on the long-running CBS-TV game show "The Price is Right."
"My mom can tell you stories of when I was 8 years old and standing in front of the TV with her black hairbrush, pretending it was a microphone, saying ‘Come on down!' or ‘It's a new car!' " the 44-year-old Fields says with game-show-host enthusiasm.
Earlier this year, he was named the third announcer in the game show's 33-year history. The University of Florida graduate has put plenty of effort into preparing for the gig, too. While working at a Tampa, Fla., radio station, the veteran disc jockey moonlighted as an announcer on "Flamingo Fortune," a weekly Florida Lottery TV show, while earning a bachelor's degree in meteorology by correspondence course.
Fields then landed a job as a morning weatherman at a CBS-TV affiliate in Palm Springs, Calif., in 2002. Then, when longtime "The Price is Right" announcer Rod Roddy died of cancer in 2003, Fields parlayed his stint on "Flamingo Fortune" into an audition. "I almost passed out," he says, recounting the phone call offering him the job.
Fields now drives a car with "TPIR" vanity license plates that he parks in a spot right next to show host Bob Barker's space in the CBS Television City lot. He insists that he hasn't even thought about taking the 80-year-old, game-show legend's place.
"I just got this," Fields says. "I want to enjoy it as long as I can."