The Vine: 'Price' host list narrows


The field of candidates to succeed Bob Barker as host of CBS' venerable game show "The Price Is Right" might be narrowing down.

Sources indicated that Mark Steines, George Hamilton and Mario Lopez have emerged as top contenders, with Steines, co-host of "Entertainment Tonight," getting the strongest buzz at the moment.

Tapes of "Price" auditions have been sent out and are being shown to test audiences around the country, sources said. It is believed that the options for the men who tested for the gig -- a list that also includes Todd Newton, John O'Hurley and former "Beauty and the Geek" host Mike Richards -- expire April 13.

Reps for CBS declined comment, as did FremantleMedia North America, which produces the long-running show.

Barker said in October that he will be retiring in May after 35 years as host of the show. It now appears that he will tape his last show in June. The network is planning to give him a sendoff that includes a primetime special celebrating the TV veteran's career to air May 17.