Bob Barker Not a 'Price Is Right' Watcher

Former game show host relaxes in retirement with dog and bottle of tequila.

ByABC News via logo
February 17, 2009, 6:22 PM

Feb. 17, 2009 — -- Bob Barker, who hosted a weekday network TV show continuously for 51 years -- longer than anyone in television history -- has remained an animal rights advocate and says he's enjoying retirement with his dog Jessie and a bottle of tequila nearby.

Barker spent 35 years hosting "The Price Is Right" before retiring in 2007, and before that, hosted "Truth or Consequences" from 1956 to 1975.

Watch the full interview with Bob Barker Wednesday on "Good Morning America."

And despite all those years on the show, Barker said he rarely watches it now.

"I sometimes turn it on for a game or two. But I don't watch it. I'm not a loyal viewer," he said.

In an interview with "Dancing With the Stars" host and old friend Tom Bergeron, Barker said he did give comedian Drew Carey some advice when Carey took over "Price Is Right" hosting duties after his retirement.

"I told him, 'I'm going to tell you exactly what Ralph Edwards told me when he hired me to do 'Truth or Consequences,'" Barker said. "He said, 'Bob, you go out there and you do "Truth or Consequences" the way you want to do it.' And that's what Drew has done. And the viewers will accept it or they won't. Time well tell."

Some tabloid reports have suggested the 85-year-old Barker was knocking on death's door in October when he appeared at an animal rights press conference wearing bandages on his face and sunglasses.

"I had a couple of skin cancers removed and, uh, I'd look even worse with these glasses off," Barker said at the time.

Barker said that, to paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of his death were greatly exaggerated.

"The moral of this story is, 'Do not believe everything you read in the tabloids,'" Barker told Bergeron.

Barker has always been a passionate animal rights advocate. His latest obsession is an elephant named Billy that Barker insists should be living at a California animal sanctuary called PAWS, and not confined at the Los Angeles zoo.

"He's in a small area. He has no other elephants around him. He is bored to near psychosis. He's bobbing his head up and down, up and down, all day long," he said.

Caretakers at the zoo say there is nothing wrong with Billy's behavior. In fact, a $42 million, 3.5-acre exhibit is being built for the elephant, despite protests by Barker and other activists.