So there I was at work, minding my own business when my phone started ringing and the emails started coming in.
Those co-workers of mine who know how much I like The Price is Right had seen the wire story and wanted to make sure I had, too.
I’m sorry I did.
Comedian Drew Carey is the new host of the show. The word came after Carey himself revealed the news during a taping of tonight’s episode of The Late Show with David Letterman.
At a game show-related site a while back, I expressed some amount of disappointment upon learning that Bob Saget, a comedian who I have never found particularly funny, had been named to host 1 vs. 100. At once, I was criticized for not giving him a chance. Some of those same people, I have no doubt, were quick to poo-poo the names of candidates for the ‘Price’ gig as the list kept growing, so I don’t really feel hesitant to express something other than excitement.
After watching 1 vs. 100, I thought that Saget did a respectable job of hosting the show. That’s because Saget hasn’t acted like the Saget I recall from America’s Funniest Videos, a show in which he tried too hard for laughs and rarely deserved the ones he got.
I’ve already heard comparisons to the original host of ‘Price,’ Bill Cullen. The crew cut. The glasses. The self-effacing demeanor. The non-model looks.
Well, those points are valid.
I would suggest, however, that when the original version of The Price is Right premiered, back in 1956, there were only three channels in most markets. Not 300.
As talented as Bill Cullen was — he’s been called the “Dean of Game Shows” — I wonder how well he might have done if he tried to get a job today, in our beauty-hyped, plastic society.
Cullen, for those who are too young to remember him, suffered from polio as a child and was rarely shown walking on camera, at least until his later years when he was so well-established that it didn’t really matter. But even then, he almost never took more than a few steps at a time when the camera’s red light was on.
But looks are subjective, and in a perfect world, they wouldn’t be a consideration. I don’t think they should be, but too often, they are.
Still, Carey is already successful, having risen to popularity from a sitcom and comedy. It will be interesting to see how tightly the daytime audience that is used to Bob Barker will embrace Carey.
My biggest concern comes from the fact that at one point, fairly early in the host selection process, the network’s top brass was head-over-heels with Dave Price, the weather guesser on CBS’s The Early Show. They thought knew that he was the man for the job.
Then they scheduled an audition. And apparently, everything came to a screeching halt. Suddenly, his name was no longer on the “leading contenders” list.
Carey hasn’t had an audition.
He is the host of CBS’s upcoming prime time game show, Power of 10, and a tape of that show was enough, presumably, to get the network interested. But I wonder why they wouldn’t schedule an audition.
Just to be sure.
I’ve been watching The Price is Right for as long as it has been on the air. I hope they know what they’re doing.