TV & Showbiz

Would You Win a Car from This Guy?

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 hadn’t.

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.

13 Comments

  1. Read a tele-prompter and smile? Sounds easy enough.

    It would be…but ‘Price’ doesn’t have TelePrompTers.

  2. Pat,

    Relax, brother. A blind monkey could do that job! Read a tele-prompter and smile? Sounds easy enough. I’m sure Drew Carey will do just fine.

    dave

  3. It’s obvious I have angered you. I am sorry about that. But a sitcom is different from a game show.

    You didn’t anger me at all…I was afraid I had angered you, and was trying to explain my position. Yes, a sitcom is different from a game show. But I just don’t agree that just anyone can do a show like “The Price is Right.” No offense intended…we just don’t agree on that point. No harm done. 🙂

    My point is, I think Drew Carey could bring some fresh, new fun to the show. That’s all. But tell you what… just disregard my previous comments… it’s simply doesn’t matter enough to me to have hurt feelings and anger flying about. I thought we were engaging in an exchange of ideas… my mistake.

    We are exchanging ideas.

    I see your point about Drew Carey. And you know what, you’re probably absolutely right. I hope you are.

  4. Patrick

    It’s obvious I have angered you. I am sorry about that. But a sitcom is different from a game show. And since you brought it up, yes, John Ritter does still mean a lot to me, and I still mourn his death. He was a good actor, who took on a lot of different roles in is his time. I don’t think you can really compare one to the other. As I said, you many no be aware of all the in’s and out’s of why I admired him and what he meant to me, that is something personal inside me that I have chosen to share on my blog on a few times. 🙁 Essentially it is beside the point. My point is, I think Drew Carey could bring some fresh, new fun to the show. That’s all. But tell you what… just disregard my previous comments… it’s simply doesn’t matter enough to me to have hurt feelings and anger flying about. I thought we were engaging in an exchange of ideas… my mistake.

    Have a good week

    Always, Carly

  5. Maybe CBS should’ve retired the show along with Barker. That’s the problem with long running shows. You get used to the same person playing a part and when they’re replaced for whatever reason, some people will just stop watching.

    True, Robin, but CBS was making too much money, and its affiliates were having too much success with ‘Price’ as a lead-in to their midday newscasts (at least in the Eastern and Central time zones) for the network to abandon it completely.

    If they can continue to make lots of money, it only makes cents — er, sense — to keep it going.

    I think too many of the folks who were considered front runners were mostly just pretty faces with some rather plastic personalities (at least on air). When I first heard Carey was in the running, I was actually relieved.

    I would agree that some of the candidates were questionable at best, Bill. I hope that Carey wows me in a way I haven’t been able to imagine thus far.

  6. I haven’t wanted to be this blunt, but The Price Is Right is a game show. Frankly, a monkey could lead a contestant in Plinko.

    I know ‘Price’ is “just a game show.” And while I wouldn’t hesitate to acknowledge that MANY people could admirably host the show, I couldn’t disagree with you more when you suggest that anyone could.

    Look at “Wheel of Fortune.” How many hosts did that show go through when Sajak left the daytime version? If a monkey could lead three people through a few rounds of what is essentially ‘Hangman,’ then the show would still be on the air in daytime as well as Sajak’s syndie version. If anyone could host a game show, there’d be no reason why an audience wouldn’t give a new guy a chance; it wouldn’t matter because the new guy wouldn’t necessarily be any better or worse than the old guy.

    If I don’t like Carey’s way of hosting the show — whatever it will be — and I decide to stop watching, I’ll get over it. I’ll miss the show, but I’ll be fine. Things change. That’s life.

    But we both know that we each have certain shows and/or performers that may mean a little more to us than to anyone else. For you, it’s “Three’s Company” and John Ritter. I doubt you would agree that any monkey could have walked onto that show’s set and taken over for him. (I wouldn’t agree with such a statement, either.)

    How about the news? Any monkey should be able to sit at an anchor desk and read a TelePrompTer. But look at CBS, which had great numbers with Walter Cronkite prior to 1981, and has been suffering ever since. Look at ABC, who lost Peter Jennings and struggled to find a replacement before settling on the guy they snubbed to start with. Look even at NBC, who had the smoothest of anchor transitions when Tom Brokaw left, and which has now fallen to second place behind Charlie Gibson.

    I can’t agree that in every case, one performer is automatically interchangeable with another.

    But I’ll give you this much: I haven’t “given up” on Carey or the show. I’m perplexed by the way this thing went down, because we had to sit through nine months of speculation and countless not-for-broadcast auditions of candidate after candidate, in some cases producing results that completely changed who the leading contender was. After all that, the network hands a contract to someone they never auditioned. As I pointed out with the Dave Price situation, that seems fishy to me.

    Carey may be the best person they could have picked. If you (and they) are right — and I do hope you are — I’ll be happier than anyone. But I’m not going to be “excited” about the selection until I do what the people who hired him didn’t: see him hosting that show. 😉

  7. Hi Patrick

    I haven’t wanted to be this blunt, but The Price Is Right is a game show. Frankly, a monkey could lead a contestant in Plinko. Bob Barker was with the show for 35 years, ok, he has most certainly done something no one else has done. He is a legend, but he has moved on. It’s time to let go and give someone else a chance. While I am not sure what your tone of voice would have been when you addressed the part of my comment regarding Drew Carey’s self assurance and humor, I feel I need to say something. First of all, YES he is self assurred. He is out there living his dream of performing. He hasn’t let society make him feel less the human for not living up to some silly notion of whats phyically sexy. I admire that. Humor, I suppose is in the eye of the beholder. I haven’t seen him out there using offensive language right and left, or degrading folks with his humor, and most of all he isn’t an arrogant, mean spirited, or ignorant with his humor. He seems like a nice man.

    What more could you want in a replacement for Bob Barker, who by the way, has not escaped his time on TV without some controversy. There were some pretty serious allegations lodged against him by Holly Hollstrom, Janice Pennington, and Dyan Parkinson. It has always made me wonder, if everything behind the scenes was always wonderful, why would three different “Barker’s Beauties” lodge three different types of complaints? I am just saying… everyone is human Patrick, including Bob Barker, he can be replaced, and “The Price Is Right” will go on, if folks will give the replacement a chance. Why do so many people give up on things so fast?

  8. Maybe CBS should’ve retired the show along with Barker. That’s the problem with long running shows. You get used to the same person playing a part and when they’re replaced for whatever reason, some people will just stop watching. There are probably lots of folks who think Barker can’t be replaced and won’t even give someone else a chance. I always enjoyed watching Drew Carey’s sitcom and also Whose Line. I think he’ll do fine as the host of Price. I’d love to win a new car from him.

    Take care,
    Robin in Texas

  9. Honestly, I have to admit to being glad it was Drew Carey as opposed to a lot of the other names that had made it on the list. I think too many of the folks who were considered front runners were mostly just pretty faces with some rather plastic personalities (at least on air). When I first heard Carey was in the running, I was actually relieved. I suspect his previous experience with “Whose Line is it Anyway?” also played a part in it, considering all the improvisation on that show.

    I grew up watching Bob Barker. That said, I haven’t regularly watched “The Price is Right” in a long time, so I was surprised to realize I actually did care who would take over the job.

    My only concern about Carey is one I would have had for anyone who was picked, and that’s a question of how long Barker’s replacement will stay on as host of the show. Barker’s amazingly long run almost implies an expectation among fans that whoever comes next isn’t going to treat this as a temporary gig… and I have to question how likely that is. Also, CBS wasn’t dumb enough to mess with an icon like Barker (thank goodness), but it’s a safe bet they will feel differently about Carey or anyone else who follows.

  10. It has writers like any other show does.

    Not really, although I suspect that’s about to change.

    The only writing that has gone on regularly for years is the showcase skits and the announcer’s copy.

    Barker hasn’t needed a team of writers because he has been so good at winging it and keeping the show on time.

    He is a sexy man, because of his self assurance and sense of humor.

    Wow. Are we talking about the same guy? 🙂

    I just saw him on the Early Show, and I saw neither one.

    Carly, I hope YOU’RE right and I’M wrong!

  11. P.S. I always loved Bill Cullen. He was SUCH a geek, but kindhearted. Didn’t know he had polio, just thought he was old. 😉

  12. I watched as Drew Carey destroyed one of my favorite game shows: Whose Line Is it? The British version was fun, unscripted, offbeat and different every episode. The American version tried for fun and offbeat, failed in the unscriptedness and was the same every time. Yack.

    My sympathies are with you. I know I won’t be watching Price anymore…

  13. Hi Patrick 🙂

    Ummm… I have to ask… what’s so bad about Drew Carey hosting “The Price Is Right?” Drew Carey seems to be a nice, personable, generous human being. In this world where everyone is chasing some made up idea of “perfection” he has set an amazing example for heavy set men everywhere by being himself. He is a sexy man, because of his self assurance and sense of humor.At least that’s what I find sexy in a man. I would think you would want whoever replaced Bob Barker to be someone who would make the contestant feel comfortable, and from everything I have seen, he does just that. Patrick, I don’t mean to upset you, but a little perspective here, “The Price Is Right” is a game show. It has writers like any other show does. Drew Carey will, of course, bring his own personality to the show, but isn’t that to be expected? A Bob Barker knockoff would be a compliment to Barker, but really, wouldn’t it be a bit silly? I think folks are going to tune in for the same reasons they always did, because they like the games, they don’t want to watch something on the other channels, they like Drew Carey, they enjoy watching folks win prizes and they like to daydream about their own future. Come on Patrick… sheesh… why do you rush headlong into a sour puss about things? At least let the first episode air. 🙂 Of course as always, I could be wrong.

    Have a good week.

    Always, Carly

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.