'The Price Is Right': Drew Carey reflects on 10 years as host

Will Lerner
Producer, Yahoo Entertainment

It’s kind of impossible to believe, but Drew Carey is entering his tenth season as host of The Price of Right. In anticipation of a decade’s worth of work on the beloved CBS game show, Yahoo Entertainment asked Carey to reflect on his first days. As it turns out, he’s happy to have moved past them.

“I mean you’d have to put a gun to my head and force me to sit down and watch that first year,” Carey said frankly. “I thought I was doing OK, but I’m not nearly as loose and feeling in control as I do now. I really feel like I can do anything and I know everything like the back of my hand. I can just walk anywhere on stage and they’ll follow me and before I felt like I needed to stand at a certain place and say a certain thing and I was worried about screwing it up.”

Drew Carey talking to the audience during a filming break on ‘The Price is Right’ on Oct. 4, 2007. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

Maybe the most noticeable change in Carey from his first days as host is his impressive weight loss. In 2010, Carey stuck to diet and exercise and managed to shed 100 pounds.  “A lot has changed, including my personal appearance and it’s so much more comfortable now,” Carey said. “I never felt like an outsider, or anything like that, but I feel so much more comfortable, I’ve been there for so long.”

Taking over for Bob Barker wasn’t something Carey wouldn’t have even considered were it not for interest from CBS. After an impressive run on ABC as the star talent of two shows throughout the late 90’s and early 2000’s, The Drew Carey Show and Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Carey thought of a different, new direction for himself.

“I took acting lessons when I got done with The Drew Carey Show,” Carey told us. “I thought I’d do little small movie parts or something, that was my idea. I didn’t want to be a ‘movie star’ or anything like that and I didn’t want to do anymore TV, sitcom-wise anyway. I was taking acting lessons in case something came up.”

“When I first got that call, that first initial call about The Price is Right, I remember [my agent] saying, ‘Hey we got a real interesting call from CBS Casting.’ And in my head, I thought, ‘Oh, they must want me for a CSI or something like that.’ I thought that’d be pretty cool and then they told me [they wanted me for] The Price Is Right.”

Drew Carey chatting with Yahoo Entertainment in our Los Angeles studios in September, 2017.

Carey has now inherited the show and fanbase Barker developed over his astonishing 35-year tenure. “When people see me on the street and it’s a Price is Right fan, they tell me how much their grandmother likes it, or how their mom likes it or how the whole family can get together and enjoy it,” Carey said. “I was really proud of that.”

Though Carey and Barker are not close friends, the pair have a friendly relationship and Carey is always happy to see his predecessor.  “The advice Bob Barker gave me, because I asked him, [was,] ‘Make it your own show. Don’t copy me.’ And my joke is that it was a threat not advice. But that was his genuine advice. It was good, you don’t want to go up there and copy somebody else’s style because you’re going to look like an idiot. You have to make it your own.”

Despite a decade of being welcomed into people’s homes, Carey doesn’t fancy himself a legend of television. He instead relegated himself to an answer in a game of trivia. “Bill Cullen was the first Price is Right host and there was a couple of people when I was younger that you just always knew were game show hosts, really recognizable names, that nobody knows anymore,” he noted. “And then when I’m gone, if the show is still around, years from now, it’ll be someone else and I’ll be a forgotten historical footnote. That’s just how it goes and I don’t expect to be anything else, but you have to be your own person while you’re there and be genuine and authentic, as much as you can.”

The Price is Right is now airing its season premiere week on CBS.

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