One Piece Of Advice Bob Barker Gave Drew Carey When He Took Over The Price Is Right

It’s really hard to be “the guy AFTER the guy.” Take a look at late-night legend Johnny Carson, still one of the best late-night talk show hosts to ever do it. After he left The Tonight Show, there was a transition to Jay Leno that took time for people to adjust. And forget about the debacle that happened when Leno said he was leaving… only to return to the show, and slight Conan O’Brien in the process. Mess. The same can happen on daytime television game shows, which often get comfortable with the same host, and struggle to survive after a host has moved on. Bob Barker owned The Price is Right. He held that skinny microphone for 35 years, finally retiring from the program in 2007. And now Barker’s replacement, comedian Drew Carey, reveals the advice that Barker gave him before stepping into the gig. 

Drew Carey officially took over hosting duties on The Price is Right in August 2007, and has crafted his own role on the program. Which is essentially what previous host Bob Barker told him to do, if he had any chance at succeeding. Speaking with People after holding on to the gig for several years, Carey revealed the advice he received from Barker. It seems to have worked. Carey said:

I knew I could never be Bob, and I wasn't going to try to be Bob. We went out to lunch, and his advice was, 'Don't try to copy me. Just make it your own show.'

Which is probably a lot harder to do than it sounds. Because so many of Bob Barker’s The Price is Right mannerisms and slogans were baked into the childhoods of generations of audience members, and wanting to do what he does feels like it’d be easy to slip back into. Here’s a funny story. My wife and I went to a taping of The Price is Right on our honeymoon. During a commercial break, Bob Barker asked everyone who was 30 and younger to raise their hands. Roughly 85% of us did so, to which Barker told us, “You people have never known a life without The Price is Right!” And we all roared in approval. Barker could work a crowd. And man, did he live an exciting life

Drew Carey had his own level of fame when he took over The Price is Right. He was a successful comedian who had made the leap over to sitcom stardom, and also spent years hosting the popular improv comedy show Whose Line Is It Anyway? Carey certainly didn’t need The Price is Right, but it has been a match made in Hollywood so far. Carey recently claimed, rightfully so, that the game show could last another 100 years because it enjoys such an adaptable format. And whomever the next host of The Price is Right ends up being – unless Carey is a cyborg – will benefit from the roads that were blazed by both Carey and Barker. And they likely would tell this person to morph with the show, make it their own, and keep The Price is Right fresh for generations. 

Just remember, if your name gets called, and you run up on the stage, call Drew Carey by his right name. Or you might never live the mistake down.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.