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Drew Carey, Come On Down!

By Lisa de Moraes
Tuesday, July 24, 2007

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., July 23

Four days after comic Drew Carey tipped off a couple hundred critics that CBS was crossing t's and dotting i's on a deal for him to host its daytime game show "The Price Is Right," the network made it official.

Carey confirmed his new gig for the TV audience at large during Monday's taping of David Letterman's CBS late-night show.

"I realize what a big responsibility this is," Carey said at that taping, the Associated Press reported.

"It's only a game show, but it's the longest-running game show in American television and I plan to keep it that way."

Carey's selection attracted more attention than usual for a daytime show because retiring "Price Is Right" host Bob Barker had spent 35 years on the job, leaving last month at age 83 after taping his 6,586th episode.

Among those interested in the gig was Rosie O'Donnell.

Carey, who's just 49, spent a decade on his own ABC sitcom and also was host of the improv game show "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"

Appearing last Thursday at Summer TV Press Tour 2007 here, Carey told TV critics CBS approached him about replacing Barker after seeing Carey host the network's "The Power of 10," a prime-time game show that debuts in August.

At that Q&A session, Carey said he only watched "Price" "once in a while." But he added, "I think it would be really fun to do . . . as long as Bob Barker said, 'Hey, this is cool.' As long as he was happy about it, then I think the fans of the show would be happy. . . . I wouldn't have gone into negotiations with them if I didn't think I would be good at it and really enjoy it."

The gig, Carey said, "fit my protocol or my principles: fun, easy to do, not work. I wouldn't consider doing 'Price Is Right' work at all. It would be . . . so enjoyable to be in front of that audience with people screaming and all I'm doing is giving away prizes. And it's not even my money. You know, it's like Oprah giving away those cars."

"The Price Is Right," Carey told critics, is "a daytime game show, but that show needs to be treated with a lot of respect."

The negotiation process was nerve-racking, Carey told the AP. While he was talking with CBS about the job, he said, a Hollywood lawyer called to tell him one of his clients was offered the job. Carey said he figured CBS had lined up backups.

"If I was going after a second baseman, I wouldn't just talk to one second baseman," the Cleveland Indians fan said. "If I were the general manager, I would be talking to a few second basemen."

* * *

During a Q&A session for Fox's new sitcom "Back to You," stars Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton, who play co-anchors of an evening newscast in Pittsburgh, were asked why, when stars of great sitcoms like "Seinfeld" and "Friends" have said they're through with the genre because they did the best they could do in it, the two of them say they're happy to be coming back, even though they've been in classic hit sitcoms.

Heaton, who starred as Ray Romano's all-suffering wife on "Everybody Loves Raymond," seemed momentarily speechless, but Grammer, who played Frasier Crane on "Cheers" and "Frasier," went on the attack.

"So that's what you're writing?" Grammer asked, incredulously.

"That's what I'm asking," the critic responded testily. "It depends on what you say."

"They left saying they've done it all, is that what you're saying? They've done everything they possibly could? I think it might be actually accurate that they've done all they possibly could," Grammer said, dripping sarcasm. "In this case, you're looking at people who haven't."

"Thank you for a quote that will make my story," the critic responded.

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