What Really Happened When Drew Carey Took Over Hosting The Price Is Right

"From the famous Bob Barker studio in Hollywood it's 'The Price is Right.'" The show's MC George Gray opens this hit daytime competition show with enough vigor that you can skip your morning cup of coffee. The studio's name pays homage to the show's long-time and notable host Bob Barker. He starred as the face of "The Price is Right" for 35 years. In 2007 his departure became Drew Carey's welcome.

But did you know before Carey and Barker there was Bill Cullen? He was the original "The Price is Right" host, gracing the stage from 1956 to 1965. Back when a gallon of milk cost $1 and when television was in black and white. Despite Cullen being the first host, Barker steals the spotlight when it comes to recognition. His lovable nature made him timeless. When Carey came along, a new face was not the only thing different about the classic competition.

It became easier to win

Along with Drew Carey hosting "The Price is Right" came better odds at winning. It was not Carey's charm or his sneaking hints to the contestants that produced these greater chances. In fact, show producer Roger Dobkowitz, mentioned in a blog post, "It was extremely important for the first couple of months of the show to have plenty of winners. Such a situation would maintain a real positive and upbeat feel to the show and help viewers, hopefully, to accept Drew as the new host," per the blog. Producers were anticipating critical viewers who would be comparing Carey to Barker. There was a fear of viewers who would only be loyal to the previous host and now would change the channel. So the game show gave away more prizes, but contestants still had to wait before they could enjoy their winnings.

It seems Dobkowitz scheduling easier games kept the show's success but at what cost? In the blog, he shares, "I was about $700,000 over budget." That's a lot of cars, vacations, and living room sets given away. Where does the production house all those prizes anyway? That number compares to his previous worse of $500,000 over budget during Barker's time as the show's host. To compensate, producers eventually increased the game's difficulty. So there are no chances of an easy win unless, of course, the price is right.

Bob Barker vs Drew Carey

Barker and Carey have noticeable differences in their hosting abilities. It seems Carey took Barker's advice after gaining the host title. Executive producer Mike Richards shared that Bob Barker was a technician, via Rotten Tomatoes. Perhaps a fancy way of saying, perfectionist. Richards goes on to say, "He hit every mark within a half of an inch." When speaking about Carey, Richard reveals, "It's more of an ensemble now." Carey's style is more improvisational and fluid. This comes as no surprise given Carey's history as host of the improv game, "Whose Line is it Anyway?" from 1998 to 2007.

Another difference you may not know is that Carey hands out money from his pocket. Yes, he shares his paycheck with contestants who guess the exact retail price down to the dollar. Lucky contestants can score $500 of Carey's generosity. According to CBS, Carey gave away at least $187,000 as of 2017. Barker might not have taken a pay cut for beloved contestants but he had his own memorable "The Price is Right" moments.