'Price' fixer: Carey takes over show

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Drew Carey is stepping into Bob Barker's shoes as the new host of CBS' "The Price Is Right."

After six weeks of what was described as "discreet negotiations," Carey has inked a multiyear deal to host the venerable game show, which sources said will pay the actor-comedian an annual salary in the high-seven figures.

CBS and FremantleMedia North America, which produces the show, declined comment on the terms of the deal.

Carey announced that he had signed on for "Price" during the Monday taping of another long-running CBS show, "Late Show With David Letterman." "It's a done deal; I'm the new host of 'The Price Is Right,' " Carey told Letterman, drawing applause from the audience as Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra played the game show's theme song.

Carey added that the deal was finalized only 15 minutes before he sat down to talk with the "Late Show" host. He also said he's not sure when he's going to start working on "Price" but joked that "my girlfriend was (already) on the phone with a personal shopper from Bergdorf's."

The new season of "Price" hosted by Carey will premiere in September.

"Well, history says that this will be a nice long career for you as the host of 'The Price Is Right,' " Letterman said before agreeing with Carey's comment that "it's fun doing a show for years and years, isn't it?"

Before making his on-air debut as host of "Price," viewers will get a taste of Carey's game-show hosting skills in the new CBS primetime series "Power of 10," which debuts Aug. 7. Carey told Letterman that he was approached by CBS about hosting "Price" after shooting the "Power" pilot in the spring, but he initially wasn't interested.

"Then they called me a month later. They said, 'What if we really' — they called my agent: 'What if we really go after Drew,' " Carey said on "Late Show." This is like a month later after I did the pilot for 'Power of 10' and I said, 'Well, what does that mean?' and he said, 'Well, you know, I mean, maybe this kind of money.' I go, 'What kind of schedule?' He said, 'I don't know,' so I met with them and stuff, and we've been negotiating ever since."

Like his predecessor, Carey will be working five days a week, though it will be a mixture of "Power" and "Price" tapings. Sources added that Carey also will likely shoot more original episodes a year than Barker, who averaged just north of 170 annually.

Last week, Carey was promoting "Power" at the Television Critics Assn. summer press tour at the Beverly Hilton, where he told critics that he was in talks for the "Price" gig but that nothing was a done deal at that point.

The news caps months of speculation about who would replace Barker, who announced his retirement in October after 35 years as host of the game show. Other candidates who had been in the running at one time included Mark Steines, George Hamilton, Mario Lopez, Todd Newton, John O'Hurley and former "Beauty and the Geek" host Mike Richards.

Rosie O'Donnell also publicly expressed her desire to take over as "Price" host and reportedly met with producers before deciding she did not want to relocate her family from New York to Los Angeles for the job.

Barker's last episode — his 6,586th — aired June 15.

Carey also has hosted the improvised comedy series "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" and starred on his own long-running comedy series, "The Drew Carey Show."

He is repped the Gersh Agency, Messina Baker Entertainment and attorneys Skip Brittenham and Cliff Gilbert-Lurie.
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