Genial comic Drew Carey was tapped Monday to replace silver-haired legend Bob Barker on the CBS daytime game show The Price Is Right.
The deal was set Monday afternoon shortly before a taping of CBS's Late Show with David Letterman, where Carey confirmed it.
"I realize what a big responsibility this is," he said. "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."
The selection attracted more attention than usual for a daytime show because of the prospect of replacing Barker, 83. Barker retired after 35 years in the job last month following taping of his 6,586th episode.
The opening attracted widespread interest, including from comic Rosie O'Donnell after she left The View.
Carey, 49, spent a decade on his own ABC sitcom and also was host of the improvisational game show Whose Line Is It Anyway?
He will also be host of a new CBS prime-time game show, The Power of 10, that will air next month. He told the Associated Press on Monday that CBS officials first contacted him about The Price Is Right immediately after he completed a pilot of the other game show this spring.
"My agent called me and said 'I was talking to CBS casting today' and in my head I was thinking, 'Oh, CSI guest star?' And he said, 'What would you think about replacing Bob Barker on The Price Is Right?' "
Asked if he found the prospect of replacing such a TV legend daunting, Carey recalled talking to a friend who knows the game show business who told him, "as long as Bob Barker is cool with it, the fans will be cool with it." While he doesn't know Barker, Carey said he's comfortable that his predecessor will be accepting.
The negotiation process was nerve-racking. While he was talking with CBS about the job, Carey said he got a call from another lawyer in Hollywood who told him one of his clients was offered The Price Is Right job.
He figured CBS had lined up backups if the first choice did not come through.
"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."