On this day in 2007, the comedian and actor Drew Carey takes over hosting duties on The Price is Right, the longest-running daytime game show in television history. Carey replaced Bob Barker, who retired at the age of 83 after hosting the show for 35 years.
Barker, who was born on December 12, 1923, began his career in radio. In 1956, he made his national TV debut as the host of the game show Truth or Consequences. He began hosting The Price is Right on September 4, 1972. The show’s format centered around contestants bidding on the retail value of one product; the contestant who came closest to the price without going over was able to advance and compete for bigger prizes. A previous version of the show, hosted by Bill Cullen, had aired from 1956 to 1965. In the late 1970s, Barker became a vegetarian and an animal-rights activist. He started ending each show by telling audiences: “Help control the pet population; have your pet spayed or neutered.” He also convinced the show’s producers not to offer fur coats as prizes or any other products harmful to animals. Barker’s final original episode as host of The Price is Right aired on June 15, 2007.
After a highly publicized search for Barker’s replacement, Drew Carey was selected for the job. Carey, who was born on May 23, 1958, grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve (his trademark crew cut hairstyle dates back to this period) before beginning a career as a stand-up comic. From 1995 to 2004, he starred in his own television sitcom, The Drew Carey Show, on ABC. From 1998 to 2006, Carey hosted the American version of the improvisational comedy program Whose Line Is It Anyway? His first stint as a game show host came in 2007 with The Power of 10. On July 23, 2007, Carey announced on The Late Show with David Letterman that he’d agreed to host The Price is Right. He taped his first episode the following month, and it aired on October 15, 2007.