Whose line of work is game-show hosting anyway? Drew Carey's, it seems. The funnyman, eponymous sitcom vet and improv genius has scored not one but two plum gigs in short order, first being named to front CBS' Power of 10 prime-timer (premiering tonight at 8 pm/ET, then airing Wednesdays at 8), and then getting the nod to succeed Bob Barker as The Price Is Right's head cashier. In this TVGuide.com Q&A, Carey sheds light on his good fortune, sets straight some wild rumors and shares his take on a scandal that has him barking mad.
TVGuide.com: Power of 10 — is it more Card Sharks or Family Feud?
Drew Carey: Neither one. This is what we have in common with Family Feud: a type of poll was taken. [Laughs] Pretty thin thread. And Card Sharks, I can't even remember that show.
TVGuide.com: That was like, "We asked 100 hairdressers if they would cut their own hair. How many of them said yes?"
Carey: Oh... Our survey is so big, it's a scientific survey, and the money is so huge.... I don't think it's like any other show.
TVGuide.com: Watching those shows as a kid, I always felt the polls were bogus, that they made the numbers up out of thin air.
Carey: For Power of 10, you can look at the methodology at CBS.com, it's a company called Rasmussen Reports. We poll thousands and thousands of people for each question, a real cross section of the United States.
TVGuide.com: But, alas, no Canadians are getting polled?
Carey: No. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Give me some examples of questions asked.
Carey: "What percentage of Americans think they're smarter than President Bush?" "What percentage of white Americans would never vote for an African American as president?"
TVGuide.com: Even if it was David Palmer on 24?
Carey: Even if it was Barack Obama.
TVGuide.com: I find one of these other new game shows, Don't Forget the Lyrics, to be overly complicated. Would you say that Power of 10 is lean and mean?
Carey: It's very simple. You can only be off by so much, and the amount you're allowed to be off by gets smaller and smaller as the money goes up. Only five correct answers gets you $10 million.
TVGuide.com: So no swirling spotlights and pulse-pounding music?
Carey: Oh, we're going to put the pressure on them with sound effects and lights, and we ask the audience what they think, we let them talk to their friends, to me.... I don't know the answers so I can like try to influence them one way or another. We're offering $10 million, but we're not giving it away, man! [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: I understand a bit of retooling happened after the pilot was shot?
Carey: Only the two-player part of the show, where you have to eliminate another person to play for the money. That's been tweaked in a minor way. And they're doing stuff with the graphics. That kind of stuff.
TVGuide.com: When you were a younger fellow, were you ever a game show contestant?
Carey: No. I tried out for Jeopardy once, when they came to Cleveland, but I didn't make it. It doesn't matter how smart you are, to audition for Jeopardy, you just have to luck out and know what they're asking you that day.
TVGuide.com: I auditioned for MTV's Remote Control back in the late '80s, and that was a bitch, man. The show was goofy, but the audition was rough.
Carey: Was it? Well, you can't just be smart, you have to be perky and be able to walk and talk and not throw up on camera....
TVGuide.com: I'm not even going to form a fancy question here, I'm just going to ask for your latest sound bite regarding the whole Price Is Right thing. [CBS did not officially announce Carey as host until the day after this interview.]
Carey: I'm in talks with CBS, and we'll see how it goes.
TVGuide.com: I wrote in my blog that the job should ultimately go to the "winning" host's publicist.
Carey: [Laughs] You know what, that whole Rosie O'Donnell thing started when somebody put Bob Barker on the spot, asking him [at the Daytime Emmys] about Rosie, and one of your writing brethren put, "Bob Barker Endorses Rosie O'Donnell!" That is not the conclusion you would come to [based on what Barker said], but that is what everybody did.
TVGuide.com: Sometimes being diplomatic bites you in the ass.
Carey: No, sometimes reporting gossip as fact and drawing conclusions from things that aren't there bites you in the ass. It's not Bob Barker that did it, it's all the sloppy reporting that's out there in the entertainment world. That's the culprit. I know that a lot of guys are really conscientious and do a good job, but you know better than anybody that some of these people shouldn't even be working.
TVGuide.com: I can think of one news blog off the top of my head that is a veritable mouthpiece for publicists, I can practically hear the flacks feeding the writer his column.
Carey: I can think of 10 magazines like that! [Laughs] It gets ridiculous sometimes.
TVGuide.com: We keep hearing about the Price Is Right host "audition tapes"....
Carey: There is no audition tape, dude. Do you honestly think that if they're looking for somebody to take over Price Is Right, they're going to say, "Oh, we have to see what this guy looks like on camera first"? Or they're going to bring in test audiences and wheel out these games to see if they can do it? They already know if a guy can do it or not.
TVGuide.com: There was another story that your TPIR fate was reliant on how Power of 10 opened.
Carey: I was offered Price Is Right after they saw the Power of 10 pilot.
TVGuide.com: OK, last question: Where do you stand on spaying and neutering?
Carey: Absolutely. Very for it.
TVGuide.com: Maybe even do it twice to the pet for good measure?
Carey: [Laughs] I think if I do get Price Is Right, I'll keep saying that at the end of the show and carry it on. [Going off on a tangent] Hey, listen, are you going to boycott the NFL if Michael Vick plays? [In mid-July, the Atlanta Falcons star was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of sponsoring a dog-fighting operation so grisly the losing dogs either died in combat or were electrocuted, drowned, hanged or shot.] If he plays, I'm not only going to find someone with picket signs, I'm going to join the picket and if I have time and my travel schedule allows, I'm going to picket the stadium if I can. After what happened with the Duke guys, I don't want to be rushing to judgment, but even if a little bit of it is true, if he knew what was going on and he didn't step in, f--k him. Get rid of him. If he did nothing, and silence is consent, f--k him, man. And f--k the NFL. Honestly. If they think they can wrap themselves in the American flag and sing the National Anthem twice and think we'll forget this, when guys are getting arrested for beating their wives and killing dogs.... We're supposed to go, "Oh well"? F--k you. It makes me so mad. And on that note...!
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