Drew Carey by Steve Granitz/WireImage.com Drew Carey by Steve Granitz/WireImage.com

Let the speculation subside. Funnyman and improv king Drew Carey announced during the taping of Monday night's Late Show with David Letterman that he has been tapped to succeed Bob Barker as the host of The Price Is Right.

"Honestly, it [happened] like 15 minutes ago," Carey tells Dave upon sitting down as a guest. "They called me. It's a done deal. I'm the new host."

Carey's name surfaced as a contender to Barker's throne in mid-June, amid much conflicting buzz naming any number of folks - Rosie O'Donnell, Ian Ziering and Mark Steines included - as front-runners. Carey has bluntly (and as recently as this past Friday, while speaking to this writer) dismissed such speculation as reckless reportage by the press.

Why the prolonged "We're in talks" stance by Carey? A longtime friend of his tells TV Guide that cutting a deal was "never only about dollars and cents. Drew has a very busy calendar. This was a very, very big move to sign for a show like this; he really wanted to think it through."

Carey tells Letterman he is uncertain of when precisely he starts the new gig, but that his girlfriend is already "on the phone with a personal shopper from Bergdorf's." (Psst, the actual retail price for that DVF dress is $399.99.) - Additional reporting by Ileane Rudolph

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