'Price Is Right' goes beyond TV: Facebook, Wii
LOS ANGELES -- "The Price Is Right" host Drew Carey isn't playing around when it comes to keeping TV's longest-running game show current.
Carey has eagerly welcomed iPhone, Xbox, Wii and other adaptations of "The Price Is Right" -- and wants to see more, such as a Facebook game set for a June debut.
"I love it. I don't think they're doing as much as they should be doing. Business-wise, you should take advantage of every media stream you can," he said, adding, "I want to be part of a gig that's doing new things and trying stuff."
Carey himself is a relatively recent addition: He joined the show in October 2007 after the retirement of Bob Barker, the CBS daytime show's host since its 1972 debut. (The original "The Price Is Right" started on NBC in 1956.)
Although Carey has put his comedic stamp on "Price" and welcomes the high-tech extras, he says the show remains true to itself. Contestants still jockey to "come on down" to the stage and compete for prizes by guessing their retail value.
"I look at it as owning a house. Any homeowner can relate: You're never, ever done with your house," Carey said. "New rug, new bathroom tile, but it's still the same house. It's still the same game."
Brand extensions such as the coming Facebook game "are both serving the purpose of being a profit center and having more visibility around the show," said Keith Hindle, CEO of FremantleMedia Enterprises, the licensing and brand extension arm of series producer FremantleMedia.
The show also relies on lower-tech means of stoking fan interest. There are "Price"-branded slot machines in casinos and two live, paid-admission theater shows, one in Las Vegas and another at a Connecticut gaming resort.
Ratings for the TV show have been on the rise. Compared with last year, it's up 10 percent in viewers and ranks among within the top five daytime programs.
Despite the bells and whistles, the change in hosts and some alterations in the set, "The Price Is Right" retains an air of comfortable familiarity, said Mike Richards, its executive producer.
"That's the best thing I can hear: `This is "The Price Is Right" I grew up watching with my grandma,"' Richards said.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)