Carey's just not right for 'Price is Right'

When I would spend the weekend at my grandparents' house as a kid, we watched a lot of daytime TV.

I never became a devotee of my grandma's favorite soap opera, "Days of Our Lives," or picked up on her penchant for the Home Shopping Network. But I'll always be glad she introduced me to the wonderful world of "The Price is Right."

I loved everything about the show, from the retro sets to the deceptively simple games to the drama of the Big Wheel. And I loved Bob Barker, who always guided the giddy contestants through the show, like a pro.

Barker's not the original host - that would be Bill Cullen, who hosted an earlier version during the 1950s and '60s. In 2006, though, Barker celebrated 35 years at the helm, making his revival of "Price is Right" the longest-running game show of all time.

When Barker announced in January he would be retiring, my first thought was CBS should cancel the game show, which has become synonymous with its host.

But I can't argue with ratings success, so I can understand why CBS declined to axe one of its top daytime shows. After I made peace with the network's decision, I started waiting on the edge of my seat for the announcement of a new host.

Everyone had their opinion on who should get the gig. Some favored George Hamilton. My husband hoped for former "Double Dare" host Marc Summers. Rosie O'Donnell wanted herself. As for me, I liked the idea of a female host but thought Ellen DeGeneres would make an appealing - and less divisive - choice.

When the announcement came on Monday that comedian Drew Carey would take Barker's place, I was underwhelmed.

In my mind, "Price is Right" revolved around the idea of Barker trying to give a few lucky middle Americans a piece of his sweet, sweet life, from a brand new car to a fabulous cruise.

Carey is the complete antithesis of Barker, which I suppose is the point. He's pale and plump, while Barker is tanned and slim. He's sort of schlumpy, while the handsome Barker can send everyone from college students to grandmothers into a tizzy. On his very own sitcom, Carey managed to fade into the background.

Sure, Carey is funny, but on this game show, it isn't the host's job to crack jokes. No matter how ridiculous, how silly, how pathetic the contestants were, Barker never poked fun at them. If it was some woman's life dream to kiss his cheek, Barker happily obliged.

I know Barker's not perfect. Over the past decade, the man has been sued by six women - including several of his Barker's Beauties - for charges including sexual harassment, racial discrimination and wrongful termination. But like other charming troublemakers, from Bill Clinton to Hugh Grant, Barker has been able to retain most of his fan base.

In fact, if Grant didn't have such a lucrative film career, I'd pick him as an ideal new host. He's gotta be better than Carey.