There has been no shortage of contestants willing to line up for hours outside of CBS Television City in Los Angeles to appear on The Price is Right with Drew Carey — but there are definitely fewer viewers tuning into the CBS game show now that Bob Barker is gone. According to comparisons of the first quarters of 2007 and 2008, Carey has attracted an audience that’s 15 percent smaller in the first half-hour of the show (4.5 million viewers vs. 5.4 mil) and 13 percent smaller in the second half-hour (5.6 mil vs. 6.5 mil).
But there is hope. To help boost awareness of the Carey-hosted Price, the net aired two primetime specials last month to favorable results. The first special on Feb. 22 won its time slot in viewers (9.35 mil) and key demos. The second, on Feb. 29, got an even bigger audience (9.49 mil) — and gave away $1 million in cash, a first for the long-running game show. Four more Price specials are already in the can, the third of which airs March 7.
Media buyers say the dip in viewers shouldn’t be cause for concern. “I think any time you make a transition, especially from somebody as established as Bob, you’d be worried if he were off 50 percent,” says Bill Carroll of the Katz TV Group. “But if he’s not off by more than 15 percent, it’s a positive sign. Over time, you have to assume he’ll build back the audience. CBS is probably pleased.”