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Drew's Debut: Carey 'Price Is Right' Era Begins

New Host Shows Nerves, But Plenty Of Excitement In First Episode

LOS ANGELES (CBS) ―

Let the games begin.

The Drew Carey era of The Price Of Right kicked off Monday after 35 successful years with Bob Barker at the helm, complete with a colorful brand new set and a youthful breath of fresh air.

Carey admits so far he's been having a ball and it seems audiences are too.

"I love showing up. I love the energy of the crowd, I laugh all day long," Carey tells CBS 2.

After being introduced in his first taped episode which aired Monday, Carey walked onto the stage with his trademark glasses and a grin from ear to ear, though he did seem a bit fidgety and stiff through the first game, tussling with the side of his suit.

But he seemed to grow more comfortable as the incredibly excited contestants provided their own awkward moments that helped ease him.

In the first game, a man won a new Jeep, celebrating by running over to his new prize by hugging the beauty and then taking a seat in his new ride. Carey couldn't contain himself, cracking up as they went to commercial.

The fun continued in the second game -- "It's In The Bag" -- when a woman who was in line to win $16,000 did a cartwheel before the game even began. "What are you gonna do if you win?" Carey asked the restless woman.

And in fact, she did win, providing an out-of-breath barrage of hops and jumps before falling to the floor.

The affectionate Carey gave her a hug and if there's one thing that's certain so far, it's that he's having lots of fun.

And being host carries some other exciting benefits too. "It's great, I get free suits," he jokes.

It's not going to be easy to follow in the shoes of a legend like Barker, but Carey says he's just going to be himself and try to shy away from living up to the Barker mantra.

"People are coming up to me now going, 'Hey I'm glad you got it. Congratulations, when does it start?' So people aren't seeing me yet, but once they start seeing me it will be different. It's always different once you get on TV," he says.

Since getting the nod for the gig back in July, Carey has focused on one thing: learning the ins and outs of each and every game.

"There's actually about 70 games that they use all the time, and about 30 of those they use more than the other ones and I'm learning the games seven a time, seven a week, six to eight games a week til I learn all of them, so it's a pretty good pace for me," he says.

The set will get an updated look as well thanks to production set designer Bente Christensen. "They will see a fresh new version of the good old The Price Is Right," she says.

So what's going to be Carey's secret to being the perfect host.

"I'm just up here being myself, you know? If I was meeting people for the first time and they were in my house, this is how I would treat them," he says. "It's not who's the host, it's not even the games, it's the people that play the games. That's who you're rooting for and that's who you're relating to."

And that is what makes The Price Is Right one of the most successful shows on television. Don't forget you can catch each episode on CBS 2 weekdays at 11 a.m.

(© MMVIII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

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