‘The Price Is Right’: Former Host Bob Barker Claimed the Show’s Ratings Spiked Up After He Went Gray
Long-running game show The Price Is Right has been a success story from its start in 1972.
Maybe viewers have been drawn to its high-energy atmosphere, or the fun of watching contestants score prizes.
But gray hair? According to the show’s former host, Bob Barker, his silver mane caused the show’s ratings to shoot up.
Drew Carey replaced Bob Barker on ‘The Price Is Right’ in 2007
After hosting the game show starting in 1972, Bob Barker decided in 2007 that it was time to retire, which meant the show would have to find someone to fill Barker’s shoes.
Replacing someone that viewers have loved and enjoyed watching every day for 35 years was no small task. But actor and comedian Drew Carey filled the bill.
EW said at that time that Carey, born in 1958, had announced his new hosting duties during an appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman.
“They [CBS] approached me right after the pilot for [another program Carey had been hosting] Power of 10, and I said, ‘No,”’ Carey told Letterman. “Then they called me a month later…I met with them and stuff, and we’ve been negotiating ever since. Couldn’t say anything, but during your Harry Potter bit — honestly, it was like 15 minutes ago — they called me. It’s a done deal. I’m the new host of The Price Is Right.”
Gray is ratings gold, according to Bob Barker
We’re not really sure how Bob Barker corroborated his assertion that his grays raised the game show’s ratings, but it must have been a fact the ratings trackers confirmed.
In a 1990 interview with The Los Angeles Times, Barker discussed how he finally gave up on coloring his hair and gave in to gray.
“I was prematurely gray,” he said. “I began to gray at my temples, and I guess it could be that technology at that time was not what it is today, but I didn’t look good. It looked like I had no hair at my temples, so they suggested I tint it.”
From tinting to dyeing to gray glory
Barker took the advice and tinted his hair until it eventually turned blue. He then began dyeing his hair, causing it to become red. He decided at that point to give up changing his hair altogether.
“I went on vacation and I just let it go,” he said. “When I came home the people on the show said, ‘You look better this way than you do with it dyed or tinted. Why don’t you leave it this way?’”
The stark contrast in his appearance wasn’t lost on viewers, Barker noted.
“We taped ahead,” he said. “So let’s say on the Wednesday show I had dark hair, but when we taped the next show I had gray hair and that show aired on Thursday. I got a letter from a fellow who said, ‘Bob, you must have had one hell of a night.’”