Hi again. That was fast. First off, I’d like to thank Preston and Steve at 93.3 WMMR in Philadelphia, PA for linking to the last post. You guys rock!
Anyway, it seems that we have some questions from fans in a certain forum dedicated to TPIR. I’m not naming names, but I did get the questions down and asked them to your friend and mine, Roger Dobkowitz. Here are the answers.
Q: “One thing Roger doesn’t really flesh out here… Fremantle was able to basically veto Dave Price despite the network’s enormous investment in him, approval of the show team, and his close personal relationship with the head of the network, yet they weren’t able to effectively push back on the choice of Drew? He doesn’t really explain why this is. Did Drew have some other ace in the hole? Was everyone exhausted by the endless search and Fremantle just decided to surrender? I don’t get it.“
A: I don’t know why Fremantle gave in…one could only speculate…did CBS want Drew so badly that they brought up the ultimate network ace in the hole…that they could cancel the program? Or did they work out some lucrative deal for Fremantle where CBS would pick up more of the production costs. This is all speculation.
Q: “I got to ask him this: did Roger Dobkowitz hate Drew Carey? Did he think that his appearance (even when he took over as host) would drive the show down the toilet? Was there any doubt in his mind that CBS chose Carey on purpose so that the show could be cancelled, with the executives finally learning that the game show genre was dying? Did he eventually warm up to Carey before the top chiefs felt the need to fire him?”
A; I certainly didn’t hate Drew…I just didn’t think he was the right fit for the show. I believe CBS picked him because somebody upstairs liked him and felt that he was perfect for the show.
Q: “From the tone of his interview, it makes it seem as if CBS wanted to steal The Price Is Right away from him. If Roger cared about this show (I think he said in a Shokus Radio interview how he related the game show to a family divorce, somebody please double check), wouldn’t he have found a way to retain the rights and prevent Fremantle and CBS from modifying it in anyway?”
A: With Barker leaving, Fremantle and CBS were happy to regain control of the show. They owned it and they wanted to control it. All the years under Barker, the network kept hands off. Neither CBS or Fremantle wanted to disturb Barker’s happiness with doing the show. They let Barker and I do whatever we wanted so that Barker would renew his contract each year. With Barker gone, they could now dictate their desires if they so wished (and they did!). The cost of gaining control of a show’s rights is practically prohibitive unless you are a big corporation.
Q: “I’m not asking these questions as a way to pledge the old cry of “Bring the old Price Is Right back.” I just want to know if there was any legal way he could have protected the show from being, for lack of a better word, manipulated. I’m just trying to understand from his point of view.”
A: There was nothing I could do to protect the show more than I did. With Bob gone, the network and Fremantle could do whatever they wanted. My chore was to try to convince them that what I was doing was the right thing for the show…it was hard!
Q: “I want to know from Roger if he suspected the worst. But, did of all that change after Drew’s first year?”
A: I did not suspect the worst…I thought we could get Drew into the TPIR mode! (the only time I suspected the worse was immediately after Bob announced his retirement, and I saw the scale models of the new “American Idol-style” Price Is Right set…it was a nightmare…I actually thought of voluntarily quitting the show…there was no way I could have tolerated such desecration to our set)
And that’s the way it is and was, ladies and gentlemen. Our thanks to Roger for answering these at such short notice.