Everything Is Coming Together For Carey

Filling Bob Barker's shoes as host of "The Price is Right" is not a responsibility comedian Drew Carey takes lightly. Monday is the first day of his new gig.

"This is an iconic show," Drew Carey told The Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen. "You know, it's like a legacy that you're given, and I knew it was a really important thing."

Carey, 49, also has some great news in his personal life. He recently became engaged to his longtime girlfriend, Nicole Jaracz.

"We were driving home and I wasn't -- I just figured it was time to do something, so we got to her driveway, I came out of my car and walked around to her side of the car when she was getting out, got down on one knee, and I had already given her a real expensive ring a few months ago, so I slipped it off her finger and slipped it back on, asked her to marry me."


Photos: All About Drew Carey
It will be the first marriage for both Carey and Jaracz. They have yet to set a date but Carey said he couldn't be happier.

"She's gorgeous," he said. "Light brown hair, she about comes up to my eyes, green eyes."

Needless to say, it's a busy time for Carey, a former sitcom star. He also hosts the CBS game show "Power of 10." In fact his strong performance on that show led to the offer to host "The Price is Right."

"This show fits me like an old shoe," he said. "I'm telling you, I love doing it. I'm really happy here. I feel like I belong here. The audience makes me feel like I belong."


Photos: Celebrity Couples
Indeed, the show's faithful audience has welcomed Carey with open arms. One contestant named Ethel said she has watched the show for 37 years but made the trek to a taping for Carey. She ended up winning a new truck, and nearly pulled Carey down to the ground when she fell on him with excitement.

"She was just happy and having fun," Carey said. "There's so much love in this room, honestly. It's a little bit like church, seriously. It's like a good church. If you watch how happy they are and stuff, it's like they just found Jesus."

For good luck, Carey presents his tummy to contestants for a rub. But beyond that and autograph signings, he treats the audience to a mini stand-up routine during commercial breaks.

It hasn't all been fun and games. On one of his last rehearsal days, Carey cut his wrist badly enough to send him to the hospital after he jokingly stuck his arm in the path of a rotating turntable.

"There was a big gash in there, and I thought I had broken it honestly," he said.

"I thought, 35 years with Bob, this never happened," producer Roger Dobkowitz said. "Thirty-five years, no accidents."

Carey makes hosting look so easy because he has his priorities in check.

"It's really humbling to be here," he said. "Because you're not the star of the show, the people are. Anybody who doesn't know that, they shouldn't be in the TV business. If you don't know that the contestants are the star of 'The Price is Right,' you're in the wrong business."