If you’re an avid watcher of daytime TV, then there’s a good chance you’ve seen Drew Carey on more than one occasion. For the past decade, Carey has been in the lives of daytime audiences as host of America’s longest-running game show, The Price Is Right. Most modern fans would naturally assume that the show is Carey’s only claim to fame, but the truth is that he made a big name for himself in Hollywood long before joining the popular game show.
Born May 23, 1958 in Cleveland Ohio, Carey seemed to have a knack for entertaining even if he didn’t know it yet. During high school, he played the trumpet in the marching band until he graduated in 1975. He then went on to college at Kent State University, but left after three years due to poor academic performance. Shortly after, he enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserves and worked for six years as a field operator in Ohio.
Sometime in 1985, he began to pursue comedy at the suggestion of his friend David Lawrence and borrowed books from the local library on how to write jokes. Over the next few years, he honed his comedy skills and performed at various comedy clubs in Cleveland and Los Angeles.
It wasn’t until 1988 that Carey finally received national recognition for his comedy. After appearing on shows like Star Search, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and Late Night with David Letterman, he earned his first stand-up comedy special, Drew Carey: Human Cartoon, on Showtime in 1994. His success in stand-up comedy soon opened doors to TV and film, helping him land supporting roles in the movie Coneheads with film legend Dan Aykroyd and the sitcom The Good Life.
Afterward, Drew Carey’s career began to take off. Along with writer Bruce Helford, he created The Drew Carey Show, a sitcom that focused on a fictional version of himself. The show eventually got picked up by ABC and premiered in 1995. Similar to Seinfeld, The Drew Carey Show focused on the daily activities of Carey as he attempted to make a splash with bosses in an office setting while living life in New York. The show ran for nine years and had 233 episodes before getting cancelled due to low ratings.
During the sitcom’s run, Carey was paid handsomely for his contributions as writer, producer, and star of the show. Between 2001 and 2004, he earned $750,000 per episode of the show, which included 79 episodes during that time period alone.
During The Drew Carey Show, Carey made sure to take advantage of his success and began branching out his career with other projects. His first foray away from the show was the improvisational comedy Whose Line Is It Anyway?, which premiered in 1998. Carey did double duty on the show as both the host and a participant as he announced the improv guests, directed the games, and participated in the final game of each episode. The show also featured a recognizable roster of well-known comedic actors, many of whom were also already characters in The Drew Carey Show.
Whose Line Is It Anyway? ran for 220 episodes and made stars out of many of the guests featured, including the now famous Wayne Brady, before its cancellation in 2006. Carey loved the idea of it so much that he returned again to produce and star in his own spin-off, Drew Carey’s Green Screen Show, in 2004. The show traveled from the WB network to Comedy Central and only lasted one season before being cancelled in 2005.
Once again, Carey was not deterred from his love of the improv concept and came back with another spin-off with the primetime improv show Drew Carey’s Improv-A-Ganza in 2011. Unfortunately, the series also got canceled after a few months due to low ratings.
Carey’s diligent work as a host did not go unnoticed, however, and in 2007 he began a new career in hosting game shows like Power of 10, which ran from August 2007 to January 2008. Impressed by his work on Power of 10, CBS offered Carey the chance to replace longtime host Bob Barker on The Price Is Right. Carey, of course, began hosting the game show in 2007 and has been its host ever since. Thanks to his multiple hosting projects and long career in television, Carey now earns $12.5 million a year for hosting The Price Is Right, making him one of the highest-paid TV hosts in the world.
With all of these accomplishments, high salaries, and producer credits, Carey should be sitting on a hefty sum of money. In 1998 alone, he earned $45 million from his various projects, and that was 23 years ago⏤way before his raise on The Drew Carey Show, his work on Whose Line, and his hosting duties on The Price Is Right. So how much is Carey currently worth?
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Carey is worth an astounding $180 million, only $20 million off from the $200 million net worths of comedians like Eddie Murphy and Kevin Hart. That’s an incredible achievement for a comedian with very few film credits to his name and a TV career that has consisted mainly of hosting gigs.
This is not to say that The Drew Carey Show didn’t play a big part in his massive fortune, and it’s almost guaranteed that Carey negotiated a great syndication deal that likely earned him a nice amount of royalties on the back end. But for a guy who has spent the better part of his career as a host of various game shows, Drew Carey has proven that you don’t need to be a big-time star to make a great living in entertainment.