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LOS ANGELES (USA TODAY) - They starred on a sitcom together. They're studio neighbors. So what's a little job sharing between friends?

Daytime game-show emcee Drew Carey and late-night talk host Craig Ferguson are pulling an April Fools' Day switcheroo, with Carey taking over CBS' Late Late Show (12:37 a.m. ET/PT) and Ferguson giving away prizes on the network's long-running The Price Is Right (11 a.m. ET/10 a.m. PT) April 1.

The longtime friends praise each other on the colorful Price set, where Bob Barker held sway for 35 years before Carey took over in 2007. Ferguson will be just the third host of this version.

"I think Craig is the best late-night-show host," says Carey, who makes his debut Monday as a contestant on ABC's Dancing With the Stars.

"And I think Drew is one of the best Price Is Right hosts," Ferguson says slyly, drawing one of many raucous laughs from Carey.

Carey, who will get things rolling that Monday night in the early hours of April 1, will feature comedy icon Carl Reiner, rocker Joan Jett and Connie Schultz, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist from Carey's native Cleveland.

"I'm just using it as an excuse to meet people. ... That's one of the great things about doing a show like that," says the comedian. He'll bring his announcer, George Gray, and the famed Price models to Ferguson's nearby studio in the CBS Television City complex when he tapes the episode later this week. He and Gray switched roles with the Price models last April Fools' Day. (Another comedian, HBO's Bill Maher, also tapes at the Price studio. "Sometimes, I come in here when Bill Maher is here, and it's all black. Black curtains and black tile. They kill a goat, and then they do a show.")

Ferguson, a Scotland native who has been known to refer to himself as "TV's Craig Ferguson," looks slightly askance at Carey when considering his estimable guests. "You're raising the tone a little. Be careful. Don't raise it too much."

It's the look you might expect from a married couple, which their Drew Carey Show characters are, at least by the power vested in television. In a 2000 episode, Drew and his English boss, Nigel Wick (Ferguson), joined in a civil union in Vermont - the only place it was then available - so Wick could get his green card and stay in the U.S.

"First gay wedding in television history, actually. Thank you," says Ferguson, although it wasn't quite. He offers feigned perspective on the union: "We have our days. But you know, he's nice, and he brings me a present every now and then. Just kind of keeps it fresh. Wears lingerie."

Carey plans to ad-lib his monologue, as Ferguson does, rather than come out with a set list of jokes. "I'm not going to burn my stand-up on his show," he says.

Ferguson nods: "Yeah, that's right. Don't throw it away."

Carey, who guest-hosted The Late Late Show a couple of times before Ferguson's tenure, has one concern: "I'm worried about Carl Reiner and Joan Jett, that I'm going to ask them such an obvious question that they've heard a million times."

Ferguson protests: "That's my signature move."

Ferguson, who brought along announcer Shadoe Stevens and sidekicks-turned-models Geoff the Robot and Secretariat when he recently taped his Price episode, approached TV's longest-running game show with a simple strategy. "I'm just going to give away money, as much as I can get away with giving away. Legally, of course."

His favorite Price game is Plinko, "because I just like the sound of that."

The late-night host, who starts his own syndicated game show, Celebrity Name Game, in the fall, says he was prepared for the hard-charging, bear-hugging Price winners. "They come at you fast. You've got to move," he says. "You played football," he tells Carey. "You were a reserve Marine. (You) know how to deal with that kind of situation. I was scared."

Carey revels in the contestants' enthusiasm. "I love it. People go crazy. It's a big day for them. And you get to be a part of it," he says. "They've been watching since they were a kid. They watch it with their grandmother. And then they get to be on the show. It's a big deal."

Each offers the other a tip he received from the wisest of men, legendary Price host Barker and Late Late Show's executive producer, who is affectionately known as "the host whisperer."

"I'll give you the same advice Bob gave me. You've got to be yourself. Make it your own show," Carey says.

"And I'll give you the advice Peter Lassally, the guru of late night, gave me," Ferguson counters. "Don't be too Scottish."

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