The Price Is Right (U.S. game show)
The Price Is Right
Tpir 40 logo.png
Format Game show
Created by Mark Goodson
Bill Todman
Directed by Marc Breslow (1972–1986)
Paul Alter (1986–2001)
Bart Eskander (2000–2009)
Rich DiPirro (2009–2011)
Michael Dimich (2011–present)
Presented by Bob Barker (1972–2007)
Drew Carey (2007–present)
Narrated by Johnny Olson (1972–1985)
Rod Roddy (1986–2003)
Rich Fields (2004–2010)
George Gray (2011–present)
Composer(s) Edd Kalehoff
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 40
No. of episodes 7,500 (as of September 28, 2011)[1]
Production
Running time approx. 39–48 minutes (1975–present)
approx. 22–26 minutes (1972–1975, occasional episodes from 1976–1994)
Production company(s) Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions (1972–1984)
Mark Goodson Productions (1984–2007)
Price Productions (1972–1994)
Mark Goodson Productions, LLC (1994–2007)
FremantleMedia (2007–present)
in association with CBS
Distributor FremantleMedia for CBS
Broadcast
Original channel CBS
Picture format 480i (SDTV, 1972–2008)
1080i (HDTV, 2008–present)
Audio format Mono (1972–1988)
CBS StereoSound (1988–1997)
Digital Stereo (1997–present)
Original run September 4, 1972 (1972-09-04) – present
Chronology
Preceded by The Price Is Right (1956–1965)
Related shows The New Price Is Right (1994–1995)
External links
Website

The Price Is Right is an American game show which was created by Mark Goodson and Bill Todman. Contestants compete to identify the pricing of merchandise to win cash and prizes. The show is well-known for its signature line of "Come on down!" when the announcer directs newly selected contestants to "Contestants' Row".[2] The original version of The Price Is Right aired from 1956 until 1965. The current version of the series premiered on September 4, 1972 on CBS, originally titled The New Price Is Right to distinguish itself from the original. Bob Barker hosted and Johnny Olson was the game's announcer. The series originally ran for 30 minutes, but expanded to 60 minutes in 1975. After Olson's death in 1985, Rod Roddy eventually became the program's announcer until his death in 2003, when Rich Fields replaced him. After Barker's retirement in 2007, Drew Carey became the program's host.[3] George Gray became the show's announcer in 2011.

In a 2007 article, TV Guide named The Price Is Right the "greatest game show of all time".[4]

While retaining some elements of the earlier generation show, the 1972 version added many new distinctive gameplay elements and is the longest continuously running game show in United States television history, with over 7,000 episodes aired.[4] The program's 40th season began September 19, 2011.[5]

Contents

Gameplay

The gameplay on the show includes four distinct competition elements through which nine preliminary contestants (or six, depending on the episode's running time) eventually are narrowed to two finalists who compete in the final segment of the show, "the Showcase."

One Bid

Bidders in Contestants' Row awaiting the announcement of the actual retail price.

The four players in Contestants' Row compete in a One Bid qualifying game to determine which contestant will play the next pricing game. A prize is shown and, beginning with the last player to be called down or the player farthest-left during the first One Bid, each contestant gives a single bid for the item. The order of bidding moves from left to right. Contestants bid in whole dollars and may not bid the same amount as any player bid previously for that item. The player whose bid is closest to the actual retail price of the prize without going over wins the prize and plays the next pricing game.

If all four contestants overbid, a buzzer sounds before the price is revealed. The host announces the lowest bid, the bids are erased and the bidding process is repeated in the same manner with the contestants instructed to bid lower than the lowest of the original bids.

If one of the contestants bids the exact price of the item, including during a re-bid, a bell rings before the price is revealed. From 1977 until 1998, a player who made a "perfect bid" received a $100 bonus. In 1998, the bonus for perfect bids was increased to $500. On The Price Is Right $1,000,000 Spectacular, the bonus is $1,000.

Pricing games

The contestant who wins the One Bid comes onstage and has the chance to win additional prizes or cash playing a pricing game. After the pricing game ends, a new contestant is selected for Contestants' Row and the process is repeated. Six pricing games are played on each hour-long episode; three games per episode were played in the half-hour format. On a typical hour-long episode, two games—one in each half of the show—will be played for a car, at most one game will be played for a cash prize and the other games will offer merchandise or trips. Usually, one of the six games will involve grocery products, while another will involve smaller prizes that can be used to win a larger prize package.

When the show premiered in 1972, five pricing games were in the rotation. Throughout the years more games have been created and added to the rotation, and after the program expanded to one hour permanently in 1975, the rate at which games premiered increased dramatically. Games are occasionally removed from the rotation due to lack of popularity, confusing gameplay, antiquated or irreparable mechanics used to operate the game, or for other unspecified reasons. A total of 105 games have been played on the show, of which 70 are in the current rotation.[citation needed]

On the 1994 syndicated version hosted by Doug Davidson, the rules of several games were modified and other aesthetic changes were made. Notably, the grocery products used in some games on the daytime version were replaced by small merchandise prizes, generally valued less than $100. Beginning in 2008, episodes of The Price Is Right $1,000,000 Spectacular featured rule changes to some pricing games which rewarded a $1 million bonus to the contestant if specific goals were achieved while playing the pricing game.

Showcase Showdown

Host Drew Carey and three contestants during the Showcase Showdown.

Since the expansion to 60 minutes in 1975, each episode features two Showcase Showdowns, occurring after the third and sixth pricing games. Each features the three contestants who played the preceding pricing games spinning "The Big Wheel" to determine who advances to the Showcase.

The contestants play in the order of the value of their winnings thus far (including in the One Bid round), with the contestant who has won the most spinning last. In the rare event two or all three players are tied in winnings, a coin toss or random drawing determines which player goes first.

The wheel contains 20 sections showing values from 5¢–$1.00, in increments of five cents.[6] The first contestant spins the wheel and may choose to stop with their score or spin again, adding the value of the second spin to their first. However, if a contestant's total score goes over $1.00, that contestant is eliminated from the game. The contestant whose score is nearest to $1.00 without going over advances to the Showcase at the end of each episode. If the first two contestants go over $1.00, the last contestant automatically advances to the Showcase, however they are given one spin to see if they can hit $1.00.

Any contestant whose score equals $1.00 (from either one spin or a combination of two spins) receives a $1,000 bonus, and since 1978, a bonus spin. In the bonus spin, the wheel is positioned on 5¢ and the contestant takes their spin. If the wheel stops on 5¢ or 15¢ (which are adjacent to the $1.00 space and painted green), the contestant receives a bonus of $10,000. If the wheel stops on $1.00 during the bonus spin, the contestant wins an additional $25,000. From 1978–September 2008, the bonuses were to $5,000 for landing on a green section and $10,000 for landing on $1.00. If the wheel does not stop on any of these spaces or fails to make one complete revolution, the contestant wins no additional money and does not get to spin again.

If, after all three contestants have competed, two or more contestants are tied with the leading score, each competes in a spin-off. The tied contestants are given one additional spin and the player who achieves the higher score advances to the Showcase. Multiple spin-offs are played until the tie is broken. Those who hit $1.00 in their spin-off spin still get $1,000 and a bonus spin. If two or more contestants tied with a score of $1.00, their bonus spin also determines their spin-off score. Only the spin-off score, not any bonus money won, determines which contestant moves on to the Showcase. A tie in a bonus spin spin-off means the ensuing second spin-off will be spun with no bonuses available.

Each spin must make one complete revolution in order to qualify. A contestant whose spin does not make a complete revolution is traditionally booed by the audience, and is required to spin again, except during a bonus spin, when the player's turn ends. However, if the bonus spin was also part of a spin-off, the contestant is required to spin again but does not have an opportunity to win any bonus money, similar to a tie-breaking spin after a bonus spin.

The Showcase

Drew Carey with contestants preparing to view the first showcase.

The two winners of the Showcase Showdowns compete in the Showcase at the end of the show. These two contestants are dubbed the "top winner" and the "runner-up", based upon their total winnings to that point. Before the introduction of the Showcase Showdown in 1975, and on all episodes which are 30-minutes in length, the two contestants with the highest winnings advanced directly to the Showcase.

A "showcase" of prizes is presented and the top winner either places a bid on the total value of the showcase or passes the showcase to the runner-up, who is then required to make a bid. A second showcase is then presented and the contestant who had not bid on the first showcase makes their bid. Unlike the One Bid, the contestant bidding on the second showcase may bid the same amount their opponent did on the first showcase, since the two contestants are bidding on different prize packages.

The contestant who has bid nearer to the price of their own showcase without going over wins the prizes in their showcase. Any contestant who overbids automatically loses regardless of their opponent's result. If both contestants overbid (a "double overbid"), neither player wins.

Unlike One Bid, there is no additional bonus for a perfect bid, which has happened twice in the daytime show's history. However, if the winner's difference is $250 or less away from the actual retail price of their own showcase without going over, the contestant wins both showcases. From 1974–September 1998, the contestants' bids had to be less than $100 from the actual price without going over in order to win both showcases.

Prizes

As of November 2009, the show had given away approximately $250,000,000 in cash and prizes.[7] Several Barker-imposed prohibitions have been lifted since Carey became host, such as offering products made of leather or leather seats in vehicles and showing simulated meat props on barbecues and in ovens. The show has also offered couture clothing and accessories since Carey began hosting, featuring designers such as Coach Inc., Louis Vuitton and Limited Brands in an attempt to attract a younger demographic.

The most expensive prize ever offered on this version of the show was a Tesla Roadster (valued at $112,845), featured during Green Road (an Earth Day-themed playing of Golden Road) on Earth Day 2010.[citation needed]

Cars

From 1991–2008, almost all automobiles offered on the show were made by companies based in the United States, specifically Detroit's Big Three (although cars made by these companies' foreign subsidiaries or in a joint-venture with a foreign company were also offered). The move was made by Barker, in his capacity as executive producer, as a sign of patriotism during the first Iraq war in 1991, and as a show of support to the American car industry, which was particularly struggling at that time. When Chrysler merged with German automaker Daimler-Benz in 1998 to form DaimlerChrysler AG (now simply Daimler AG after Chrysler split from the automaker; Chrysler is now controlled by Italian automaker Fiat), the foreign ownership of Chrysler did not affect carrying any Chrysler-related models on the show.

Since Barker's retirement, cars made by foreign companies have been offered, most notably Honda, which has several factories throughout Carey's home state of Ohio. Through product placement, certain episodes feature Honda as the exclusive automobile manufacturer for vehicles offered on that episode. The major European (Volkswagen, BMW, Daimler) and Asian (Hyundai, Toyota, Mazda, Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi) manufacturers have all provided cars on the show since the ban was lifted, with premium foreign cars almost exclusively used for games that generally offer higher-priced cars, such as Golden Road and 3 Strikes. Vintage cars have occasionally been offered as prizes for games which do not involve pricing them.

Winnings records

The record for largest individual total in cash and prizes on a daytime episode is held by Vickyann Sadowski. On September 18, 2006, the premiere of Season 35, Sadowski won a Dodge Caravan playing Push Over and $1,000 in cash in the second Showcase Showdown. She also won both showcases, which included a Dodge Viper in her showcase and a Saturn Sky Roadster in her opponent's, bringing her total winnings for the episode to $147,517, making her the largest single-episode winner in the history of American network daytime game shows.

The record for winnings on the prime time show is held by Adam Rose. On The Price Is Right $1,000,000 Spectacular that aired on February 22, 2008, Rose won $20,000 playing Grand Game and won both showcases, which included a Ford Escape Hybrid in his opponent's showcase and a Cadillac XLR convertible in his own showcase, plus a $1,000,000 bonus. His total was $1,153,908.

CBS imposed a $25,000 winnings limit on their game shows until November 1, 1984, when the limit was raised to $50,000. The limit was again raised to $75,000 two years later. By the late 1990s, CBS had lifted its winnings limit and contestants kept all cash and prizes won without forfeiture or forced donation to charity.

Cast and crew

Hosts

Bob Barker (1972–2007)

Bob Barker began hosting The Price Is Right in September 4, 1972 and completed a 35-year tenure in 2007. Barker was hired as host while still hosting the stunt comedy show Truth or Consequences. His retirement coincided with his 50th year as a television host. His final show aired on June 15, 2007 and was repeated in prime time, leading into the network's coverage of the Daytime Emmy Awards.[8] In addition to hosting, Barker became Executive Producer of the show and so served from 1988 to his retirement, gaining significant creative control over the series between 2000 and his 2007 retirement. He also was responsible for creating several of the show's pricing games and launching The Price Is Right $1,000,000 Spectacular spin-off.

Reruns of Barker's last season were aired throughout the summer until the Friday before Carey's debut, when the Season 35 finale was re-aired on October 12, 2007.

During his time as host, Barker missed one taping due to illness. Dennis James, then hosting the syndicated nighttime version of the show, filled in for him on four episodes in December 1974.

After he became a noted animal rights advocate in the early 1980s, Barker signed off each broadcast with the public-service message, "Help control the pet population—have your pets spayed or neutered." Carey continued the tradition upon becoming the new host.

Barker made a guest appearance on the show on April 16, 2009, to promote his autobiography, Priceless Memories. He appeared during the Showcase round and brought copies of the book to the audience.

Drew Carey (2007–present)

Current host Drew Carey.

On October 31, 2006, Barker announced that he would retire from the show at the end of Season 35. In March 2007, CBS and FremantleMedia began a search for the next host of the show. Drew Carey was chosen and made the announcement of his selection during a July 23, 2007 interview on Late Show with David Letterman.[9]

Carey's first show aired October 15, 2007. Carey has continued Barker's tagline of "have your pet spayed or neutered" at the end of each episode.

Announcers

Johnny Olson was the program's original announcer until shortly before his death in October 1985.[10] Olson was replaced by Rod Roddy in 1986[11], who remained with the program until shortly before his death in October 2003.[12] Los Angeles meteorologist Rich Fields took over as the announcer in April 2004,[13] and stayed on until the end of season 38.

JD Roberto, Jeff B. Davis, Brad Sherwood, David H. Lawrence XVII, George Gray, and Steve White alternated as guest announcers following Fields' departure.[14] Fields stated that the show's executive producer Mike Richards was looking for an announcer with experience in the field of improvisational comedy.[15] Gray was confirmed as the show's permanent announcer on the April 18, 2011 episode.[16]

Models

To help display its many prizes, the show has featured several models who were known, during Barker's time on the show, as "Barker's Beauties." Some of the longer-tenured Barker's Beauties included Kathleen Bradley (1990–2000), Holly Hallstrom (1977–1995), Dian Parkinson (1975–1993) and Janice Pennington (1972–2000). Pennington and Bradley were both dismissed from the program in 2000, allegedly because they had given testimony on Hallstrom's behalf in the wrongful-termination litigation she pursued against Barker and the show.[17] Following the departures of Nikki Ziering, Heather Kozar and Claudia Jordan in the 2000s, producers decided to use a rotating cast of models (up to ten) until the middle of Season 37, after which the show reverted to five regular models.

The current models are Rachel Reynolds, Amber Lancaster, Gwendolyn Osborne, and Manuela Arbeláez. Current host Drew Carey does not use a collective name for the models, but refers to them by name, hoping that the models will be able to use the show as a "springboard" to further their careers.[18] In a change from previous policy, the models appearing on a given episode are now named individually in the show's credits and are formally referred as "The Price Is Right models" when collectively grouped at events.

Production staff

The game show production team of Mark Goodson and Bill Todman was responsible for producing the original as well as the revival versions of the game show. Goodson–Todman staffer Bob Stewart is credited with creating the original version of The Price Is Right.

Roger Dobkowitz was the program's producer from 1984–2008, having worked with the program as a production staffer since the current version's debut after graduating from San Francisco State University in 1972. Occasionally, Dobkowitz appeared on camera when answering a question posed by the host, usually relating to the show's history or records. Dobkowitz left the show in 2008. Variety reported that it was unclear whether he was retiring or was fired,[19] although Drew Carey indicated in a later interview with Esquire that Dobkowitz was fired.[20]

As of 2011, the show uses multiple producers, all long-time staffers. Adam Sandler (not to be confused with the actor) is the current producer of the show. Stan Blits, who joined the show in 1980, and Sue MacIntyre are the co-producers. Kathy Greco joined the show in 1975 and became producer in 2008; she announced her retirement October 8, 2010 on the show's Web site, effective at the end of the December 2010 tapings. Her last episode as producer, which aired January 27, 2011, featured a theme in tribute to her. The show's official website featured a series of videos including an interview with Greco as a tribute to her 35 years in the days leading up to her final episode.[21]

Frank Wayne, a Goodson–Todman staffer since the 1950s, was the original executive producer of the show's current version. Barker assumed that role after Wayne's death in 1988. Previous producers have included Jay Wolpert, Barbara Hunter and Phil Wayne Rossi (Frank Wayne's son). Michael Dimich assumed the director's chair in June 2011.[22] Marc Breslow, Paul Alter, Bart Eskander and Rich DiPirro each served long stints previously as director. Former associate directors Andrew Felsher and Fred Witten, as well as technical director Glenn Koch, have directed episodes strictly on a fill-in basis.

Aside from Barker, the show's production staff remained intact after Carey became host. FremantleMedia executive Syd Vinnedge was named the program's new executive producer, with Mike Richards becoming co-executive producer after Dobkowitz's departure. Richards was a candidate to replace Barker as host in 2007, before Carey was ultimately chosen.[23] Richards succeeded Vinnedge as executive producer when the 2009–2010 season started, with Tracy Verna Soiseth joining Richards as co-executive producer in 2010.[24] Vinnedge remains credited as an executive consultant to the show.[25]

Production information

Audience and contestant selection

Many audience members arrive early on the day of a taping, often camping out late at night the previous night, to attend a taping.[26] Most have already received tickets for that day's show, although some hope to get same-day tickets. Audience members are then given the iconic name tags with a temporary identification number, which is also written on the person's ticket. A Social Security Number (or some national I.D. number for non-U.S. audience members) is also required to be submitted. Audience members are eventually brought through in groups of twelve for brief interviews with the production staff. Contrary to popular belief, contestant names are not chosen at random; rather, the interviews determine possible selections for the nine contestants per taping from among the pool of approximately 325 audience members. Since 1988, the minimum age for audience members has been 18; prior to 1988, children and teenagers (as young as 12) were present in the audience.

With few exceptions, anyone at least 18 years old who attends a taping of the show has the potential to become a contestant. Those ineligible include current candidates for political office, employees of CBS Corporation or its affiliates, RTL Group or any firm involved in offering prizes for the show. Contestants who have appeared on a different game show within the previous year or either two other game shows or any version of The Price Is Right itself within the past ten years are also ineligible.[27] The show’s staff alerts potential contestants – in person, on the show's Web site and on the tickets themselves – to dress in "street clothes" and to not wear costumes, such as those used to attract attention on Let's Make a Deal, another show that featured contestants selected from the audience. Those who have attended tapings in June 2008 noted that producers disallowed audience members from wearing fake eyeglasses designed to look similar to those worn by host Drew Carey, though this restriction was later relaxed.[28] Instead, contestants will often wear shirts with hand-decorated slogans. As is the tradition on game shows, members of the Armed Forces will often wear a military uniform.

Prospective contestants obtain tickets by mailing their request to the ticketing department at CBS Television City. Since 2005, tickets can also be obtained from the show's official website.

In addition, the show discourages contestants from wearing green shirts because some game props use chroma key effects, which can blend into a contestant's shirt. The show began using this effect for trips as a result of switching to 1080i in 2008, but later in the season abandoned the green screen for trips and oversized prizes too large to fit in the studio, replacing them with the use of video screens. Some prizes (mostly water-related prizes) still use green screens to create a simulated "wave" effect. The green screen is now used outside on the show where potential contestants are allowed to be photographed as if they were on the Plinko board, Cliff Hangers set or Showcase Showdown wheel where contestants can post a message notifying them of their appearance on the show on a future date.

Occasionally episodes are taped with special audience restrictions. For Memorial Day in 1991, an episode was taped with an audience composed entirely of those who had served in the Armed Forces. Similar prime time episodes were taped in 2002 honoring each branch of the United States military and a sixth episode honoring police officers and firefighters.

Since Season 37 in 2008, the annual Veteran's Day episode, set to air November 11 or the Friday closest to it, the audience is composed entirely of those who have served in the Armed Forces and their families. The 2008 version was slated to air in daytime on November 11, 2008 (Veteran's Day), but the airing was moved to November 14 as a CBS prime time episode. The format contains a unique rule where each One Bid would feature one contestant from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. As each contestant wins their way onstage they are replaced by a member of the same branch of service. The show features a live military band playing the winning contestant's service song. The traditional name tags also contained the contestant's (or their family member's) service branch. Most civilian attendees were retired or disabled veterans or family members of military. Each contestant was also introduced by their rank, which usually does not happen with civilian episodes when military members are introduced and One Bid winners won a $1,000 gift card. Audience members were grouped by branch of service.

The 2009 version changed the earlier format in which a service member from the same branch replaced another after advancing from Contestants' Row. Additionally, members from the United States Coast Guard (part of the Department of Homeland Security) were invited to the show.

Beginning in 2008, some episodes have featured themes with couples competing as teams (either married or engaged couples for Valentine's Day and parent and child teams for both Mother's Day and Father's Day [29] ), or specific groups of contestants (brides-to-be and engaged couples for "the Ultimate Wedding Shower" and students for "Ultimate Spring Break" and "Back to School"). Other special episodes themed for holidays or featuring family members of the Armed Forces (Armed Forces Day episode) have also aired.

The second taped episode had to be replaced as a contestant was related to a CBS employee and therefore ineligible to be on the show.[30] The other contestants who appeared on that episode were awarded their prizes, but the episode was never aired (and currently cannot be shown due to containing a fur coat).[31][dubious ] There have been similar instances over the years of ineligible contestants appearing on stage, but were not edited out of the final broadcast since it was discovered in post-production. Usually, these episodes air with a disclaimer from the announcer added in post-production that the contestant was found ineligible. Standards and Practices guidelines for game shows state that if an ineligible contestant wins a One-Bid and the other contestants on Contestants' Row at the time do not win a subsequent One-Bid, they are not considered to have made an appearance on the show and are immediately eligible again once the error has been discovered.

Taping

Except for the 2002 Las Vegas special, The Price Is Right has been taped in Studio 33 in CBS Television City in Hollywood, California for its entire run.[32] The studio, which is also used for other television productions, was renamed the Bob Barker Studio in the host's honor on the ceremonial 5,000th episode in 1998.[4] When Carey became host, there was talk of the show traveling in the future.[33]

The program is usually produced in about an hour.[34] Two episodes are usually taped each day and there are normally three taping days per week. The program is taped in advance of its air date. For example, the show broadcast on February 28, 2008 was taped the preceding January 16.[35] As with many other shows that start production in the summer, the lead time varies during the season, as many as fifteen weeks to as little as one day (a special episode featuring military family members as contestants was taped the day after the death of Osama bin Laden, and rushed to air the following day). The audience is entertained by the announcer before taping begins. After the taping session, there is a drawing for a door prize. On some episodes all members of the audience receive a prize from a sponsor or celebrity guest; those prizes are usually mentioned in the Showcase (such as a complimentary slice of Papa John's Pizza, an NHL Winter Classic game puck, a couples' gift box from Hershey's or a book authored by a guest[36]). Television and CBS.COM viewers have also been directed to PRICEISRIGHT.COM to enter a drawing for a smilar prize offered to all viewers, or another prize related to the special offer (such as the Rock of Ages signed CD).

Some episodes are taped "out of order" so that a specific episode will air after other episodes have aired. Notably, the Christmas Week episodes are usually taped in early December outside of the regular rotation. An episode may be taped out of order if a prize package reflects a trip to a special event that is taking place close to the date that episode will air (such as the Indianapolis 500, Academy of Country Music Awards, NHL Winter Classic, or Final Four basketball tournament).

Other episodes may be aired out of out of order because of game-related incidents or situations beyond the network's control. Such was the case when two episodes taped in June 2005, featuring trips to New Orleans, were set to air in the fall of 2005, shortly after Hurricane Katrina struck. The episodes eventually aired in May and June 2006. Similarly, an episode taped in April 2010, slated to air in May 2010, that offered a trip to Nashville, Tennessee was pulled and moved into the traditional rerun season, airing at the end of the season in September 2010 after the May 2010 Tennessee floods. Episodes featuring trips to locations where recent natural disasters have coincided with the original air date have also been delayed.

Currently, the show usually tapes two or three weeks each month in which six shows are taped each week (two shows on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday), except for a small Christmas break after December tapings.[citation needed]

Production company

The current version of the series was originally "A Mark GoodsonBill Todman Production" in association with CBS.[37] After Todman died in 1979, the unit became known as simply Mark Goodson Productions and was announced as such on The Price Is Right from 1984–2007. Today, the series is produced by FremantleMedia and copyrighted by The Price Is Right Productions, Inc., a joint venture of RTL Group and CBS.

For the sake of tradition and through special permission from RTL's subsidiary FremantleMedia, the show continued to use the Mark Goodson Productions name, logo and announcement at the end of each episode until Barker's retirement, even after FremantleMedia purchased and absorbed the Goodson-Todman holdings. The show is now credited as a FremantleMedia production.

Set features

Contestants' Row is placed at the front of the audience located on the edge of the apron. On stage are three sets of large paneled sliding doors as well as the turntable, a platform with a rotating wall. Pricing games and prizes are typically placed in these areas. There is also a "Giant Price Tag" prop, a large curtain and other covers used to conceal prizes, games and other staging elements. On the back wall behind the audience is a large plasma video screen that displays the show's logo and various prizes. The announcer and production crew are positioned on separate podia stage left.

Outside of minor cosmetic changes or updates to color schemes, the set remained largely unchanged until Carey began hosting.[38] In 2008, with the transition to high-definition, updates have been made to various game props, the announcer's podium and other set features, and aesthetics of these items have varied from year to year. Outdated technology, such as the use of eggcrate displays, has been replaced on some props with newer technology, such as LCD screens, as the One Bid and Showcase podia were the first to switch at the start of Season 38.

Changes to the set (including altering color schemes of certain set pieces, adding themed decorations, and changing the name of pricing games) are occasionally made for specially themed episodes.

Broadcast history

The Price Is Right premiered on September 4, 1972 at 10:30 a.m. (9:30 Central) on CBS. The show was first called The New Price Is Right to distinguish itself from the earlier Bill Cullen version (1956–1965), but it proved so popular in its own right that, in June 1973, the producers decided to drop the word "New." The program aired at 3:00 p.m. from 1973 to 1975, but has otherwise been part of the network's morning schedule. In September 1975, CBS experimented with a 60-minute version of the show to celebrate its third anniversary, and the expansion was made permanent two months later on November 3, 1975. On April 23, 1979, the show moved to the 11:00 a.m. time slot, which it has occupied since.

The format of the show has since remained virtually unchanged. New pricing games are generally added each year, while others are removed. In addition, prizes and pricing games have kept pace with inflation, with games originally designed for four-digit prices of prizes(most often cars) to be adjusted to allow for five-digit prices. While the set has been redesigned and upgraded, the show maintained a similar aesthetic element from its premiere in 1972 through 2009, when a transition to broadcasting in high-definition began.

In season 36, CBS began offering full episodes of the show available for free viewing on the network's website, and the show began to broadcast in high definition with The Price Is Right $1,000,000 Spectacular primetime specials (the normal daytime version continued to air in 4:3 standard definition). In addition, the last 12 episodes of season 36 were taped in HD, but broadcast in 4:3 standard definition. The show made the full transition to HD broadcasts beginning with season 37.

From September 28-October 2, 2009, September 20-24, 2010, and October 4-8, 2010, two new episodes aired daily on CBS. In 2009, the additional episodes filled a gap between the cancellation of the daytime drama Guiding Light and the debut of Let's Make a Deal). In 2010, the extra episodes aired between the cancellation of As the World Turns and the debut of The Talk. The intervening week offered a second episode of Let's Make a Deal). The 2009 second episode aired in the time slot vacated by Guiding Light, at 10:00 a.m. or 3:00 p.m. ET/PT, depending on the affiliate's choice. In 2010, the second episode aired in the former As the World Turns time slot, at 2:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Syndicated productions

The nighttime Price Is Right
TheNighttimePriceisRight.jpg
Format Game show
Created by Mark Goodson
Bill Todman
Presented by Dennis James (1972–1977)
Bob Barker (1977–1980)
Tom Kennedy (1985–1986)
Narrated by Johnny Olson (1972–1980, 1985)
Gene Wood (1985–1986)
Rod Roddy (1986)
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 300 (1972–1980)
170 (1985–1986)
Production
Running time 30 minutes (with commercials)
Production company(s) Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions (1972–1980)
Mark Goodson Productions (1985–1986)
Price Productions (1972–1980; 1985–1986)
Distributor Viacom Enterprises (1972–1980)
The Television Program Source (1985–1986)
Broadcast
Original channel Syndicated
Original run September 10, 1972 – September 13, 1980 (weekly)
September 9, 1985 – September 5, 1986 (daily)
Chronology
Related shows The New Price Is Right (1994–1995)

Three syndicated versions of The Price Is Right have aired. The first two followed the same format as the half-hour daytime version but were intended to air on most stations in the early evening and as such were referred to on-air as "the nighttime Price Is Right".

1972–1980

A weekly syndicated version debuted the week after the daytime show and continued to air until September 1980.[39] It was distributed by Viacom Enterprises, which had started as the syndication arm of CBS. Since Bob Barker was also hosting Truth or Consequences and his contract forbade him from hosting two syndicated series at the same time,[40] Dennis James was selected to host the nighttime version of The Price Is Right.

The two versions were largely similar at the beginning – both were called The New Price Is Right. Some games had rule differences because of the larger budget and less commercial time on the nighttime show; for example, Double Prices was played for two prizes instead of one.

This version retained the 1972 half-hour format for its entire run and did not add the daytime show's Showcase Showdown or Double Showcase rule. On June 22, 1973, on the daytime show's 200th episode, the word "New" was dropped from the program's name, and it was known as "the nighttime Price Is Right" or simply The Price Is Right.

In most of the U.S., stations carried the syndicated Price as one of several different programs aired each night of the week in one of the time slots in the hour before prime time which were created by the 1971 FCC Prime Time Access Rule.[37] After the fifth nighttime season in 1977, James' contract was not renewed. Barker, whose Truth or Consequences was taped two years ahead and had stopped production in 1975, took over this version as well.

The series taped its 300th and final episode on March 12, 1980 and was canceled after weekly syndicated game shows had fallen out of popularity in favor of daily offerings. With a run of eight seasons, it was one of the longest-running weekly syndicated game shows of the era and the longest-running regularly scheduled prime-time version of Price (the 1957–1964 run was seven seasons).

1985–1986

Five years later, veteran host Tom Kennedy starred in a new daily syndicated version,[41][42] which also used the traditional half-hour format and was syndicated by The Television Program Source. Like the previous syndicated series, this version had a slightly larger budget than its daytime counterpart. A perfect bid during the One-Bids won that contestant a $500 bonus (compared to $100 awarded on the daytime show during the same period; the bonus was increased to $500 on the daytime show in 1998).

This version used the same models as the daytime show. When Johnny Olson died in late 1985, Gene Wood filled in as announcer until producers chose Rod Roddy as Olson's replacement. The nighttime version did not feature rotating auditions for announcers as the daytime show did.

The series failed to earn prime access slots as its predecessor did, due to increased competition from programs such as Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! and often found itself in late night slots.

This version produced 170 episodes, airing in first-run from September 9, 1985 to May 30, 1986 (reruns aired until September 5). During the six years it held the rights to Price, the Kennedy version is the only one of the three syndicated versions that was rerun by GSN (albeit in the late-night slots it frequently had during its original run).

The New Price Is Right

Seven years after the cancellation of Tom Kennedy's Price Is Right, the producers of the series decided to try again with a completely revamped version. The show, titled The New Price Is Right, taped two pilots on July 16 and 17, 1993. The first was hosted by Doug Davidson (who would eventually host the series), while the second was emceed by Mark Kriski.

This series premiered on September 12, 1994 and was distributed by Paramount Domestic Television (now, like Viacom Enterprises before it, part of CBS Television Distribution). This series featured several significant changes – eliminating Contestants' Row, a different format for the Showcase Showdown, a one-player Showcase, a completely different set and a much larger budget (even when compared to the previous two syndicated runs) that gave contestants the potential to win up to five times what they could win on the daytime show.[43]

This version failed to gain viewership, largely because many stations regularly preempted it for coverage of the O. J. Simpson murder case, and ended its run on January 27, 1995, after 16 weeks of first-run shows. Several stylistic elements of this series, as well as many of its music cues, would later be integrated into both the daytime version and nighttime specials.

CBS prime time specials and series

The Price Is Right $1,000,000 Spectacular logo used since 2008.

CBS attempted to break NBC's dominance of Thursday night prime time by The Cosby Show and Family Ties with a six-episode summer series, The Price Is Right Special, beginning in August 1986.[44]

On August 23, 1996, CBS aired an hour-long 25th Anniversary Special, using the half-hour gameplay format and featuring a number of retrospective clips. The 30th Anniversary Special was recorded at Harrah's Rio in Las Vegas and aired on January 31, 2002.[45] This one-time road trip enticed 5,000 potential contestants to line up for 900 available tickets, causing an incident that left one person injured.[46]

A second prime time series was a six-show series saluting various branches of the United States armed forces, police officers and firefighters aired during the summer of 2002, as a tribute to the heroes of the terrorist attacks of 2001.[47] During the series The Price Is Right Salutes, spinning $1.00 in a bonus spin during the Showcase Showdown was worth $100,000 instead of the usual $10,000.

The success of the prime time series, which aired mostly in the summer, along with the rise of "million dollar" game shows led to CBS launching another prime time series in 2003, titled The Price Is Right $1,000,000 Spectacular. The 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike and original success in the Nielsen ratings led CBS to commission ten more episodes of the prime time series. This series introduced set changes as the show was broadcast in high definition television for the first time, and the set used for these episodes (except for the black floor) was moved to the daytime show in 2008.[48]

On the prime time series, larger and more expensive prizes are generally offered than on the daytime show. The Showcase frequently offers multiple or very expensive cars. In the first sixteen $1,000,000 Spectaculars, the bonus spin payoff for the Showcase Showdown was again increased, this time to $1 million. The million-dollar spin was eliminated for Season 36 and was replaced with two other methods of winning the prize. One pricing game per episode was selected as a "million-dollar game" with an additional requirement that the contestant must meet in order to win the money. In the Showcase round, the double showcase win rule was adjusted to include the million dollar prize if the winning contestant came within $500 (originally $1,000) of the actual retail price of their showcase. No prime time episodes have been produced since summer 2008.

Gameshow Marathon

In 2006, The Price Is Right was featured on the series Gameshow Marathon, hosted by talk show host and actress Ricki Lake.[49] This version combined aspects of the Barker and Davidson versions with the celebrity contestants playing three pricing games, followed by a Showcase Showdown where the two contestants with the highest scores would go on to the Showcase. The winner of the Showcase would be entitled to a spot in Finalists' Row.

This version was announced by Rich Fields and taped in Studio 46. It also marked the first Price Is Right episode directed by Rich DiPirro, who replaced Bart Eskander as the director on the daytime show in January 2009.

Critical reaction and legal issues

The program has been generally praised and remains a stalwart in television ratings over its long history.[50] The introduction of the program ushered in a new era of game show—moving away from the knowledge-based quiz show format, creating "a noisy, carnival atmosphere that challenged cultural norms and assumptions represented in previous generations of quiz shows".[51]

Since the mid-1990s, the program production company and in some cases the executive producer (both Barker and Michael G. Richards, the executive producer since 2008) have been sued by numerous women. Most of the lawsuits involved models and other staff members in cases of sexual harassment, wrongful termination and racial discrimination.[50] Allegations of sexual harassment brought by model Dian Parkinson led to Barker calling a press conference to admit a past consensual sexual relationship with her, while denying any harassment and alleging instead that she was only angry with him for calling off the relationship. Barker was widowed in 1981 following the death of his wife, Dorothy Jo.[52] It has also been alleged that Barker and senior staff created a hostile work environment, particularly to those who would testify for the plaintiffs suing Barker.[17] Responding to the controversy just before his retirement, Barker told William Keck of USA Today, "[The models] been such a problem. I don't want to say anything about them. They [were] disgusting; I don't want to mention them."[53]

All Barker-era lawsuits, except for one, were settled out of court. Barker himself dropped his slander suit against Holly Hallstrom. Hallstrom countersued and ultimately received millions in settlement.[54][55]

Two current lawsuits involving Brandi Sherwood and Lanisha Cole are currently in litigation, with Richards being targeted, along with producer Sandler.

The Price Is Right in other media

The Price Is Right has expanded beyond television to home and casino-based games.

Board games

Eight board games have been produced. One of them was a variation of a card game, using prizes and price tags from the original version.[56] The second was based more closely on the original version of the show.[57]

Three games were produced during the 1970s by Milton Bradley, with Contestants' Row, a small number of pricing games and, in the case of the third version, a spinner for the Big Wheel. In the first two versions, decks of cards had various grocery items, small prizes and larger prizes. The third version simply had cards for each game that included ten sets of "right" answers, all using the same price choices. The instruction book specified what color cards would be necessary for each round.

The 1986 version, again by Milton Bradley, was similar in scope to the earlier version, with new prizes and more games, but lacking the Big Wheel. The instruction book refers to Contestants' Row as the "Qualifying Round" and the pricing games as "Solo Games". The book also instructs players to use items priced under $100 as One Bids.[57] The 1998 version of the game, by Endless Games, was virtually identical to the 1986 release, with the same games, prizes and even the same prices. The only changes were that the number tiles were made of cardboard bits instead of plastic and the cars from the deck of prizes with four-digit prices were removed.

The 2004 edition, again by Endless Games, was a complete departure from previous home versions.[57] Instead of different prize cards and games, the game consisted of everything needed to play 40 games and enough materials to create all the games not technically included if the "host" wished to and knew their rules. The Big Wheel spinner was also restored, this time with the numbers in the correct order. Additionally, the prices, instead of being random numbers that could change each time the game was played, were actual prices taken from episodes of the TV show. To fit everything in the box, grocery items and prizes were listed in the instruction book and games were played on dry erase boards. A spinner would determine what game would be played next, although its use was not necessarily required if the "host" wished to build his own game lineup.

Computer and electronic games

In 1990, GameTek created a The Price Is Right computer game for the DOS and Commodore 64 platforms[58] and other systems to fit in their line of other game show games.

A hand-held Tiger game was made in 1998 with four pricing games. A DVD game with 12 pricing games, live casino show host Todd Newton and video of prizes taken directly from the show was produced by Endless Games in 2005.[59] A 2008 DVD edition, also from Endless Games, featured many changes based on Season 36 and included seven new games: Half Off, More or Less, Swap Meet, Secret X, That's Too Much, Coming or Going and Hole in One. It also featured both host Drew Carey and announcer Rich Fields.[60]

CBS.com featured an online Price Is Right-based game in the late 1990s, which was plugged in the closing credits of each episode. The game consisted of choosing which of the four bidders in Contestant's Row was closest to the price of a prize without going over.

Mobliss provides a suite of pricing games for cellular phones.[61] Previously, it offered Cliff Hangers[62] and Plinko.[63]

On March 26, 2008, Ludia Inc (in connection with Ubisoft) launched The Price Is Right video game for PC. A version for the Wii and Nintendo DS platforms was released in September 2008, while a version for the iOS was released in November 2008. The show's announcer, Rich Fields, was the host of the computer version. The virtual set in the game resembles the set used in Seasons 31 through 34 rather than the current set. During the taping of this promotion, the Plinko board was rigged so that all chips dropped landed in the highest value slot on the board. After production wrapped, the wires used to rig the board were mistakenly left in place, leading to an incident during a taping of the daytime show which had to be edited and re-shot.

Ludia announced that all three platforms will receive a new version of the video game that was previewed at the Target Bullseye Lounge during the Electronic Entertainment Expo trade show on June 2–4, 2009. The Price Is Right 2010 Edition was released on September 22, 2009.[64] In the fall of 2010, Ludia developed a multiplayer version for Facebook.

Irwin Toys released an electronic tabletop version in 2008 featuring Contestant's Row, the Big Wheel, a physical Plinko board with chips, Showcases and seven pricing games.

Jakks Pacific released a Plug It in and Play version of The Price Is Right in 2009,[65] featuring Drew Carey and announcer Rich Fields. The unit features 20 pricing games as well as the Contestant's Row, Big Wheel and Showcase rounds.

Slot machines

A series of popular video slot machines, all based on the current version of The Price Is Right, were manufactured for North American casinos by International Game Technology.

The most common machines recreate the Showcase Showdown[66] as a bonus feature, with a wheel built into the game above the main video screen. At least four different versions of this machine exist as of 2006, each featuring additional bonus rounds based on popular pricing games: Plinko,[67] Cliff Hangers,[68] Punch a Bunch,[69] and Dice Game.[70] The Cliff Hangers game also exists as a mechanical reel slot machine, with a video screen positioned above the reels for the bonus.

In addition, a Money Game slot machine exists, albeit in limited release. This game has a potential top prize of a new car and has a different bonus round than the other The Price Is Right slot machines in service.

Another slot machine called The Price Is Right Fishing Game has been created by IGT.[71] The game features a fishing-themed bonus and is not based on any pricing game featured on the program. IGT has also released a game called The Price Is Right Fort Knox Progressives, but there are no elements of the television program evident in its gameplay.[72]

Scratch-off tickets

A scratchcard version of the game is being offered by several U.S. and Canadian lotteries, featuring adaptations of Plinko, Cliff Hangers, the Showcase Showdown and the Showcase. The top prize varies with each version.[73]

Live casino game

After the 2002 one-off Las Vegas episode, Harrah's and RTL Group have agreed to do live licensed shows (dubbed The Price Is Right Live!) at their venues, with several performers, including Roger Lodge and Todd Newton hosting and Randy West, Daniel Rosen or Dave Walls announcing.

DVD episodes

A four-disc DVD box set, titled The Best of "The Price Is Right", was released on March 25, 2008.[74] The set features four episodes of the 1956–1965 Bill Cullen series, 17 episodes of the Barker daytime series from 1972–1975 and the final five daytime episodes hosted by Barker.

In accordance with Barker's animal-rights wishes, which remain in effect beyond his retirement, any episodes with fur coats as prizes currently cannot be aired or released into home media formats. This includes the first three daytime shows recorded in 1972, plus most of the 1970s syndicated run. Despite this measure, GSN accidentally aired four episodes with furs during the time it had the rights to the series.[citation needed]

Awards

The Price Is Right has received five Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Show, in 1988, 1996, 1997, 2004 and 2007.

References

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External links

Awards
Preceded by
The $25,000 Pyramid
Jeopardy!
Jeopardy!
Jeopardy!
Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Show
1988
1996–1997
2004
2007
Succeeded by
The $25,000 Pyramid
Jeopardy!
Jeopardy!
Cash Cab

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