A staple of daytime TV since 1972, The Price is Right is the longest-running game show
in American television history.
Hosted by the iconic Bob Barker for more than 35 years and 7,000 episodes, it's continued
to thrive after Barker's retirement under the stewardship of comedian Drew Carey.
But how much do you actually know about this television institution?
Here's a look at the untold truth of the Price is Right.
Let's Make a Deal
When The Price is Right debuted in 1972, it was actually titled The New Price is Right,
a title it kept for a little under a year.
That's because it was loosely based on a primetime game show that had aired as early as 1956,
where contestants won small prizes by guessing how much household items cost.
But by the '70s, the original concept was deemed too boring.
Instead, CBS told producer Mark Goodson that if he wanted to revive the Price is Right,
he should look at their hit game show Let's Make a Deal for inspiration.
He did, borrowing a slew of gimmicks, like pulling people out of the studio audience
to be contestants, using lights and sound effects to get the crowd hyped, and having
the contestants play lots of different little games, like the cultural phenomenon Cliff
"There's no way that microwave costs more than 300 bucks.
Don't listen to that fat tourist, he doesn't know how much a microwave costs!"
"I can't find dad!"
"Oh, God, no!
Oh, God, no!
Where is he?!"
Where are you?!
Oh, my God."
The best of the best
Every game show has a different process for contestant selection.
Jeopardy!, for example, is quite rigorous, putting prospective guests through multiple
written tests, an interview, and a live test version of the game against other hopefuls.
The Price is Right is far more immediate.
On taping days, contestants/studio audience members line up for as long as four hours
outside Bob Barker Studio at CBS Television City in Los Angeles.
Then, ten at a time, they're herded in front of a producer who asks them each one question,
where they've got to show off a sparkling personality and lots of energy.
Only about 100 people or so get picked to sit in the studio audience, and the lucky
contestants find out they've been selected when the announcer calls their name.
"How about if we call Katie Hudson, COME ON DOWN!
YOU'RE the next contestant on The Price Is Right!"
Showcase Showdown showdown
In 2008, a huge Price is Right fan named Terry Kniess was picked to "come on down" to Contestant's
He made it all the way to the Showcase Showdown, where he did something that nobody in the
show's history had done, before or since: He guessed the exact price of his prize package.
Taping stopped for almost an hour, as the producers and host Drew Carey were sure Kneiss
But he hadn't.
Instead, he had studied the show for years, and realized that many prizes were repeated.
So he memorized the prices of all the prizes and added them up in his head during his appearance.
As a result, he won both showcase prize pools, and the Price is Right changed their prize
structure to include more variance in price structure.
"You bid $23,743.
Actual retail price?
$23,743, you got it right on the nose."
Replacing a legend
Finding a replacement for Barker wasn't easy.
The search was so difficult, in fact, that he even offered to delay his retirement if
a new host couldn't be found in time.
Numerous stars secretly recorded mock episodes as host, including George Hamilton, Ian Ziering,
Mario Lopez, John O'Hurley, Antiques Roadshow host Mark Walberg, and former Double Dare
host Marc Summers.
Summers was Bob Barker's first choice as replacement, but after CBS chairman Les Moonves saw Carey
hosting the prime time game show Power of 10, he offered Carey the gig.
Too bad Adam Sandler didn't audition!
"The price is wrong, bitch!"
A BRAND NEW CAR!
As Benjamin Franklin once famously said, only two things in life are certain: Plinko and
And California takes their game show taxes very seriously.
They actually treat game show winnings as income, and contestants are required to pay
taxes on the spot before they can take their prizes home.
Luckily, many contestants also win money on the show in addition to prizes, so it's common
for them to pay taxes using their prize money.
And there's a bunch of red tape around that brand new car, too.
Winners don't drive home with their sweet ride.
Instead, the show sends them to a local dealership to coordinate delivery of the vehicle at a
dealership near the contestant's home - assuming they have already paid all those taxes and
registration fees first.
"It's your BRAND NEW CAR!"