- Network: CBS
- Series Premiere Date: Sep 4, 1972
- Starring: Johnny Olson, Dian Parkinson, Janice Pennington
The Price Is Right has long been a staple of daytime and nighttime television. It has seen five incarnations: the 1956-1965 daytime version hosted by Bill Cullen on NBC and ABC, the 1972-1980 nighttime version hosted by Dennis James and Bob Barker, the 1985 nighttime version hosted by TomThe Price Is Right has long been a staple of daytime and nighttime television. It has seen five incarnations: the 1956-1965 daytime version hosted by Bill Cullen on NBC and ABC, the 1972-1980 nighttime version hosted by Dennis James and Bob Barker, the 1985 nighttime version hosted by Tom Kennedy, the 1994-1995 nighttime version hosted by Doug Davidson, and the current daytime version hosted by Barker and Drew Carey. This guide covers the current daytime version.
The object of The Price Is Right is to correctly guess the retail prices of items, without going over, to either win the items themselves or other prizes.
At the beginning of each show, the announcer calls out the names of four contestants, imploring each to "come on down!" A prize is announced for which each contestant (one at a time) makes a bid (called the One Bid). After the host announces the actual retail price, the contestant who bid closest without going over is invited on stage to play a pricing game for a larger prize. If a contestant's bid is exactly correct, he/she wins a $500 bonus (on the Armed Forces and $1,000,000 Spectacular Specials, the bonus for an exact bid is $1000).
Frequently, during Barker's tenure as host, an animal would be brought out on stage by one of the models during the One Bid prize plugs. Barker would then comment that the pet was availale for adoption at an area animal shelter. He also encouraged viewers to visit their local humane society.
Pricing game prizes often include cars (American cars only since circa 1992), trips, rooms of furniture, cash, and various other items. Furs were also given away during the early years, but this practice was dropped per Barker's wishes due to his involvement with animal-rights issues. The episodes that offer furs as prizes will likely never be seen again as Barker continues to fight against their re-airing. There were over 100 total individual pricing games with 75 in the current rotation. Some games involved pricing grocery or small, everyday items. Others involved chance, deduction, skill and/or patience. Many games quickly became very popular. Contestants chomp at the bit to play such entries as Plinko, Ten Chances, Cliff Hangers, Any Number, Grocery Game, Range Game, Race Game, and many others. While each of the pricing games uses only one player, there was one game (known by fans as Bullseye 2) which used two players. This game, which was retired during the first season, had the players alternating bids on a car or boat, and the first to guess the price exactly won. The second contestant was determined by immediately playing another One Bid.
Some pricing games have been retired. The reasons include frequent mechanical malfunctions, complicated rules, low odds of winning, and negative responses from viewers. Pictures, audio files, and videos of most of the retired pricing games can be seen on various fan pages on the World Wide Web.
After each pricing game is played (except for the final game of the day), one more contestant is called from the audience to "come on down," and another One Bid item is shown for another chance to play a pricing game. Until the fourth season, the two contestants with the highest winnings after all three pricing games had been played went to the Showcase round. Two showcases (prize packages worth several thousand dollars) are shown, one at a time. After the first showcase is revealed, the top winning contestant has the choice to bid on the showcase or pass it to his/her opponent and force him/her to bid. The contestant coming closest to the actual retail price of his/her own showcase without going over wins their showcase. Originally, the contestant could win only his/her showcase. Early in the show's run, a stipulation was added stating that if a contestant's bid came within $100 of his/her showcase's actual retail price, they'd win everything in both showcases. In 1998, the stipulation was modified, and, now, winning contestants who are $250 or less away from the actual retail price of their showcase win both showcases.
For the week of November 3-7, 1975 the show expanded from 30 to 60 minutes, following a successful week of experimental hour-long shows the week of September 8-12. A new round called the Showcase Showdown was added. After three contestants have played their pricing games, each has the chance to spin a large wheel called "The Big Wheel." The order of spinning is determined by each contestant's winnings with the player having won the least going first and the player having won the most going last. The Big Wheel contains 20 spaces with numbers in increments of five cents (not in order). Each contestant gets up to two spins in an attempt to get as close to $1.00 without going over. If he/she does not have $1.00 after the first spin, the contestant can choose to spin again to get closer to $1.00 or stop at their current score with the hope that the other contestants will either score lower or go over $1.00. Getting $1.00 exactly earns the contestant a $1000 bonus. Going over $1.00 automatically disqualifies the contestant from going any further. A one-spin spin-off is held if there is a tie between two or all three contestants. If the first two contestants go over $1.00, the third player automatically advances to the Showcase but is still entitled to one spin. After the first Showcase Showdown of each show, three more pricing games are played, followed by the second Showcase Showdown.
When the Showcase Showdown was first introduced, during the experimental hour-long week, the wheel spun sideways, and there was no $1000 bonus. When the hour-long show became permanent on November 3, 1975, the $1000 bonus was added, and the current wheel debuted. Beginning in June, 1978, contestants scoring $1.00 were now allowed to spin again in an attempt to win an additional $5000 for hitting one of the green sections above or below the $1.00 space (five and 15 cents) or $10,000 for hitting the $1.00 space. During the prime time specials that first aired in 2002, contestants that hit $1.00 during the bonus spin win $100,000. During the $1,000,000 Spectacular specials airing in 2003, this bonus was increased to one million dollars. The winners of each Showcase Showdown (two per show) advance to the Showcase round.
Numerous other changes have taken place through the years, and several prime time specials have aired. The Price Is Right's 5000th episode aired in March, 1998 at which time the studio at CBS's Television City where the show is shot was renamed the Bob Barker Studio. Also, the set and some of the pricing game boards went through numerous minor changes due to inflation or to give it a modern look.
The bloopers that have occurred on The Price is Right are among the most celebrated in television history. In early 1976, a woman called to Contestant's Row was in the ladies' room. Her husband had to leave the studio to tell her she'd been called. At the beginning of an episode early in the sixth season, a woman's tube top slipped down as she was running toward Conestant's Row. Also during that season, a woman fainted when she learned she won her showcase ($11,000 in prizes). Other bloopers include cars with malfunctioning brakes and other prizes which give way at the wrong time. Usually, one of the models is often a victim of these unfortunate mishaps (such as Janice Pennington and Rachel Reynolds hitting the wall with the car they are revealing for the Lucky $even pricing game). Many pricing games have malfunctioned at one time or another. Many contestants spinning the Big Wheel spin it so hard that they fall to the floor.
There have been a fair share of contestants who claim to or actually don't understand how to play a given game. The most notable is the Check Game (where the contestant writes in an amount that when added to the actual retail price of a prize must total between $5000 and $6000. In addition, one game was victimized by a cheater on the April 4, 2005 playing of Flip Flop (where a contestant is presented a string of two sets of two numbers, representing an incorrect price, and must correct one or both sets to win a prize). The contestant, after receiving input from the audience, pressed the reveal button without making any changes. Barker awarded the contestant the prize anyway, although many fans believe the player should have been disqualified.
Some contestants eventually became celebrities - Vanna White in particular. She was called to "come on down" in June, 1980, but did not get out of Contestant's Row. Other future stars include Rick Schroeder and Linda Cardellini.
Main Title Theme Song
"The Price Is Right Theme" by Edd Kalehoff
CBS Broadcast History
September 4, 1972 - March 23, 1973 .... Monday - Friday at 10:30 AM - 11:00 AM
March 26, 1973 - August 15, 1975 .... Monday - Friday at 3:00 PM - 3:30 PM
August 15, 1975 - November 28, 1975 .... Monday - Friday at 10:30 AM - 11:00 AM
November 3, 1975 - March 25, 1977 .... Monday - Friday at 10:00 AM 11:00 AM
March 28, 1977 - November 4, 1977 .... Monday - Friday at 10:30AM - 11:30 AM
November 7, 1977 - December 16, 1977 .... Monday - Friday at 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
December 19, 1977 - April 20, 1979 .... Monday - Friday at 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
April 23, 1979 -present .... Monday - Friday at 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Emmy Awards Nominations
Outstanding Host in a Game Show or Audience Participation Show
1975 - Bob Barker
Outstanding Game Show Host
1979 - Bob Barker
1982 - Bob Barker (winner)
1985 - Bob Barker
1986 - Bob Barker
1987 - Bob Barker (winner)
1990 - Bob Barker (winner)
1991 - Bob Barker (winner) 1992 - Bob Barker (winner) 1993 - Bob Barker 1994 - Bob Barker (winner) 1995 - Bob Barker (winner) 1996 - Bob Barker (winner) 2000 - Bob Barker (winner) 2002 - Bob Barker (winner) 2003 - Bob Barker 2004 - Bob Barker (winner) 2005 - Bob Barker 2007 - Bob Barker (winner) Outstanding Game Show Host/Hostess 1984 - Bob Barker (winner) 1988 - Bob Barker (winner) Outstanding Game Show 1976 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 (winner) 1989 1990 1992 1993 1994 1995 Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Show 2002 2003 2004 (winner) 2005 2007 (winner) 2008 Outstanding Technical Direction/Camera/Video for a Miniseries or a Special 1997 - The Price Is Right 25th Anniversary Primetime Special… Expand
- Genre(s): Game Show
- Season 4 premiere date: Sep 1, 1975
- Episode Length: 60
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