20 Wild ‘The Price Is Right’ Facts That People Watching At Home Don’t Get To See On TV

From the instant it debuted, The Price is Right had a winning concept. Contestants didn’t need to know obscure trivia or exude physical prowess — they just had to have gone shopping a few times. Anyone could compete, and this was how the daytime game show earned 5 million viewers daily.

Still, while audiences dreamed of winning cars and showcases, few people asked about how the show operated. Curiosity got the better of us, however, so reader, come on down! You are the next contestant to get a sneak peek behind the scenes of The Price is Right!

1. On a typical day, about 40 shiny new cars sit in The Price Is Right studio lot in Los Angeles, California. When you give out, like, four new cars every weekday morning, you have to be prepared.

Monty Brinton / CBS

2. How many different games on The Price is Right can you name? Because the show airs five days a week, producers have created over 70 games to cycle through and keep episodes fresh.

Monty Brinton / CBS

3. Only 10 Plinko chips exist. Five are used for the iconic game itself, and five are stored in a lock box as backups. So the odds of contestants taking one home as a little keepsake are nonexistent.

Mayo Arts

4. Winners fill out paperwork forever. Then they wait for the show to ship them their prizes (you don’t actually get to walk out the door with them). If you won a car, you have to go to a dealership to pick it up. If it doesn’t have the model, you wait until it does.

The Price is Right / CBS

5. To be a contestant, you wait in line for hours outside Bob Barker Studios; then, you and 9 others are led to a producer; the producer asks each potential contestant one question and selects those that provide energetic and sincere answers.

6. Potential contestants often offer Stan Blits, below, the producer in charge of selecting contestants for the show, bribes. A man of high integrity, he turns them all down.

Stan Bilts / Facebook

7. Hosts Bob Barker and Drew Carey carry an iconic, almost comically thin microphone on air — and for good reason. Producers believe this is less intimidating to nervous contestants than a big, fat microphone.

8. The biggest prizes The Price is Right offers are those showcases comprised of cars, trips, kitchen sets, and more, worth around $25,000. The biggest winner in the show’s history, Adam Rose, took home $1,153,908 during The Price Is Right Million Dollar Spectacular.

The Price is Right / CBS

9. The Price is Right features games where contestants guess the prices of everyday household products. To keep pricing consistent — groceries sell for different prices in every store, after all — the show bases numbers on a group of California retailers.

The Price is Right / CBS

10. Uncle Sam considers the show’s prizes — both cash and otherwise — as taxable income. Winners must file tax returns for California where the show shoots, which often leads to contestants just declining the prizes altogether. Talk about a punch to the gut!

Happy Gilmore

11. The Price Is Right debuted the big wheel back in 1975 as means to catapult contestants into the Showcase Showdown. Producers wanted a wheel in the show because a competitor, the also-beloved Wheel of Fortune, had one.

The New York Times

12. Contestant Terry Kniess — who meticulously studied the game show and memorized the values of various items — placed a perfect bid of $23,743 dollars on his showcase. Producers thought he cheated, as no one had ever placed a perfect bid before, and stopped filming for hours to investigate.

The Price is Right / CBS

13. Bob Barker once had a thick, dark mane of hair, but over time it turned grey. Producers asked him to dye his hair — there was no room on daytime television for grey hair, they said. Barker had to get permission to eventually stop using dye.

14. Bob Barker first decided to go grey when he went on vacation and briefly stopped dyeing his hair. People actually complimented the grey locks! Oddly enough, the show’s ratings improved when Barker debuted the new look.

15. Some game shows allow winners to accept the cash value of prizes won rather than the prize itself. The Price is Right is different. If you win a boat — even if you live in a landlocked city — you’re taking home a boat or nothing at all.

The Price is Right Files

16. Those who’ve witnessed tapings of the show say, during downtime when the cameras stop rolling, Drew Carey will perform little jokes or dances to keep the crowd entertained.

17. CBS interviewed George Hamilton, John O’Hurley, Mario Lopez, and Marc Summers — and ignored Barker’s endorsement of Rosie O’Donnell — before choosing Drew Carey to replace Bob Barker after his retirement.

18. In 1976, announcer Johnny Olson called Patricia Bernard down to the stage…except she wasn’t in the audience. She was in the bathroom, so her husband had to run and get her! Barker said this was one of the funniest moments in the show’s history.

19. Over its decades-long run, the show has given away over 8,550 vehicles and $600 million in cash. In his time as host, Bob Barker received an estimated 22,000 kisses from elated female contestants

20. The Price is Right debuted on CBS on September 4, 1972. Over five decades, the show aired over 8,000 episodes and became the longest-running series of any kind on American network television, winning eight Emmys along the way.


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