What Makes 'The Price Is Right' One of TV's Most Successful Shows?
Drew Carey with a "Price Is Right" contestant
When the current incarnation of "The Price Is Right" debuted on Sept. 4, 1972, the Watergate cover-up was just getting rolling, men were still landing on the moon, Jane Fonda was crossing over into enemy territory in North Vietnam, and not a single U.S. household was wired for cable. Bobby Fischer became world chess champion the week that "Price" first appeared on the public airwaves, and 11 Israeli athletes were taken hostage at the Olympic Games in Munich the day after its debut.
Everything in the world has changed since, but 7,901 episodes later, "The Price Is Right" is still on the air for one full hour every single weekday, still beckoning audience members to "come on down," still handing out new cars to ecstatic contestants, and still as popular and beloved as it was during the Nixon era.
"The Price Is Right" may well be one of the most successful shows in television history.
What is the lure of "The Price Is Right"? And what keeps fans coming back? Why do its bells and whistles continue to mesmerize while other shows and genres come and go? We paid a visit to the set on the occasion of its special Halloween episode to see if we could find out.
The crowds arrive early, and from the first, they are excited. Very excited. Knowing that it will be a Halloween-themed episode, many are in costume, even though it is early September. Sitting on long rows of metal benches spanning the outside of the Television City studios in Los Angeles, Calif., they can barely contain themselves as they crane their necks staring up at videos of great "Price" moments. Producer Mike Richards explains that the team makes sure the entire experience — from arrival at the studio gates to "Showcase Showdown," "feels like a ride."