For four decades, CBS has anchored the 11 a.m. weekday lineup a glitzy, proudly cheesy game show that has bestowed our culture with the legendary line, “Come on down! You’re the next contestant on ‘The Price is Right’!”
Now the show is coming on down to Atlanta Wednesday, October 3,
the Fox Theatre as part of its first live road trip, featuring Emmy-winning game show host Todd Newton.
“The Price is Right Live” is not televised but replicates many of the elements of the real game, including the chipper music, the pricing games, the female models and the prizes. The live version, which debuted in Reno, Nev. a decade ago in a 200-seat theatre, has now expanded to a permanent show in Las Vegas, a version in Branson, Mo. and this traveling road show.
“It’s authentic,” Newton says. “We are produced by the same people who do the TV show. They put the same love and detail in every set piece.”
The Big Wheel seen midway through the show, in which contestants get two spins to get as close to one dollar as possible, looks and feels identical – except it’s 89 percent to scale. If it were any bigger, it wouldn’t fit in the moving truck, Newton says.
Newton, who hosts “Family Game Night” on the cable channel the Hub, said former “Price is Right” host Bob Barker (who retired in 2007 after 35 years) is his mentor. The pair had lunch recently. “He has spent countless hours helping me master my craft,” Newton says, including how to connect with every contestant and appreciate how special the moment is for them.
There are minor differences from the TV show. For instance, every round brings in new contestants. (On CBS, they rotate in only one newbie per round and winners from each half compete in the final Showcase.) And players aren’t pre-selected. Anybody who buys a ticket and registers has a shot to go on stage. And the show runs 75 to 90 minutes, longer than the CBS hour-long program.
At each stop, the producers have dozens of games to choose from. Only one is guaranteed to show up Wednesday night because it’s the most requested: Plinko. For the unitiated, its similar to the Japanese pinball-like game Pachinko. Contestants drop round Plinko chips from the top of a big board with dozens of pegs deflecting the path of the chip as it goes down until it lands in a spot with a dollar amount on the bottom.
“It’s an easy game,” Newton says, “but also an exciting game.”
“The Price is Right Live”
7:30 p.m., Wednesday, October 3. $42.50 to $67.60 (after fees). Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. 1-855-285-8499, www.foxtheatre.org.
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk