The Reason ‘Price Is Right’ Doesn’t Air Much Outside Of The U.S.


Drew Carey was on this week’s Armchair Expert podcast with Dax Shepard, and honestly, all I wanted to hear about was behind-the-scenes gossip about The Price is Right. Carey, however, spent most of the episode talking about his earlier career, about The Drew Carey Show, and about how much he enjoyed working with Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie, and Wayne Brady on Whose Line Is It Anyway?

Speaking of Wayne Brady, Carey did have a fun story about how Brady — who hosts the Let’s Make a Deal revival — tried to play Let’s Made a Deal in Vegas, but it completely failed. Why? Because when he offered people $40 or “what’s behind box number 2” in Vegas — where contestants were often broke — they always took the $40, no matter how much cajoling he tried to do to convince them that something better could be found underneath box number 2.

Carey did, however, eventually turn to The Price Is Right, where he shared a story about a contestant who once bid $1 million on his showcase showdown. He also spoke about the “420 Bob” guy, a contestant who bid 420 on every single item because making a weed reference was more valuable to him than the washer and dryer he might have won. He also spoke about how replacing an icon like Bob Barker makes him work even harder at his job, because — he reasoned — if The Price is Right can survive without Bob Barker, it sure as hell can survive without him.

Carey also noted that there are 75 games on the show, that he has to explain the rules to all the games to the contestants, and that he has no cue cards, no TelePrompTer, and no device in his ear. Carey does it all from memory. And he does 190 episodes a year — sometimes 3 in a day (which are 16 hour days). He’s also done 2000 episodes over 12 years, which is staggering.

The most interesting detail he dropped, however, is this: The Price is Right is one of the oldest game shows in America. It’s been around since 1956, but Freemantle — the production company that owns it — has a lot of problems syndicating it outside of America. Freemantle, which also owns America’s Got Talent, has versions of that show in dozens of countries. But The Price is Right? According to Wikipedia, it’s only presently airing in 5 countries: Vietnam, Portugal, Lebanon, Bulgaria, and Argentina?

Why? It’s simple, really? “The problem they have with The Price is Right,” Carey tells Shepard, “is that our prizes are so good — it’s not just Rice-A-Roni, we have amazing trips and great cars, the prizes are great — that other shows can’t afford it. They used to be able to get away with Rice-A-Roni and an area rug, or whatever, but now they want to do the American show, but they can’t afford it because their budget is not big enough, so it’s hard to syndicate.”

That makes sense. After all, 20 years ago, the “420, Bob” guy had to bid a whopping $1,420 at one point just for the opportunity to win the bigger prizes. In 2013, one contestant out of the 1,140 contestants a year went home with $175,000 in cash and prizes. Over the course of a year, that can add up very quickly.

(Via Armchair Expert)


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