Oprah gets a lot of credit for giving away extravagant prizes to her audience — “You get a car! YOU get a car!” — but on the long-running game show “The Price is Right,” someone wins a car nearly every day.
“We’ve given away a lot more cars than Oprah! Her favorite things episode, that’s what ‘Price is Right’ is every day,” executive producer Mike Richards tells Zap2it backstage at an April taping of the daytime staple. “What we aspire to have is what we have on the show — even down to the washer/dryer, that’s the one I want to have in my house and that’s what the whole show is. It’s about us showing you things that are super cool.”
The show, now hosted by Drew Carey, hits its milestone 8000th episode on Monday (April 7). Richards has worked on the show for several years now, but hitting a number as outrageous as that seems normal until you look at it from the outside.
“It’s one of those things where we’re in the middle of it, so it’s not until you take a step away that you go, ‘This is really weird,'” he says. “We were talking about something and went ‘We won’t deal with that until Season 43.’ But you just say that out loud and it sounds insane! I think we’re going through it and trying to make the show as good as it can be every day, but then when you go and have milestones like show 8000, you go ‘That’s ridiculous.'”
There’s a clip that will run in the episode of original host Bob Barker announcing that it’s his 1000th episode. “He’s like, ‘That’s a lot of shows! I can’t really believe it.’ There’s this feeling of, ‘Wow, we made it to 1000 shows. No one has 1000 shows.’ Then by the 5000th show he’s like ‘It’s our 5000th show. Here we go! Of course it’s our 5000th show.'”
But just because the show has been around for 43 years doesn’t mean enthusiasm is waning. In fact, Richards thinks it’s the exact opposite. “I think people are getting more and more excited about it,” he says. “The longer it’s on, the fact that we keep improving it, making the prizes insane, that just shows that we’re continuing to make it relevant, that we’re not middle-aged. We’re the young, hip 43-year-old that you want to hang out with, not the older one.”
While the show gives out insane prizes every day — tens of thousands of dollars in cash, cars and other assorted cool things — Richards doesn’t get over how awesome it is to watch someone win.
“Can you imagine? Show up, bedazzle a T-shirt, win $100,000 for knowing the price of deodorant. That’s what’s so perfect about the show — that can happen. Everyone knows that it’s just people who show up and they can win a car. I never get over that. I was just watching yesterday and somebody won a car. She was young, she was like 25. We were done, and she was looking at Gwen, one of our models, and she was like, ‘I just won a car? What? So you’re going to give me a car?’ We do it all the time. We gave away like three or four cars yesterday. It was crazy.”
“The Price is Right” airs weekdays at 11 a.m. ET/PT on CBS.