The New Price Is Right (1994 game show)
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|The New Price Is Right|
|Created by||Bob Stewart|
|Developed by||Jonathan Goodson|
|Directed by||Andrew Felsher|
|Presented by||Doug Davidson|
|Narrated by||Burton Richardson|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||80|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Mark Goodson Productions, LLC|
|Distributor||Paramount Domestic Television|
|Original release||September 12, 1994– January 27, 1995|
|Related shows||The Price Is Right|
The New Price Is Right is a syndicated edition of the American game show The Price Is Right which aired from September 12, 1994 to January 27, 1995. Doug Davidson, who also appears on the CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless, hosted with Burton Richardson as the announcer. The prize models were Julie Lynn Cialini, Ferrari Farris and Lisa Stahl. Kathy Greco, then associate producer of the CBS version of The Price Is Right, served as this edition's producer while Jay Wolpert served as associate. The show was produced by Mark Goodson Productions and distributed by Paramount Domestic Television.
The New Price Is Right was the third attempt at a syndicated edition of the CBS daytime show, preceded by a weekly series that ran concurrently with the daytime series from 1972 until 1980 and a daily series that aired from 1985 until 1986. Like those two series, The New Price Is Right was thirty minutes in length as opposed to its parent series, which has been sixty minutes in length since 1975. Another similarity it shared with its predecessors in syndication was an increase in the prize budget as opposed to the daytime series. Despite the similarities, The New Price Is Right was designed to not be a strict copy of its parent series; to this effect, several changes were made to distinguish the series from the daytime Price Is Right.
After this version's cancellation, many of its concepts were adopted by European versions of the show. Various prop changes and rule modifications from this version, as well as many of the music cues, also carried over to the CBS daytime and prime time versions of the show. Additionally, several production members continued their involvement with The Price Is Right after this version's cancellation.
The New Price Is Right differed greatly from its parent show in several ways. The entire concept, which had not been radically modified since 1975, was given a significant update in an attempt to appeal to a younger generation. Davidson was at the time a popular actor on The Young and the Restless, and Burton Richardson had made his mark as the announcer for The Arsenio Hall Show. The show's models were much younger than those appearing at the time on The Price Is Right in daytime. Of the three models, Lisa Stahl was the oldest at the age of 29. By comparison, all three regular daytime Price Is Right models at the time were at least forty years old; Kathleen Bradley was 43, Holly Hallstrom was 44, and longest-tenured model Janice Pennington was 52.
There was also a larger prize budget for The New Price Is Right as there had been in the previous syndicated series. This series took it a step further than its predecessors had and not only applied it to the prizes up for grabs but also to the pricing games themselves; in games like Hole in One, which featured the contestants trying to correctly price grocery items, the show replaced the grocery items with merchandise prizes that were worth significantly more. Furthermore, The New Price Is Right did not limit itself to American-made cars in games that offered them like the daytime series was at the time.
One of the most significant changes involved the selection of contestants. Previous syndicated series began similarly to the daytime version, with four contestants being called to Contestants' Row to compete in a One Bid game, with the winner playing a pricing game on stage. The New Price Is Right conducted the proceedings differently. Each contestant called from the audience immediately came onstage to play a pricing game. Three pricing games were played per episode along with a Showcase Showdown.
Pricing game rule changes
Some pricing games on The New Price Is Right were played with slight modifications to the rules as played on the daytime version. Games which usually featured grocery products (i.e., Grand Game and Hole in One) were played using prizes generally valued less than $400 instead, and some games featured other rule changes.
- Barker's Markers: The name was changed to "Make Your Mark" the single time it was played on this version of the show, as Bob Barker was not the host of this version. This name was adopted on the daytime show in 2008 when Drew Carey became the host.
- Clock Game: The game was digitized, with no prop on stage for it, and the contestant was provided a $1,000 range in which to guess the price of each prize. The game frequently used prizes with four-digit prices. On some occasions a third prize was awarded as a bonus for winning (a rule change which was adopted on the daytime version in 2009).
- Hole in One: When an item was chosen, its price was immediately revealed and then placed in line if it was higher than the previous prize chosen. On the daytime version, the price flags are arranged in line according to the contestant's choice before the prices are revealed.
- Plinko: While the top prize remained the same at $5,000 per chip for a potential total of $25,000, two configurations of slots were utilized (one of which featured two $2,500 slots). The method of earning chips was also changed to a higher/lower pricing format with smaller prizes worth up to $400.
- Punch a Bunch: During some playings, Davidson pulled the slip out of the hole as soon as it was punched. The contestant then decided to keep the money or punch another hole. On the daytime show, the slips are not revealed until the contestant has made all of his or her initial punches.
- Superball: Instead of waiting until guessing all three small prizes before rolling the balls, the contestant rolled after each correct guess.
- 3 Strikes: The first number was lit at the beginning of the game and the number could repeat elsewhere in the price. Four chips representing the remaining numbers in the price were then placed into the bag with three strike chips. These rules were used for a brief period on the daytime show from 2008–2009.
The New Price Is Right became the first half-hour Price Is Right series to employ the Showcase Showdown to determine who would play for the Showcase at the end of the show. In the previous two syndicated editions, as well as on the daytime series before it expanded to sixty minutes, the two contestants who had won the most in their One Bids and pricing games automatically advanced to the Showcase.
However, lending to the overall theme of change that was present throughout the series, the production staff of The New Price Is Right conducted their Showcase Showdown in a much different manner.
The Price Was Right
The most frequently featured Showcase Showdown game was called "The Price Was Right", a modification of the One Bid featured on the daytime show.
The three contestants stood behind three lecterns at the foot of the stage (a modified Contestants' Row). Davidson introduced a vintage television commercial and provided the year the commercial aired. The three contestants then bid on what they thought the product advertised would have cost in the given year. After all three contestants made their bids, the price of the product was revealed and the closest to the actual price won the game and advanced to the Showcase.
Although it rarely happened, if all the contestants overbid, the same One Bid overbid rules applied. The bids would be erased and the contestants would be instructed to bid less than the lowest overbid amount. There was no bonus paid for an exact bid.
The Big Wheel
When tapings for the series began, the production staff was forced to alter its plans for the Showcase Showdown slightly. The original plan was for The Price Was Right to be the only game played to determine the Showcase participant, but the staff had not been able to find enough vintage commercials and product prices to use. Thus, some early episodes featured the traditional Showcase Showdown where the contestants spun The Big Wheel.
The contestants spun in order from highest to lowest winnings, as opposed to the daytime series which did the opposite, and the object remained to get as close to one dollar without going over. Reaching one dollar exactly still rewarded a contestant with $1,000 and a bonus spin for a chance at $10,000 more.
The New Price Is Right was the only edition of the American series to feature a single contestant instead of two in the Showcase. A single Showcase was offered, and the winner of the Showcase Showdown played a modified version of the pricing game Range Game to try and win it.
During the commercial break before the presentation of the Showcase, the contestant chose one of seven values at random, which ranged from $4,000 to $10,000 in $1,000 increments. After the Showcase was presented, a gameboard was revealed displaying a range of values from $10,000 to $70,000. The contestant's chosen range was announced, and a rangefinder covering that amount was placed at the bottom of the gameboard. The rangefinder then started climbing up the board, and the contestant pulled a lever to stop it when he or she believed that the total value of the Showcase was within the range. The value of the Showcase was then revealed. If it fell within the range, the contestant won the Showcase in addition to any other prizes he or she had won to that point.
The set differed drastically from that of the daytime show, featuring different color schemes and patterns for many of the set pieces, including the usage of a large video wall. Edd Kalehoff created an entirely new set of music cues, 286 in all, to replace the traditional "come on down" theme and prize music. The series used an up-tempo, smooth jazz-influenced re-recording of the daytime series' theme. The theme was later used in several international adaptations of this series, while a number of the prize cues found their way into the music library of the daytime show.
Two pilots were recorded on July 16 and 17, 1993. Davidson hosted the first, while KTLA news personality Mark Kriski emceed the second, with Bob Hilton announcing on both. When the series began, a montage of clips was played at the beginning of each show, including brief clips of the 1993 pilots and previous versions. A shorter clip sequence was used for the second half of the run, which used highlight clips from the series' run to that point.
The New Price Is Right premiered on September 12, 1994. Unlike the previous syndicated series, there was no requirement attached that the show could not air at certain times of the day for the stations that aired The New Price Is Right. This enabled the series to avoid the clearance problems that the 1985–86 syndicated Price Is Right, hosted by Tom Kennedy, went through; because of the codicil attached, the 1985 series found itself airing in late night on a large number of stations because, due to an increasingly crowded syndication market, the prime slots were filled. With no such restrictions on The New Price Is Right, stations were free to place it wherever they wished and some even opted to air it in daytime slots. In some markets, The New Price Is Right was paired with the veteran syndicated Family Feud, which for its seventh season saw a return of Richard Dawson as its host.
The series also benefitted from two connections linked to its distributor. In 1993, nearly a full year before the premiere of The New Price Is Right, Paramount announced that it would be partnering with Chris-Craft Industries, which owned a group of television stations it operated under the United Television banner, to launch a new television network, the United Paramount Network, in January 1995. Paramount, in turn, was able to sell The New Price Is Right to these stations. This gave the series clearance in the two largest television markets in the United States, as Chris-Craft owned WWOR-TV in New York and KCOP-TV in Los Angeles. At the time, Paramount itself operated several stations under its Paramount Stations Group subsidiary; while not a particularly large station group at the time, Paramount did own large market stations in Philadelphia (WTXF) and the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex (KTXA) and was able to place TNPIR on those stations.
In spite of all of this, The New Price Is Right struggled to find an audience. The series was never able to find any sort of ratings footing and by midseason, Chris-Craft pulled The New Price Is Right from all of its stations just before the new year. With its two largest affiliates now gone, the ratings bottomed out and Paramount canceled the series shortly thereafter. On January 27, 1995, The New Price Is Right aired its eightieth and final episode; at sixteen weeks it proved the shortest running of all the syndicated Price productions.
This version, along with the 1972–80 weekly syndicated series hosted by Dennis James and Bob Barker, is one of only two American versions of the program that were not rerun by GSN.