AP Entertainment Writer
The game show that made famous the phrase “Come on down!” is coming on down to you.
“The Price Is Right” is hitting the road, putting the game show on wheels and making 50 stops on a coast-to-coast tour for anyone who can’t make the trip to the Los Angeles studio.
“It’s kind of an exciting way for us to take something that’s really an important part of CBS’ legacy and do something new and fresh with it,” said Mike Benson, president and chief marketing officer at CBS.
The “Come On Down Tour” — separate from the TV show or live stage shows — will kick off Friday at the Santa Monica Pier and will make stops in such cities as Denver, Dallas, New Orleans, Nashville and St. Louis.
Fans will be able to win prizes by guessing the correct retail price for various items in such games as Plinko and compete in a Showcase Showdown. There’s also a chance to win a grand prize of $50,000. Proof of vaccination is necessary.
A customized trailer that can fold up the games will be on the move. The game show’s famous wheel is part of the truck, but other parts pull out, along with podiums. “We really wanted people to feel like they could come on down and play the game that they all really know,” said Benson.
Each stop will also try to celebrate local goods and specialties, with Benson saying “people can have fun guessing the prices of things that are made right there in their own backyard.”
It’s part of plans for the longest-running game show in television history to celebrate its 50th season.
Host Drew Carey, who will be at the kick-off in Santa Monica, said one of the ways “The Price Is Right” has lasted so long is that it can change yet keep the same focus. Over the years, the prizes have been updated, new games have been added and there’s been the introduction of male models alongside the women.
“I think that’s the great thing about the show. It’s able to, within a framework, evolve,” he said. “There’s a lot of old houses where you remodeled the kitchen and remodeled the living room, and it’s still the same house.”
“The Price Is Right” made it’s debut on NBC in 1956, with Bill Cullen as host and consisting of four people bidding auction-style on items. The show was canceled in 1965, but the current version was revived in 1972 at CBS, with Bob Barker as host.
Carey has been the host for the last 15 years and says it’s easy not to notice small updates: “When you’re here every day, all the changes are so gradual. It doesn’t really hit you. Like, all of a sudden you look in the mirror and you have gray hair.”
Since 1972, producers say over $300 million in cash and prizes has been given away. More than 2 million audience members have attended a taping over those years and 68,000 of them have become contestants. More than 8,400 cars have been given away. The show is currently produced by Fremantle.