Cool for School? Price Is Right Hit Game Show For College Students

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The adage says everything old is new again. In the case of CBS’ venerable game show The Price Is Right, it’s also true that an older program remains young at heart. Over the past couple of years, the show has practically reinvented itself—and, in the process, attracted a new, youthful audience.

College crowds are flocking to The Price Is Right tapings in ever-increasing numbers, and the show has begun to reflect that new dynamic. And in the cyber domain, priceisright.com attracts the attention of a sizable—and strongly opinionated—18- to 22-year-old core of devotees.

Executive producer Mike Richards says the shift to this younger demographic is far from accidental. He sums up the reason for the show’s strength in that arena with two words: Drew Carey.

“Drew has an innate sense of himself and what people want,” Richards says. “He could have a conversation with any college kid. That’s why the college kids feel so comfortable with him. He’s not putting on airs. He doesn’t have to try to be their friend—he just is.”

When Carey came onboard three years ago to succeed Bob Barker, the iconic host of the show for the better part of four decades, Richards saw an opportunity to loosen the show’s approach by introducing newer games and cooler prizes.

“Drew’s into iPads, smartphones, all the things that college kids crave,” Richards says. “So we’ve integrated those upscale toys into our prize  selection and taken it to a new level. He loves giving these fantastic prizes to college kids. He feels that by giving them a car or a lot of cash, he’s giving them a break to help them along the way.”

Michael Ausiello, founder and editor-in-chief of TVLine.com, suggests another reason the show has reached a core college crowd. “It’s the ultimate nostalgic comfort food,” he says. “Students tune in and feel like they’re back in their living rooms playing along with their family.”

In fact, the show’s taken its youthful flirtation to an entirely new level. To date, there have been two Price Is Right spring break episodes and a back-to-school special produced specifically with that academic audience in mind.

“During the warm-up, I always ask, ‘Who’s here from college?’ ” Richards says. “The kids all go crazy. I tell them, ‘We’ve been on the air 39 years, or twice as long as you’ve been alive.’ And they all laugh because it’s true. We’re more like their dad than their contemporary.”

WHO KNEW?

MORE FACTS ABOUT TV’S LONGEST-RUNNING GAME SHOW

The Price Is Right originally was only a half-hour long; the show didn’t expand to an hour (or add the Showcase Showdown) until 1975.

• More than 2 million audience members have watched a taping of The Price Is Right in person, while 65,000 contestants have been told to “come on down!”

• The oldest contestants on the show were 99 years old—there have been two!—while the youngest were 18.

• The show has given away more than $250 million in cash and prizes—including more than 8,000 cars.

• The most expensive single prize ever offered: a $112,845 Tesla Roadster.

• The biggest winner in the daytime version of The Price Is Right won $147,517 in cash and prizes. The biggest winner in the primetime specials won a total of $1,153,908.

• The big wheel has been spun more than 60,000 times.

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Cool for School? Price Is Right Hit Game Show For College Students