For many people, CBS' The Price Is Right has long been as much of a morning TV staple as the news, soap operas and cartoons. From Bob Barker's run to the Drew Carey era, the financially minded game show has captured the attention spans of every kind of viewer out there. For all the success that The Price Is Right has experienced here in the U.S., however, the show doesn't have nearly the same global syndication reach as other shows such as Wheel of Fortune. But why?
Host Drew Carey answered that Price Is Right question you didn't even know you were curious about during a recent appearance on the always fascinating podcast Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard, which is clearly hosted by Bless This Mess star Dax Shepard. No, it's not because big wheels roll better here. According to Carey, the American version of the show has simply gotten too fancy with its prizes. In his words:
I had a meeting with the president of Fremantle last night, because the season's about to start again. Fremantle is the company that licenses The Price Is Right to CBS, and they have shows all over the world and I was asking what other shows. Like, they do America's Got Talent, and Paris' Got Talent, Germany's Got Talent. It's their biggest show. But the problem they have with The Price is Right is our prizes now are so good. It's not just Rice-a-Roni. We really have good, amazing trips, great cars. The prizes are great. The other shows can't afford it. They used to be able to do, 'Yeah, we can give away some Rice-a-Roni and an area rug,' or whatever. But now, they want to do it like the American show, and they're like, 'Ah, we can't afford that because our budget's not big enough.' So it's hard to syndicate now.
There you have it, people. We as Americans are simply too opulent with our game show prizes, to the point where countries around the world have had to balk at crafting localized version of The Price Is Right. Not the most humble or humanitarian reason, to be sure, but I suppose there's still some pride to be had in this country's dedication to giving cars away on TV.
As longtime fans are well aware, The Price Is Right has always been loyal to some of its brands, and it's been a common enough occurrence for a pallet of Rice-a-Roni boxes to serve as a prize. (Getting a year's supply of any product on a game show has always fascinated me.) But as the years have gone by, many of the simpler prizes and collections have been usurped by much pricier options.
Plus, The Price Is Right has introduced primetime specials into its regular lineup, and you know going primetime means the prizes need to be that much more impressive and extravagant. Which, in turn, makes it that much harder for another country to fund their own take on The Price Is Right. Currently, the reported list of countries with their own versions of the game show includes Argentina, Bulgaria, Vietnam, Portugal, and Lebanon. (I wonder if it's easier to pay for trips to European and Asian countries when your show is actually based there.)
Drew Carey had a lot of fun stories to tell and insights to dish out during his Armchair Expert appearance. He talked about the Price Is Right contestant whose bids all included "420" in them, because weed jokes. As well, he revealed the problem with trying to play Let's Make a Deal in Las Vegas. It turns out literally everyone takes the guaranteed $40 without caring about what's behind any numbered doors, since guaranteed money means gambling.
The Price Is Right airs in syndication on CBS every weekday morning, so check your local listings to see what times it plays in your area.