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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|
|Music by||Edd Kalehoff|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||80|
|Production location||Television City Studios|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Production company||Mark Goodson Productions|
|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 premiered on September 12, 1994 and ran until January 27, 1995. This series was the third attempt by the production team at The Price Is Right to have an accompanying thirty-minute syndicated edition for the long-running, sixty-minute CBS daytime series, following a weekly series that ran from 1972 until 1980 and a daily series that ran for one season between 1985 and 1986.
The host for The New Price Is Right was actor Doug Davidson, who was famous at the time for his role as Paul Williams on the CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless. The show's announcer was Burton Richardson, who had previously served as the announcer for The Arsenio Hall Show, while Julie Lynn Cialini, Ferrari Farris, and Lisa Stahl were the three prize models.
Daytime series associate producer Kathy Greco was the executive producer for this syndicated series while Jay Wolpert, who had been involved in the daytime series during its early years, returned to serve as producer. Both series also shared personnel.
The New Price Is Right was a production of Mark Goodson Productions, and was distributed by Paramount Domestic Television. The program, like the daytime series, was taped at Television City in Los Angeles, California.
The New Price Is Right, unlike its syndicated predecessors, was not a carbon copy of the daytime series. In fact, the producers went to significant lengths to add different touches to what had largely been an untouched show format since 1975.
One of the most significant format changes for The New Price Is Right was the elimination of the long-standing One Bid game, which had been the way to determine who got to come on stage to play a pricing game. Instead, when an audience member was called to "come on down", that person was immediately brought on stage to play. A total of three pricing games would be played in one program, while the prior syndicated series offered four.
In keeping with a more modern theme, the set designers decided to eschew the bright colors used on the set for the daytime series in favor of using a black stage floor, darker lighting, more muted colors such as silver, purple and gold, a giant wall of video screens, and in some cases a revamp in presentation (see below).
As part of its desire to make the show more modern, as well as to appeal to a younger demographic, the producers made it a point to bring in prize models who were more youthful than those on the daytime series, who were all in their forties. The women they selected, all with connections to the then- hit television series and pop culture phenomenon Baywatch, were less than thirty years of age. Playboy Playmate Julie Lynn Cialini was the youngest of the three, at only twenty-four. Actress Ferrari Farris was the second oldest, coming in at twenty-seven. The oldest was model Lisa Stahl, who was twenty-nine. By comparison, the daytime series at the time was just starting to feature younger prize models; in addition to forty-plus year old Holly Hallstrom and Kathleen Bradley and fifty-plus year old Janice Pennington, the daytime Price Is Right brought in twenty-three year old Gena Lee Nolin for the 1994-95 season (it would not be until the 2000s when the daytime series started employing younger models on a regular basis).
Edd Kalehoff created an entirely new set of music cues, 286 in all, for the series. The traditional Price Is Right theme was used but, like almost everything else involved in the production, it also received an update; the theme was recorded with a faster tempo and a jazzier sound with a saxophone lead as opposed to synthesizers. While the show did not last long, some of Kalehoff's cues managed to find their way into the music played on the daytime series in the years that followed.
Like the previous syndicated editions, the producers of The New Price Is Right had a significantly larger prize budget to work with. They managed to take advantage of this to a significant level, such as offering more opulent prizes like expensive foreign cars (unlike the daytime series which at the time was strictly offering American makes). This even carried over to pricing games, as ones that traditionally used grocery items instead used merchandise prizes; in the cases of games that already used those prizes for pricing purposes, the values were increased as well.
Keeping with the theme that The New Price Is Right was different than its daytime counterpart, the series employed the Showcase Showdown to determine who played for the Showcase. No other thirty-minute TPIR series had done this before; in fact, the round was only introduced due to the original series' expansion to sixty minutes and the accompanying changes in its format. In all previous thirty-minute shows, the two contestants who won the most in their respective pricing games and One Bids played for the Showcase.
The producers, in another effort to separate their series from the daytime series, conceived a new Showcase Showdown game. The Price Was Right was a reworked version of the One Bid game from the daytime series and played in the same manner.
The three contestants from the day's pricing games stood at the foot of the stage behind lecterns. Davidson would then direct them to watch the big screen on stage, where a commercial from the past was played. The contestants then were asked how much they thought the item being advertised cost in the year the commercial aired, and the one of them who was closest to the actual value of the item without going over won the right to play the Showcase.
In the event that all three contestants gave guesses that were more than the value of the item, all three bids were erased and they were reminded of the lowest guess before trying again. There was also no bonus given if a contestant guessed the exact value of the item.
Some early episodes of The New Price Is Right used the traditional Showcase Showdown method of spinning "the mighty Price Is Right wheel", as Burton Richardson referred to it, instead of The Price Was Right; the research staff had not been able to find enough information on old commercials and products when production started.
The round was conducted as it was on the daytime series, but the highest winner spun the Big Wheel first. The contestant closest to one dollar after all three had spun won the right to play for the Showcase, and ties were broken with a spin-off. The contestants still won $1,000 for accumulating exactly one dollar and earned a bonus spin for up to $10,000 more.
Since there was only one contestant playing for the Showcase, the manner in which it was conducted was changed. Instead of placing a bid on it, as the original series did, the contestant played a modified version of the pricing game Range Game.
The game board used for the Showcase was a much larger version of the one used on Range Game, with a starting value of $10,000 at the bottom of the board and the top value set at $70,000. The hash marks on the range each represented an increase of $1,000.
During the commercial break leading out of the Showcase Showdown, the contestant was given a choice of seven random price ranges to choose from, ranging in value from $4,000 to $10,000. After the Showcase was presented to the contestant, Davidson would reveal the value of the range that he/she selected; this was represented by a rangefinder covering that amount, which was placed at the bottom of the range board.
The game then proceeded as a normal round of Range Game would, with the rangefinder climbing slowly up the board and the contestant watching it go. Once the contestant was certain that the value of the Showcase was covered by the rangefinder, he/she pulled a lever to stop it. The value of the Showcase was then revealed, and the contestant won the Showcase if it fell inside the selected range, in addition to anything else he/she won along the way.
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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 was sold to stations in a different manner than its 1985 syndicated predecessor had been. The distributor of the Tom Kennedy-hosted 1985 syndicated Price Is Right, The Television Program Source, included a condition in the contract for each station that bought the series; the condition stated that the stations could not place it in certain time slots. While the condition was designed to compel stations into airing the syndicated Price in Prime Time Access slots, the distributor was not counting on there being a glut of new programming available for local stations for the 1985-86 season; thus, the syndicated Price was unable to get the desired clearances in most major markets and often found itself airing in overnight time periods most programs do not desire to be in as these are traditionally low-rated.
Paramount did not include such a condition when it sold The New Price Is Right to local stations. As a result, the show could air at any time an affiliate desired. Some affiliates did carry TNPIR in Prime Access, while a few others opted for an earlier airing such as a late afternoon offering as a lead in to a newscast or other early evening programming. And although there was no connection between the series other than production, some New Price Is Right affiliates also carried a revamped Family Feud with a returning Richard Dawson as an accompanying series (Feud being distributed by Paramount Domestic Television's competitor All American Television).
Two of the primary station groups that bought the series initially were those owned by Paramount itself, through its Paramount Stations Group subsidiary, and United Television. In the latter case, Paramount has announced in 1993 that it was partnering with United to launch its own television network; this gave The New Price Is Right clearance in the two largest American media markets, as WWOR and KCOP were to be charter affiliates of the then-forthcoming United Paramount Network.
Despite the efforts of the producers, The New Price Is Right struggled in the ratings from the beginning. The radical changes did nothing to draw viewers in and with many other popular offerings in syndication at the time, this was not something the producers or station managers wanted to see.
Then, just as 1994 was coming to a close, Paramount was notified by United Television that they would be dropping The New Price Is Right after the new year from its stations that were carrying it. With the loss of its New York and Los Angeles affiliates, and with no station in either market willing to take it on, The New Price Is Right was now moribund and Paramount decided not to continue production. The last episode aired on January 27, 1995 in the markets still carrying it; despite the cancellation, the show still featured plugs for tickets to the show until the very end.
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.