An anonymous reader sent in this question about my favorite game show, The Price Is Right.
Any idea what happens to all those prizes that go un-won by contestants? Do they give them to charity or just throw them away? Or maybe the show’s staff gets to take them home sometimes.
Good guesses, but most of the prizes don’t even “belong” to The Price Is Right in the first place. They belong to the prize supplier (usually the manufacturer), so they do whatever they like with prizes that nobody wins. In some cases, the show does purchase prizes on its own, but those are generally the smaller prizes used to help contestants win the bigger prizes. So if the show’s staff gets to take anything home with them, it’s probably nothing bigger than a can of corn.
Other Frequently Asked Questions About The Price Is Right
How do I go from being an ordinary person to a contestant on The Price Is Right?
The process is pretty simple, but you’ll still need a lot of luck to make it to Contestants’ Row.
- Make sure you’re eligible. The primary eligibility requirement for appearing on The Price Is Right is age. You must be at least 18 years old. Other than that, anyone can sit in the audience, even citizens of other countries.
- Get tickets. You can obtain free tickets to sit in The Price Is Right audience either online, by mail, or in person. The game’s CBS website has information on obtaining tickets as well as available air dates.
- Bring along the necessary documentation. Other than your ticket, you’ll also need proof of identification and social security number (for tax purposes). Forget any of these three items and you won’t have a chance of appearing in Contestants’ Row.
- Go to the taping. You’ll have to pay your own way to Hollywood. Arrive very early the day of the taping. You’ll get a name tag and an ID number, and eventually you’ll be pulled for a quick interview with a member of the show’s staff.
- Give it your all. During your interview, it’s important to be excited. But be careful of coming off as “fake.” Generally people who are naturally excited and happy will be the ones that the producers select for Contestants’ Row.
- Enjoy the show. With a bit of luck, you’ll be one of the nine audience members who make it to Contestants’ Row. Don’t hold your breath–the studio holds 325 people who are just as eager as you to spin the big wheel!
I just won a car/jacuzzi/player piano on The Price Is Right. How do I get it home?
The show ships all prizes to your home. They cover the shipping costs. If you live outside the United States, you’ll need to provide a U.S. shipping address such as a customs agent. You are responsible for shipping charges outside the U.S.
Do I have to pay taxes on any money or prizes I win?
You don’t have to, just like the IRS doesn’t have to throw you in jail for not paying your taxes (but they’ll do it anyway). Yes, you must pay taxes on your winnings. If you win cash, the producers will typically deduct local taxes from that amount and give you a check for the difference. If you win a prize, you’ll get a 1099 and either have to pay the taxes yourself or forfeit your prize. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot simply take the cash value of the prize. Car winners also pay their own vehicle tag and registration fees.
How much in cash and prizes has The Price Is Right given away?
Since it began airing in 1972, the show has given away more than $200 million worth of cash and prizes. That’s close to $6 million in prize winnings each year!
I’m planning a trip to Hollywood to sit in The Price Is Right audience. Any tips if I should make it down to Contestants’ Row?
My biggest tip for contestants comes into play during the first 30 seconds of each show. If you are called as one of the four opening contestants, there is no rule dictating which of the four positions you must take. When you watch the show, it seems that contestants generally fill in Contestants’ Row from left to right (or from right to left if you’re viewing the Row from the audience point of view). This is very, very stupid. You should always aim to take the right-most position (the left-most from the audience viewpoint). That is because the person on the far right bids last in the opening round, and bidding last gives a distinct advantage. Bonus tip: If someone beats you to the far-right spot, you can suggest that they move to the “correct” spot further to the left.
I’ve been on The Price Is Right once already. Am I eligible to attend again?
You can be in the audience as many times as you like. You may only appear in Contestants’ Row once in your lifetime.
Where does The Price Is Right get the “actual retail price” used for pricing games?
The prices of items used in the games usually come straight from the manufacturer. It’s quite likely that you’ll find the item at a cheaper price in stores. This may explain why contestants tend to severely underbid on expensive items.
Have another question about The Price Is Right? Ask Punny Money!