I’ve actually had the chance to go to the Price is Right twice. One was in the mid 2000s with a friend. The second time was just recently in January 2019. I’ll discuss the second visit, as my memories are a lot clearer!
The Price is Right films at CBS Television City in Hollywood. The studio is appropriately named after Bob Barker.
When you get tickets for the Price is Right, they recommend parking at the adjacent Grove Shopping Center. They don’t validate parking, but as I had my parents and cousin with me, I figured it was an easy place to park. I believe it cost about $25 to park for the day. We walked through the Grove and Farmer’s Market over to CBS.
Once you enter and go through security, you enter an outdoor covered area with benches and go through a series of check-in points. First, they check your tickets. Then they have you sign a waiver. Next you get your name tag done, and they only allow legal first names. No matter the name you go by, they make you use your legal name. This was very frustrating and annoying to my dad, who has always used his middle name. I don’t know why they do this, but it’s not something they will budge on. There are a couple staff members who write the name tags, which also have a numbered sticker that you wear. Then you move further down and have a headshot taken.
After this you have time to visit the bathrooms and gift shop, before having the option to have your photo taken in front of a green screen, where they insert a backdrop of the set, available to purchase of course. Then you go in small groups (about 20) and form a line. One of the producers walks down the line and speaks to everyone personally. This is essentially an audition, and his assistant is taking notes using the numbers everyone is wearing. After this interview, you then go around the corner and go through another security checkpoint. This is also where you need to check your phone, if you have one with you.
Once you pass security, you are under another covered area with long benches. You line up here in order of your numbers, and wait… sometimes up to 2 hours. While we were waiting, we got to know the people around us. Everyone comes from different places, and has different stories, so don’t be afraid to talk to strangers! Also while waiting in this line, they showed us a previously taped episode to watch. A small canteen is set up that was selling drinks, snacks, and very over-priced cold pizzas.
Entering the Studio
When it was eventually time to go into the studio, you follow the group and go up a set of stairs, and then walk into the famous studio. The first thing you will notice how small it is compared to how it looks on TV. The studio is very colourful and there is music playing. You need to wait at the entrance, as someone comes walk you to seats. These aren’t assigned, but they definitely place people strategically. We were placed in the middle section in seats by the aisle. We had a great view of the entire stage. It took about 20 minutes to get everyone in and settled. People were up and dancing most of this time, until the show started.
Come On Down
The Price is Right starts and the crowd is SO hyped up and crazy, that you literally can’t hear anything. People go absolutely crazy. The noise is so loud that you can’t hear the names of people being called down to contestant row. You won’t see it on TV but there is actually someone on stage holding up giant cue cards with the names on them. For the first two segments of the show, the audience is standing and so loud that we couldn’t hear a thing. We couldn’t follow the games, we didn’t hear what Drew Carey or the contestants were saying, and barely knew where to look for the prizes. Fortunately, after that, the audience settled down a bit, took seats, and from an audience perspective, it became a lot more pleasant. We were able to see and hear what was going on after that.
While Drew Carey did not come out before the show, he did take time to speak to the audience during commercial breaks. He would talk to people using their names (guess those name tags help!) and make a lot of jokes. He is a comedian after all, with a rather captive audience. From all the shows I’ve been to, he seems like the most down-to-earth in the way he talks to the audience.
The show continued just as you see it on TV, with one exception. One contestant was called down partway through the episode, and I guess there was a technical issue. Later in the taping they told us they needed to refilm him being called down. They had to move the contestants around, and one who had already been on stage, had to go back to contestant row. She even had to put her sweater back on so she would look the same.
The End of the Show
The end of the show came and one contestant was a big winner with prizes and money. He celebrated on stage with his friends, and once the taping ended, Drew Carey thanked us all for coming and the show ended. We slowly exited the studio, and outside I had to claim my phone. After we walked around the building and back out of the gates to the street. We took a few photos and then headed back to the parking lot. We were eager to get to our Airbnb as we had flown in from the east coast that morning, and headed right to the show.
One funny item, in the parking garage we walked around to take photos of the LA skyline. On the side facing the CBS building, we looked down and saw a fenced in parking lot, and we realized it was where the prizes were kept for the Price is Right. There was numerous cars, a couple boats, and even a camper.
So now… the part everyone asks about! How do you get SELECTED to be on the show??? It is absolutely not random. They pick specific people. So the answer is basically to have fun and stick out. While the short interview with the producer is the main part, they are actually watching you right from when you enter the lot. All the staff are making notes and pointing out audience members to each other. Make sure your numbered sticker and name tag are visible the whole time. Don’t cover them up. When you get your photo done in front of the green screen, go big… jump, scream, whatever will make you stand out. Joke with the staff, but be friendly. Don’t come across as rude, as they won’t want that on TV.
During the interview, you are with about 20 other people, and the producer only speaks to you for a few seconds, so make the most of it. Be loud, obnoxious, crazy, whatever it takes. They are NOT looking for calm people, and considering he speaks to the entire audience of 300 people, calm won’t cut it. I hate to say that they pick genuine people instead of those who are faking it, but the truth is, they just want good TV. The producers want moments, and so if you need to act totally fake to get noticed, do it.
The Selections Don’t Stop
Once the audience is seated in the studio, the producer and his assistant come out on stage to observe how people are acting. They have a list of people to watch for, so keep your energy up the whole time. If you catch their attention outside, but then they see you sitting sitting quietly, you may have blown your shot. Keep up that energy right until the last contestant is called.
Unfortunately, my family and I didn’t get selected. We did everything right, we wore personalized ‘The Price is Right” shirts, we chatted and joked with the staff, we danced and jumped around. The producer somehow knew we were from Ottawa before he spoke to us (perhaps he was tipped off?) During each show, they only call 9 people out of an audience of 300, so there is no way to guarantee you will be called down. All you can do is be full of fun and energy, and enjoy your time. My suggestion is to not go expecting to be called down. While it may be a slim possibility, just go to have an extremely fun time at this legendary show. If that is your goal, you’ll leave as a winner! And don’t forget to have your pets spayed and neutered.