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Why gameshows like 'The Price is Right' are gaining viewers

Drew Carey, host of THE PRICE IS RIGHT on the CBS Television Network.  Photo: Lisette M. Azar/CBS © 2014 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Drew Carey, host of THE PRICE IS RIGHT on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Lisette M. Azar/CBS © 2014 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Gameshows may seem retro, but they're gaining audiences here in the U.S. and abroad. Even shows like "The Price is Right," which have been on the air for decades, are gaining viewers. 

Mike Richards, executive producer of "The Price is Right," spoke with Take Two host Alex Cohen about the secrets to the show's success:

Not the most important question, but first off, how heavy is the wheel?

It is deceptively heavy. And if you watch our show carefully, people spin it for the first time and they go 'Wow it’s really heavy!'… Because it’s literally made of plywood. There’s no space-age composite in it. And what people don’t think about is that every number that’s on it has a different weight, so then we have to counterweight it to make sure that every square is the exact same weight so that it spins perfectly. 

What does it take to be a good gameshow host cause they make it seems so effortless but I’m sure it’s got to be hard.

‘Let’s Make a Deal’ and 'The Price is Right’ I think are the two hardest gameshows ever conceived conceived to host… Because, well ‘Price is Right’ there are 77 different pricing games.

And every other gameshow ever conceived, you prepped the contestant to come here, stand here, you rehearsed… We literally pluck these people out who have never been on television, they inevitably want to face the wrong way, they inevitably have no idea what’s going on, because all of a sudden, you know, they didn’t know they were going to be on TV that day. And then you’ve asked a host to be able to perfectly explain 77 games.

Why do you think ‘The Price is Right’ has been so successful for so many years now?

One, it’s an immaculately created format, created by Mark Goodson years and years ago. They came up with a show that has three wins just about every four minutes… Most gameshows go 55 minutes before there’s a win, we’re two deep within two minutes.

There are versions of the shows now in 37 different countries, is it fundamentally the same show?

It’s fundamentally the same. Every territory makes it a little bit different. The French version is a really interesting show. It kind of looks like ‘Price is Right’ but it’s very different in that the people all know that they’re coming down, so they kind of walk down… It’s more kind of an entertainment show than it is [a gameshow].

One of the things about the U.S 'Price is Right' is our prizes are insane because of the size of where the show airs and what our budget is for prizes… so they have to work the show a little differently because you can’t rely on three cars a show because those formats won’t withstand that budget-wise.