"The Price Is Right"
warehouse is filled with treasures worth over 50 million dollars.
Tonight, you'll see an endless amount of unique valuables from a prehistoric
skeleton to one of the world's most expensive cars to shoes worn by
Oprah Winfrey. Everything here will have our contestants and all of
America asking one question which is...
It's Worth What?
AIR DATES: July 19, 2011 to September 12, 2011
CREATOR: Merv Griffin Entertainment
PACKAGER: Merv Griffin Entertainment/Zoo Productions
HOST: Cedric the Entertainer
WATCH IT HERE: DailyMotion
Anyone can take a wild guess as to the
price of a cell phone or hot tub or trip to Belize or a new car and
win it on "The Price Is Right". But the men and women behind
Merv Griffin's legacy decided to take it to a whole new level. Countless
rare items were brought in from all over the world and a team of two
had to play different TPiR-style games with them. But they weren't
there to win those prizes; they were there to win up to a million
dollars. And the question that was asked by everyone watching when
an item's appraised price was announced was, "It's Worth WHAT?!?"
Hence, obviously, the title. It also gave Cedric the Entertainer a
little experience before being asked to host "Millionaire"
for a year. Not ENOUGH experience, granted, but...
HOW WAS IT PLAYED?
ROUND 1 - WHAT'S WORTH MORE?
The team is shown two unique and vaguely-connected items (like an
"elephant-sized" diamond necklace and an actual elephant)
and must decide which one is worth more. Upon picking, the host will
ask, "You sure?". He'll then ask, "You SURE sure?".
If the team says they are, the choice is locked (this is how every
game works). If what they chose is worth more, the team banks $5000.
ROUNDS 2 THROUGH 6-7.
Different pricing games are played each show. Most ask the team to
choose which of various items is most expensive. For example, "Who
Buys That?" shows three outrageous items and asks the team to
choose which is the most expensive. In "Nice Pair", two
items are shown and the team must pick the right COMBINED price out
of a list of three or four. With "Property Line", the team
must place three different pieces of real estate in order from low
to high to win. Each game is worth money in the team's bank, from
$5000 to $30,000, increasing throughout the show. Regardless of how
many games are played, the team can bank a maximum of $100,000.
FINAL ROUND - IT'S WORTH MORE!
The team is shown four collectable items and then four more which
represent the "house". The team must arrange the first four
so that each one costs more than each of the "house" items
(it's possible one item is more expensive than ANY of the "house"
items, but there's only one way ALL the items can be arranged so that
EACH one is paired with a "house" item that's less expensive).
After the paris are locked in, the team picks one pair. If the item
placed is more expensive than the "house" item, the team
can choose to leave with the money in their bank or risk it for more.
A second match of items doubles the initial bank. A third re-doubles
it and, if all four pairs are correct, the team leaves with ten times
their initial bank, or up to $1,000,000. The team can quit at any
time after a correct match. If, at any point, a paired item is LESS
expensive than the "house" item, the team only earns one-quarter
of their original bank.
A lot of room on the actual gaming floor for the items, a simple TV
to show the items and their prices...and a rather neat "nixie-tube"-style
scoreboard. That's all you really need for this kind of show. And
the set designers NAILED it...for the most part (more on that later).
When you get down to brass tacks, this was a very simple show. Much
like TPiR, the games could be won on sheer luck as much as actual
knowledge...and even MORESO because...c'mon, how many regular people
actually KNOW that two cemetary plots in Santa Monica cost more than
a lighthouse-home in Virginia?! Oh, sure, a GENERAL idea helps but
the chances of winning each game was bescially between 1-in-2 and
1-in-8. It's leaving with ten times more than you earned that was
the tricky part: a 1-in-24 chance. But, hey, you could win "Golden
Road" with the same odds so...makes sense.
Of course, the REAL stars of the show were the prizes. How many game
shows show you a preserved prehistoric bear skeleton, a 16th century
French dresser and an 18th century music box in the same game? Or
pit a rare American muscle car against the Miss USA crown? This was
like "Strike It Rich"...except you didn't win the items.
Which makes sense because...what the hell is ANY layman gonna do with
one of Cindy Brady's dresses?
WHAT DIDN'T WORK?
Look, I know they needed a "warehouse" for al the unique
stuff. And I can understand the appeal or the aesthetic. I mean, I
wouldn't have been surpised if they dragged out the Ark of the Covenant,
the way the back looked. But, despite that, the set looked TOO big
for its own good. This was an agoraphobic's nightmare of a set. It
may have worked for "Sale of the Century" and the 80s version
of "Break the Bank". But here,...it almost looked suspcious...as
if a human trafficking ring was going on behind the scenes like the
"Quien Es Muy Macho" bit from "Saturday Night Live".
Cedric was...well...entertaining, to say the least. He did keep the
show light-hearted...but that's not something you normally see in
a million-dollar prime time show. And it was a LITTLE off-putting
at times. Maybe I don't get African-American humor but, even if I
did, I would think it's laid on a little thick. I know that's Cedric's
bread-and-butter but...I don't think we needed half a loaf of it.
WOULD IT WORK TODAY?
It was interesting at least. But I don't think most people could look
past the TPiR aesthetic and that's what turned folks off. Well, that
and the chances of winning the million seemed even worse than "Millionaire".
And seeing things that "Pawn Stars" would probably drool
over had its charm...but I think it just reminded people of the recession
they were in and bummed them out. How can people actually BUT this
stuff when others were losing their homes? Sure, things are a LITTLE
better these days economically...but, if people want to see ridiculous
items on sale, there's still eBay for that. "Nice try" bin
you go, pal, and hopefully some collecter will want it for a ludicrous
NEXT TIME: From one "Chance of a Lifetime" to another...
When Chris Wolvie traded in his old car, he shouted, "It's
worth SQUAT?!?" Follow him on Twitter @ChrisWolvie
and e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.