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What to expect at a taping of The Price Is Right
July 26th, 2010 by Jessica

On April 26, 2010 my husband and I attended the 12:20pm taping of The Price is Right with Drew Carey in CBS Television City outside of Los Angeles, California.  The show aired on May 19, 2010 on CBS and we were sitting dead center behind Contestant’s Row, shown in almost every shot of the audience that aired during the episode.

For those who plan to be in the audience (or possibly be a contestant) on The Price Is Right, I present you with this list of things to expect when you get to CBS Television City.  I wrote this list not to be an accurate representation of what you will absolutely experience, but to share our single experience with those just as naive as we were when we got our tickets to the show.

I must preface this with the fact that we have only been to one single taping, and have never been in the audience of any other game shows.  This is our first and only experience, described by the true newbies that we were.

The following is a recap of what we discovered along the way during our day as an audience member on The Price is Right.

  • Capacity: The Price is Right theater holds 320 people, and there are 9 contestants chosen for each show.  At our taping, they only accepted the first 195 people from the line, and the rest of the audience members were from groups.  There are four types of tickets available: mail order, internet, studio and groups.  I requested tickets 6 months in advance and we received ticket numbers 60/61, which means absolutely NOTHING except you have a chance to get in the audience if you plan ahead – way ahead!
  • Order of Arrival LineOrder of Arrival Line (pre-6:00AM): The first person arrives in the Order of Arrival (OOA) line around 10pm the night before.  At 3:45am we were numbers 52 and 53 in the OOA line.  The photo shows first hundred or so people in the line at about 4:00am.  Bring chairs for the night wait in the OOA line because you can easily go put them back in your car before you come back to get in line for the show.  After you receive your OOA pass at 6:00am, which is given out for both shows simultaneously, you can leave and return at 8:30am for the 12:20pm taping or at 12:30pm for the 4:20pm taping.  There are restrooms in the Farmer’s Market near the front of the Grove.  Do not expect to arrive after 6:00am and get on the show.  They give out more tickets than they have seats BY FAR and it won’t happen.  Get there as early as possible and bring a chair and blanket.
  • Shade: All lines from here on out should be in full shade/covered.
  • Bathrooms: The Exxon station bathroom opens at 4:30am and is for paying customers only.  The Grove shopping center bathroom by the parking garage doesn’t open until 10:30am.
  • Parking: Parking costs $24 at the Grove Shopping Center, payable by credit card at their automated machine.
  • Breakfast: There is a diner at the front of the Grove in the Farmer’s market that is open 24 hours.  Get there first and you will get a seat and be able to order before the rest of the line arrives.
  • What to Bring to Line #1: Driver’s License, Social Security Card, a pen or two, and your cell phone if you don’t mind checking it during Line #3.  If you are easily bored, feel free to bring your cell phone or iPod and check it in later at the security checkpoint around 2 hours from this point.  If you forget your Social Security Card, upon winning you will be able to provide the card within 30 days to claim your prize.  Restrooms, a snack bar, a gift shop and vending machines are available to you during your stay in Line #1.
  • What NOT to Bring: Hats of any kind.  You can’t wear them on the show.  No cameras allowed either.
  • Order of Arrival Passes and Original Tickets

    Order of Arrival Passes and Original Tickets

    Line #1: With OOA pass in hand, return at your scheduled time to get in the first of three lines.  There is no point in getting there early, because you will be lined up in order of arrival.  There is plenty of seating available, however they clear benches #1 and #2 first so I suggest sitting on bench #5 for the long haul.  Make absolutely sure you are NOT LATE to this line, or you will be automatically booted from the audience and miss your chance to be on the show.  Audience members are called in groups of 30 to get in numerical order based on your OOA pass number.  You will be provided with a Contestant Number at this time, which will NOT match your OOA number.  First you get a green tag with contestant number that you write your name and SSN on, followed by a white bio card.  The bio card will be used to help select contestants, so make it good!  You must wear your contestant number on your shirt attached to your name tag until you get into the theater.  Our OOA numbers were 52/53 and our Contestant Numbers were 47/48, because five people ahead of us didn’t show up to Line #1 in time and got booted.  Fair warning!  After everyone is lined up, they set up a temporary photo green screen and each group has their picture taken.  They are later found online and you can buy a copy for $24 on their website.

  • A note about Custom T-shirts: A majority of contestants, maybe 80%, wore t-shirts that were made custom for the show.  The name tag you are given is large and must be worn on your LEFT side, so take that into consideration when making your custom t-shirts.  Most of the people we saw had t-shirts you couldn’t even read once they put their name tags on.  It was a wasted effort.
  • On to Line #2: Continuing on in the same Contestant Number order you were given in Line #1, in Line #2 you give up your ticket and have your photograph taken individually.  You then wait for over an hour while everyone is processed.  There is time to go back and use the restroom or purchase snacks/souvenirs, because you can no longer lose your place in line (unless you disappear).  The producer of the show (Stan) will come out and interview 12 contestants at a time.  THIS IS YOUR ONLY CHANCE TO GET ON THE SHOW!  You must impress the producer enough to make him want to choose you.  He, and only he, chooses who gets on the show, from this short group interview.  Be excited, crazy, happy and profess your love for all things Price is Right.  Now is your chance!
  • On to Security Checkpoint: After your interview with the producer, you get in line for security.  Now is when you must forfeit all cell phones and electronics to the check-in.  This is about 2 hours into the 4-hour line process (having started the lines at 8:30am, for us it was about 10:30am).
  • On to Line #3: More waiting.  Restrooms and drinking fountains are available.  In this line, you are presented with a full episode of the Price is Right followed by a Gag Reel of crazy contestants to get you in the mood for the show.  At this time you are handed a souvenir card to affix your name tag to after the show is over.  At this point you can go back to Line #1’s area and purchase snacks and souvenirs if you want, which most people chose to do.  The last call for the bathroom will be made about 10 minutes prior to entering the theater, at which time dozens of people decide to get up and go to the bathroom.  I suggest beating the line and going before last call, or you might not have a chance.
  • Into the Theater: At about 12:00pm for the 12:20pm taping, you are let into the theater in order of Contestant Number.  You must walk up 2 flights up stairs to get there.  The seats are filled from front row center, through the center section, then stage left and stage right.  As Contestants #47/48, we were third row dead center and were on television for almost the entire show!  If you are in a large group, reserved seats are designated for you to sit with your group near the back of the theater.  The stage hand will come out and start scanning the crowd, looking for the predetermined contestants and marking them down on his paperwork.  If you are close enough, shortly you can see the chosen Contestants marked on a sheet on the primary camera rig, circled on a map of the theater.  We knew right away we weren’t chosen to “come on down.”
  • Inside the Theater: Club music and YMCA were playing when we entered, and everyone was dancing and screaming.  No hats are allowed, no bags on your lap, and name tag must be clearly visible.  The chairs are pretty tiny, and the audience is insane and wildly cheering.  It is very loud, you can’t hear Drew Carey or the announcer, and the Pages have your name on cue cards so you know whether your name was called to come down.  The show is essentially taped live with commercial breaks of 2:20 each.  Drew comes down to talk to the audience between shots.  The announcer talks to the audience before the show and towards the end to garner excitement for the Showcase Showdown.  Red lights will indicate when a camera is on, and stage hands will let you know to stand up and scream.  Your hands will hurt from clapping so much!  Almost everything was blocked/obscured by cameras and rigs, so expect not to be able to see much on the stage.  They hide the Wheel before bringing it out, and it has huge metal handles on the left side for people to grab and spin that you can’t see on TV.  You are only supposed to stand up when they tell you to, otherwise stay seated.
  • After the Show: A random audience member is drawn to win a small prizes like the PIR video game and $100 gift card.  After you exit theater, you can get your cell phones back if you checked them in.  You are expected to leave the cbs lot straight from the theater onto Fairfax avenue.
  • Summary: Don’t go to necessarily enjoy the show – go to get ON the show, or for the fun of being on TV.  It’s a neat experience but you must realize that you can’t really enjoy the show live – save that for watching in your living room.
Price is Right

Price is Right

I hope this helps at least a few folks who have no idea what to expect when they get tickets to a taping of The Price is Right.  I wish we knew then what we know now about how things really work, how long you wait in line, and what you can and can’t do.

I hope you get to “come on down” if you attend a taping!  Cheers, and good luck!

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© 2013 Jessica M. Green