It began with a tribute to the late Ian Turpie, but from there the new-look Price is Right came on down to a pale imitation of its former self.
Sorry Larry, I was really looking forward to this but I found it hard to see beyond the short-cuts made by this reboot.
First to go was the opening gambit where four contestants bid to compete in a game. Blokey new voice-over guy Brodie Young simply called the first contestant, Tricia, to “come on down” and we were into the first round: a Big W sponsored round of Hi-Lo with the prize being a $1500 shopping voucher at Big W. When the prize doors opened a model tried to look excited beside some video screens. Tricia lost the game.
Next game saw contestant Sammy compete to win an outdoor living package from Big W behind more prize doors where two models barely had enough room to swing a cat. Sammy played the popular Cliff Hangers game (complete with new yodel) and managed to win the prize (value unknown).
Final contestant Lin played Squeeze Play for a washing machine and gold pendant from Panasonic and Showcase Jewellers. She lost.
During the commercial breaks I could hear John Deeks telling me Price was sponsored by Big W. I already knew that, but hearing his perfect diction did make me somewhat sentimental.
The biggest disappointment was the Showcase, comprising champagne set, bed, golf clubs, TV / Bluray, Jukebox (but not the sofa the models were sitting on) and a car: a tiny Nissan Micra (no double Subarus here).
The total prize package was worth just under $25,000. According to YouTube there were Showcases worth more than this in the show’s last incarnation in 2005. I realise we have had a recession, but we’ve also had GST and inflation. So what gives?
My memory of Price is that it was an aspirational show. You could practically fit out your first home with the prizes they used to give out.
Seven and FremantleMedia told me the Showcases on this series top $20k each night and declined to comment further when asked by TV Tonight. I say phooey to that. Give me game show greed! Give me the car, the lounge suite, the fridge, the holiday, the jet ski and the Encylopedia !
Larry was smooth as Larry always is, but make no mistake. This is a branded entertainment revival just as McDonald’s attempted with It’s a Knockout. It’s not hard to see why Seven put this on at 5pm instead of moving Deal or No Deal (a show with a studio bigger than a postage stamp).
Apologies to Ian Turpie. We still love you.
The Price is Right airs 5pm weeknights on Seven.