Just went to a taping last week, and here's how it went!
Got there at 7:45 AM with Priority tickets, we stood way back in line. At 8:15-8:30 they started letting people in the lot. I don't think it mattered that we had priority tickets even, as there were people directly behind us that just pulled up in line to try and get in (heard them talking about it), and they were ushered in right away.
We were standing directly behind people from the same city/state combo that we were from. Very weird indeed. When my wife and I got in, you sit on some benches and wait in line with everyone, filling out a little info and signing your life away. We ended up with numbers a little above 100. There were several groups that were let in last, and they got the high numbers (200-290). From there we stood in front of a green screen for pictures, and then ushered off to the next set of benches around the building where the interview process had started.
They interviewed about 10 at a time. You are called up and Stan tries to get everyone going and yelling. From there he goes down the line and asks everyone what they do, and makes a joke or two about what you do. (I said I worked in the energy business and he asked if I had stuck my fingers in any electric sockets lately). After that, you are sent around the side of the building again, where you get to watch old Price is Rights, as well as eat your lunch if you ordered any ($10 each for either a burger, chicken, or wrap).
Depending on what your number was, this can be your longest wait as we had to wait for everyone to get interviewed, as well as finish eating. They play a few videos telling you what to do when you are in the studio and to keep the crowd up.
I must say that everything is well oiled, and although you do have to stand outside for 3.5 hours, you constantly feel like you are "doing something". The times where I was sitting down for a while and wanted to take a nap were kept to a minimum.
Once in the studio, the announcer guy comes out and explains you are "always being watched, its creepy", and to keep being loud and excited. Maybe this is to plant the thought that you might get selected from being crazy in the studio, but just a ploy to keep the crowd excited during the show.
Stan also comes out before the show and studies the audience the whole time with his Polish assistant. There is music blaring the whole time and I do believe they are making sure the people they selected are not falling asleep. They also come out every commercial break to study the audience, maybe to make sure the person to be selected next is still there, and that they are getting excited.
During "Commerical Breaks", Drew talks to the audience. It DOES seem like the people he talks to, someone is about to get called from that group. Twice in a row, he began speaking to a certain group in the audience, and the next person called down was from that group.
It is funny, after the last contestant is called, obviously they need to keep the crowd going. They say "the loudest/most excited person" will win $100 and a TPIR game! WOOHOO! Smart ploy, however, to keep the noise level up.
There is a little nerdy kid (looks like a kid), who is always trying to keep the crowd up. It's quite funny and I was sometimes watching him more than I was the show. They really have two things. Either, "Come on, get excited!!!!!!!!!!", or "Which one should he/she pick/price?", with the shoulder shrugging motion. Pretty funny.
I felt a little cheated, as it seemed a family in the audience had done this before, figured out a good trick, and struck gold. There was a guy down to our left who's wife was called up in the first bunch to contestant's row, and was actually the first contestant. She constantly looked to him for help, but lost on a car. Then, two contestants later, an older gentleman gets called up, and eventually makes the showcase. I catch him looking to the same guy to my bottom left and calling him son!!!!!!!!!!!! Seems like they split up their family in to two groups, played it off the whole time, and were able to come away with two contestants. The older gentleman was sitting behind me in the center, the woman on the left side near the front.
Contestant selection? Not ALL of the people that got called up were excited/go bat s*** crazy people. There were a couple, but even my wife commented a few times that some were not that excited when they got up on stage. Best way I can explain was 2 black/2 old people/2 excited crazy people/1 kid/2 hot girls.
I'm not quite sure, but I kept hearing on the prizes that the flights were out of LAX? Does this discourage TPIR from selecting out of state contestants? I believe only 2 of the contestants were from out of state, and they were not given games for trips.
Great experience, Drew is funny, contestant interaction is fun, and it was just something fun I got to say I did. I saved my name tag as well. I may go back years down the line, but it's not something I could do over and over again. It took up a whole day (7AM-2:30PM). However, you can definitly tell they have been doing it for many years! Well-oiled machine!!