Half-Hour Episodes

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There are half-hour episodes?

Believe it or not, The Price Is Right was not always an hour long. The entire first three seasons, as well as the 1st and 3rd through 9th weeks of Season 4, were only 30 minutes long, as were 16 episodes in Seasons 4, 5, 6, and 7 that were taped to accomodate CBS's monthly Magazine program and the episodes on the day of the biannual Pillsbury Bake-Off from 1984-1994. Furthermore, all nighttime versions of TPIR were a half-hour long. (Note that there is a difference between a “nighttime version” and a “primetime special.”)

How were the half-hour shows played?

The half-hour episodes had no Showcase Showdowns and only three pricing games. After the third game was played, the two top winners advanced to the Showcase. All aspects of Contestants’ Row, the pricing games, and the Showcase worked the same as they do in the hour format.

Is that what they did on the 25th Anniversary and 50 Years of Bob shows?

Yes. Even though the 25th Anniversary Special and A Celebration of Bob Barker’s 50 Years in Television were each an hour long, they had only six segments and featured tons and tons of clips, so the actual gameplay used the half-hour format. A similar format, with a Showcase Showdown shoehorned in after the third game, was also used on the Gameshow Marathon episode.

I thought the Davidson version was played differently.

It was. On the nighttime version from 1994, there was no Contestants’ Row; instead, three contestants were called, and each one immediately played a pricing game. They then competed in a Showcase Showdown, usually “The Price Was Right.” In this game, the contestants were shown an old commercial for some product, and they had to bid on its price at the time the commercial had originally aired. The contestants bid in the same order in which they had played their pricing games; the one who bid closest to the original retail price without going over moved on to the Showcase, which basically consisted of seeing a single showcase and playing Range Game for it with a rangefinder covering somewhere from $4,000-$10,000.

TNPIR had originally intended to use The Price Was Right on all of its episodes, but when it came time to start taping, they hadn’t gone through enough old commercials to do so; therefore, on about 20% of the episodes, they had to use the Big Wheel. Instead of using the method of determining who spun when from the daytime show, the contestants seem to have spun in order from most to least winnings.

How long did the show's syndicated runs last?

The original syndie version ran once a week from 1972 through 1980. It is comprised of 300 episodes, with 39 shows being produced for each of the first five seasons (which were hosted by Dennis James) and 35 for each of the last three (which were hosted by Bob). Coincidentally, like the daytime show, this run also has two third episodes, with the original, whose production number was altered to #(003N), having been thrown out due to a mistake in the Showcase that there was no satisfactory way to fix. Again like the daytime show, these two programs are only included once in the total episode count, meaning that there are actually 301 shows.

The Kennedy version ran every night during the ‘85-’86 season, ending after 170 episodes; it is believed to have shown new programs for most of the period from September 9 through May 30, with reruns airing for four weeks during the season and throughout the summer.

The Davidson version, which only lasted 80 episodes, ran from September of 1994 through late January of 1995.


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