It’s been America’s favorite game show for as long as most can remember, but “The Price Is Right” is looking completely different these days. However, if Mike Richards has done the job he intended since stepping into the role of executive producer in 2009, nobody’s the wiser that the game show has basically done a 180 in recent years!
“At its soul, it is a great, happy place where people scream and yell for joy and laugh and win things, and it has a feel,” Richards explains to Soap Opera Network. “When you walk into our studio, there’s a certain feel. Everybody says, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s amazing! You never changed it!’ And then I say, ‘There’s not one set piece here that was here five years ago.’ Everything in the set has been redone. It’s all better. If I showed you a picture, it’s not jarring — it still has the same hug and feeling and familiarity. But if I put a picture of it six years ago versus now, it’s 100 percent different. There’s literally not one part of it that hasn’t been redone. We’re doing it in a way that just feels fresher and livelier and even hipper without losing the kitsch of what ‘The Price Is Right’ is… And [host] Drew Carey helps us with that, because he’s hipper and cooler and into the skinny ties, and he’s having more fun with it, and it’s his and he owns it now. It’s all his show now, and that’s what is so fun.”
The subtle-yet-complete changes have led to quite a ratings boost. In fact, the beloved game show has been drawing its highest ratings since 2004. And Richards credits his teams’ fresh ideas — such as the show’s recent male model search — for the bump. “I think we’ve done a great job keeping what ‘Price Is Right’ is and growing it into something that is appealing to that next generation of viewers,” he opines. “We’ve younged up the prizes, we’ve made them more hip, more extravagant, and we have more specials that are targeted at getting people to go, ‘I’ve seen ‘The Price Is Right,’ but do I want to watch ‘The Price Is Right?’ And that is a difficulty with a 43-year-old show that is so beloved, because everyone thinks they’ve seen it. But what I keep telling people is, ‘You haven’t seen it. It’s new.’
“And it is new,” he continues. “We’re doing it better and better every year. It has to do with the production staff never giving up on trying to get new, creative things going, like doing a male model search. And we will not stop making it better.”