kottke.org posts about The Price is Right

Hacking The Price is Right

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 12, 2010

Terry Kniess, a former weatherman with a knack for numbers and seeing patterns, went on The Price is Right and won more than $50,000 in prizes because of an exact bid on his Showcase. His secret? He watched hundreds of hours of the show and discovered its secrets and weaknesses.

Before they stepped foot in the Bob Barker Studio, they were going to be prepared; “Good TV is rehearsed TV,” Terry likes to say. For four months during the summer of 2008, they recorded The Price Is Right every morning and watched it together in bed every night, Terry hunting for patterns and Linda doing the math. It didn’t take long for them to find their edge. In The Price Is Right’s greatest strength, he and Linda also found its greatest weakness: It had survived all those years because it seemed never to change. Even when Drew Carey replaced Bob Barker — the show’s own version of Vatican II — he rocked a similar skinny microphone. Behind all the screaming and seeming chaos, there was a precise and nostalgic order. Terry says he first sat upright in bed when a distinctive grill called the Big Green Egg came up for bid again and again. It was always $1,175.

(via @longreads)