LOS ANGELES -- “The Price is Right” is the longest-running game show in TV history. It’s famous for the games, the prizes—and the glamorous female models.
Now the producers are shaking up that formula and going co-ed.
For more than 40 years, “The Price is Right” has been giving away fabulous prizes. But now, they’re giving away something they have never awarded before: a job as a male model on the show. That episode won’t be on the air until Monday. But CBS News was there when it was recorded this week.
Rob Wilson, of Boston, broke that game show barrier. His history-making debut was showing off some sunglasses.
It’s a shift in tradition. Since the show’s inception, beautiful women have added glamour to the prizes. It’s a skill that host Drew Carey says should not be underestimated. Asked if there’s more to the job than smiling and waving, Carey said, “Yeah, for the models, yeah. It’s—it’s—there really is a lot more to it ‘cause you have to be, like—you have to model the prizes correctly and be happy and make it look like you’re the happiest person in the world to be next to this prize, whatever it is.”
But could a man do that? In August, hundreds showed up for the first audition.
Judges included price is right executive producer Mike Richards, and the show’s four female models.
Model Manuela Arbelaez said, “They were all handsome. But they had to have personality. You just can’t be a handsome guy and just stand there.”
Asked if there’s more to the job than smiling and waving, fellow model Amber Lancaster said, “Absolutely. And it’s a little overwhelming at first.”
Richards said, “You can be good looking, but you also have to be able to play. I mean, Drew Carey, who stands right there. You gotta be able to play with him.”
When all but the best seven were eliminated, the final choice was left to a vote of the viewers.
Wilson was their choice.
Lancaster said, “All of our top contenders, they had this certain quality, like, you know, the X factor, the je ne sais quoi ... that you can’t put your finger on. And Rob definitely has it.”
He skillfully handled a costume change and never hesitated to shed his shirt.
Most daytime TV viewers, after all, are women. Carey said, “Yeah, well, something for the ladies during the daytime, you know what I mean?”
Wilson, asked if he’s worried about not being appreciated for his mind, said, “Not appreciated for my mind? No, because I think they’ve already seen a lot of me. They’ve seen a lot of sides of me. They know that I can handle that and not be a complete, you know, goof with it.”
Wilson admitted to being a little nervous during rehearsal. But with help from those with experience and a last bit of practice before the studio audience arrived, Wilson was ready to become part of broadcasting history on “The Price is Right.”
For now, Wilson is only scheduled for a five-episode run airing next week, but the producers aren’t ruling out extending that if the feedback is positive.