September 1985-September 1986
Daily Syndication
Johnny Olson, Gene Wood, Rod Roddy
Produced By:
Mark Goodson Productions

"Here it is, all new! A show sparkling with excitement because a fortune in fabulous prizes can be won tonight if..."

As Bob Barker launched the 14th season on CBS, Tom stood tall on the nighttime version of television's most heralded game show.

It seems a little silly to type rules for this show, but that's what I do, so here we go: Four contestants are called by the announcer to "Come on down!" to Contestant's Row. A prize is presented and each contestant gets one bid. The contestant closest to the actual retail price without going over wins the prize (plus a $100 bonus, later a $500 bonus on this version, for a perfect bid) and comes onstage to play a pricing game for additional prizes.


There were 27 different pricing games in rotation for this part of the show, and you can read all about them in the reasonably-thorough Guide to the Pricing Games of the Nighttime Price is Right, as informative as it is lengthy!


A new contestant was called out from the audience after each pricing game. After three were played, the two contestants who had won the highest totals in terms of merchandise won went to the Showcases.

The contestants were shown two Showcases (frequently and rather famously presented as brief comedy sketches). The top winner was presented with the first showcase and opted to either bid on it or pass it to the runner-up and take  the second Showcase.

After both contestants place their bids, the contestant who comes closest to the price of their own showcase without going over wins it.


Despite only 175 episodes being produced, Tom's version does hold two footnotes in Price is Right history: It featured the first perfect game of Switcheroo, and it was well over a decade before the next one; and it also featured the first contestant to win MORE than $10,000 in Punch-a-Bunch, a feat not duplicated on the CBS daytime version until December 2002.

Tom has previously stated that he thought he did a poor job hosting. Well, he sure fooled me into thinking he was a good emcee. Yes, he makes mistakes through certain games, but that's because, unlike Bob Barker, he had to learn and memorize all 50 games in one crash course. That considered, he actually holds his own very well. He also brings a new flavor and style to the show that is very different from Bob's, acting like he's hosting 300 guests at a party, and not 300 audience members at a game show. His energetic delivery and dynamic style makes the short run of this version unfortunate, but it definitely was good while it lasted.

Why was Tom sitting in his dressing room yelling "Barker's a genius!"??? (2.6 MB)g

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