How One Man Gamed "The Price is Right"

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Have you seen The Price is Right? I watch it at the gym, during the day, because I don't need to hear the sound to figure out what's going on. On the show, people guess prices for merchandise and play little games and eventually win or lose the merchandise. But one man, Terry Kneiss, watched a lot of The Price is Right. And he noticed something: many of the same products were used over and over. So he did his homework, and, in collaboration with his wife, memorized the values of as many items as he could. Then he went on the show, and proceeded to play while confirming his math via hand signals with his wife, who was in the audience. And when Kneiss got to the Showcase...his bid was accurate, to the dollar. This has not happened in the 38-year history of the show. A recent Esquire profile tells the inside story; here's a snippet:

The Price Is Right ends with the Showcase, the final showdown between the two players who have traveled from the audience to Contestant's Row, up onstage, through a pricing game, and past the Big Wheel. Two collections of prizes are presented to them, and the contestants each bid on one — the closest without going over wins. And if one of them comes within $250, that contestant wins both. Now, against all odds, Terry suddenly found himself standing beside an excitable woman named Sharon. It was down to them. The first Showcase opened with a karaoke machine. Next came a pool table. Then a seventeen-foot camper. Sharon passed on that Showcase, which meant that it was Terry's to win or lose. He looked into the audience for a moment, leaned into his microphone, and said his bid as though he were reading it from a slip of paper: $23,743.

"Wow," Drew Carey said. "That's a very exact bid." Then Sharon saw her Showcase: trips to Chicago; Banff, Alberta; Edinburgh, Scotland; and Cape Town, South Africa. She bid $30,525. "We'll be right back, folks," Carey said. "Don't go away."

And then the show just stopped.

Even before the Showcase, there had been a feeling among some of the show's staff that something was amiss. ...

... And then Carey remembers what happened next: "Everybody thought someone had cheated. We'd just fired Roger Dobkowitz, and all the fan groups were upset about it. I thought, f***, they just f***ing f***ed us over. Somebody f***ed us over. I remember asking, 'Are we ever going to air this?' And nobody could see how we could. So I thought the show was never going to air. I thought somebody had cheated us, and I thought the whole show was over. I thought they were going to shut us down, and I thought I was going to be out of a job."

Read the rest for a truly epic tale of how one man (well, actually a man and his wife) gamed the game show.

After the jump is a video clip of the showdown. The Esquire article (and the snippet above) speak to why Drew Carey seems so unenthusiastic about the situation: he thought there was no way this show would ever air.

(Via Kottke.org.)

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