LAS VEGAS — Would-be contestants answered the call to “come on down” in a big way Thursday, overwhelming “The Price is Right” in hopes of being on the program’s 30th anniversary show.
“It’s gone way beyond what we expected,” said Henri Bollinger, spokesman for the weekday program that picked Las Vegas for its first-ever taping away from CBS Television City in Hollywood.
“There are thousands of people out there,” Bollinger said of a line that formed before dawn — more than 14 hours before a scheduled 7 p.m. taping in the Rio hotel-casino’s 1,500-seat Samba Theater. “There’s no way we can get everybody in.”
Bollinger said 900 tickets were being handed out to potential contestants on a first-come, first-served basis, and 100 more standby tickets would be issued. The remaining seats have been given to 500 invited guests who won’t have a chance to be on the game show.
Las Vegas police spokesman Tirso Dominguez said the crowd outside the hotel west of the Las Vegas Strip was orderly and no arrests were reported.
Bob Barker, the show’s host and executive producer, said Wednesday that he thought it would be fun to take the show on the road for the first time in 30 years.
“The Price is Right” is the longest running game show in television history, surpassing 18 seasons of “What’s My Line?”
The Las Vegas show was to be taped and aired at 8 p.m. Jan. 31.
Las Vegas was chosen for the show’s first on-location taping because of its glamour and because the city’s visitors reflect a wide cross-section of the program’s audience, Barker said.
“The taping will give hundreds of people, who would otherwise be unable to participate, a chance to personally experience the show live,” he said. “And Las Vegas is still one of the most exciting places in the world.”
Also on hand for the taping will be show announcer Rod Roddy and “Barker’s Beauties,” show models Claudia Jordan, Heather Kozar and Nikki Ziering.
The audience in the Bob Barker Studio in Hollywood usually numbers 320 people. Bollinger said producers sometimes handle as many as 1,000 contestant hopefuls in a day.
Barker said Wednesday there were hints that there might be a ticket crush in Las Vegas.
“The first time I mentioned the Las Vegas show (on the air) was Dec. 17,” he said. “We had a frantic call from the Rio that they were being inundated with phone calls. They had 7,000 calls (from people wanting tickets) that day.”
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