Bob Barker’s Debut on ‘The Price is Right’: September 4, 1972 — Watch
via Ceramic Dalmatian / YouTube
When you think of TV game shows, there’s one that instantly pops into mind – The Price Is Right. For decades, Bob Barker was the charismatic host who warmly invited contestants to “come on down” for a chance to win incredible prizes and cash. But did you know that Bob Barker wasn’t the show’s first host? Let’s take a trip down memory lane.
The Original ‘Price Is Right’ with Bill Cullen
The Price Is Right made its debut on November 26, 1956, as part of NBC’s daytime lineup. The show’s original host was Bill Cullen, a former radio personality known for hosting popular game shows like Name That Tune and To Tell the Truth. With its unique format where contestants placed bids on retail items, The Price Is Right quickly became a hit.
The show’s success led to a primetime version on NBC and later a move to ABC in 1963. However, after two seasons, The Price Is Right bid farewell to ABC on September 3, 1965.
Watch the original ‘The Price Is Right with Bill Cullen’ below:
The New ‘Price Is Right’ and Bob Barker’s Arrival
In the early ’70s, the production company Goodson-Todman aimed to bring The Price Is Right back to television. However, they faced a challenge as other shows like Let’s Make a Deal dominated the bid-or-pass format.
To breathe new life into the show, the producers revamped The Price Is Right with dazzling sets, perfect for the vibrant world of Technicolor. They also changed the format, turning it into a high-energy game show rather than a quiz show. It felt like a Las Vegas revue, especially when glamorous models joined to showcase prizes and engage with the host.
As they prepared to relaunch the show, the producers needed a new host. While Bill Cullen was the original host, he was hesitant to move to the West Coast. Initially, Dennis James from Let’s Make a Deal was chosen to host the revamped show. But when CBS ordered a syndicated daytime version of The Price Is Right, they suggested a fresh face.
Enter Bob Barker, a showbiz veteran who had already made a name for himself in radio and as the host of Truth or Consequences in 1956. On September 4, 1972, television history was made when the first episode of Bob Barker’s The Price Is Right aired.
Watch Bob Barker’s Debut Episode on ‘The Price Is Right’ in the video below:
Bob Barker’s Lasting Legacy
Bob Barker’s tenure as the host of The Price Is Right lasted an incredible 35 seasons until his retirement in 2007. Under his guidance, the show became an institution and one of the most cherished game shows in television history.
Barker won numerous Daytime Emmy Awards, including 14 for Outstanding Game Show Host and four as one of the show’s producers. In 1999, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Television Academy. The show’s famous Hollywood location was even renamed the Bob Barker Studio in 1998 in honor of his 5,000th show.
After his retirement, comedian Drew Carey took over as the host. The Price Is Right continued to be filmed in the Bob Barker Studio until 2023 when it moved to a new, modern location.
Sadly, Bob Barker passed away on August 26 at the age of 99, leaving behind a legacy of entertainment that will be cherished by generations to come.
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