Come on down to The Price is Right LIVE at Stephens Auditorium

The Price is Right LIVE comes to Ames at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18 at Stephens Auditorium. 

Melissa Garrett

The Price is Right LIVE spins its big wheel in Ames at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 18 at Stephens Auditorium.

Known for giving everyone a chance to “come on down” to win fabulous prizes on stage, FremantleMedia’s live show of “The Price is Right” has been bringing prizes and games from the television show to audiences around the country for 10 years.

Jeff Palmer, vice president of FremantleMedia and former executive producer of The Price is Right LIVE, grew up in Los Angeles, California. wanting to be a TV cameraman. Palmer works on Price is Right Live and numerous other shows at the international media production company.

“When Fremantle started to talk about doing ‘The Price is Right’ as a live show, I was luckily asked to be a part of it,” Palmer said. “I was lucky because there weren’t a lot of live shows traveling [and] we sort of started the genre.”

Even though contestants have to be 18 or older to play, a multi-generational audience characterizes the show.

“Everyone comes out — generations come,” Palmer said. “It’s funny. I see grandparents, parents and kids. They all know ‘The Price is Right,’ so they come together. It’s kind of cool.”

Palmer said FremantleMedia produces the TV and live versions of “The Price is Right,” in addition to other shows like “Family Feud,” “Let’s Make A Deal,” “America’s Got Talent” and “American Idol.”

“It’s a big operation. The set is a copy of the TV show, and [we] play all the same classic games,” Palmer said. “It’s so hard for people to get to Los Angeles to get to Hollywood, and it’s hard to get tickets [so] the whole idea here is to [come] to America instead of America coming to us.”

The Price is Right LIVE features Emmy-winning television host Todd Newton, whereas “The Price is Right’s” television show host is Drew Carey. Newton is known for his work on E! Entertainment Television where, for over a decade, he brought television viewers face-to-face with Hollywood’s biggest stars and red carpet events.

Palmer said one of the biggest differences between The Price is Right LIVE and the television show is that more people have the chance to win prizes on the live show, since each game rotates a new selection of contestants versus having a handful of people chosen on the TV show.

On the TV show, four people are chosen as contestants and start guessing how much a prize costs. When someone is called on stage, one person replaces that contestant. On the live show, Palmer said this is not the case. 

“Every time we do it [on the live show] we call four new people down, [so] no matter what happens during the show you could be the one who’s doing things coming up [next],” Palmer said. 

Over 50 people will have their names called during The Price is Right LIVE.

Palmer said prizes are picked based on what people would want to have or things people would not buy for themselves. Smiling female models help display prizes to contestants and the audience. Seeing the winners win is infectious, and Palmer enjoys seeing everyone get excited to come on stage.

“It’s pretty funny what people do and say when they get down there. It’s harder than it looks on TV to play the game,” Palmer said. “It seems easier to come up with things or decide, then you get up there and people forget how much anything costs or they forget how many years they’ve been married.”

Patti Cotter, development and sponsorship manager at the Iowa State Center, said something exciting for the audience is the amount of interaction they get during the show.

“Even if they’re not selected as contestants, [the audience] is often cheering or coaching and telling the person what to bid, and there is a lot of high energy audience interaction,” Cotter said. “Even if you don’t know the contestant, [you] sort of root for them [and] want them to win.”

Contestants are selected randomly. Ticket holders and non-ticket holders have an equal chance to become a contestant. While ticket purchase will not increase the chances of being selected to play, tickets are required to watch the show. If you want to be a contestant, you must register beforehand. 

To register to be a contestant on the show, Cotter said the selection process for contestants will occur at 4:30 p.m., three hours prior to the show, at the registration area near the box office at Stephens Auditorium. Registration is open to legal residents of the United States and Canada, excluding New York, Florida, Rhode Island and Quebec.

Tickets for The Price is Right LIVE are available through Ticketmaster and are also available for purchase at the Stephens Auditorium ticket office from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Tickets range between $30 and $49.

For more information on the show and for additional registration information, visit the Iowa State Center’s website.