Today, the first part of the section of my interview with Michael Pope in his capacity as Producer – and then Consulting Producer – on The Price Is Right. So if you’ve ever wanted to be a contestant on The Price Is Right, you can’t afford to miss this…
SH: Well, that brings us to The Price is Right, which you produced in a couple of incarnations, didn’t you?
MP: I was Producer of 2003 – 2006, when Channel 9 had it last, and then I was a Consulting Producer on the 2012 channel 7 re-branding.
SH: So what would be the 3 most important things for someone to know if they wanted to be a contestant on The Price Is Right?
MP: Be up, be positive, be articulate, be happy. Don’t be complaining about how long you’ve waited, or how far you’ve had to travel to get in here, and don’t look hungry. And I mean for prizes. We want people who are here for a fun time, not to win prizes. It’s a turn-off to see someone whose focus is just on the prize, on the prize, on the prize, rather than playing the game.
SH: Do you remember the biggest winner, or the most joyous moment of the show, while you were there?
MP: In its dying days, Deal Or No Deal came along and were consistently beating us, so Channel 9 pulled out all the stops, including giving away half million dollar apartments on the Gold Coast. And I believe they should be completed in 2 years’ time…
SH: (LAUGHS) Fantastic.
MP: So we had available every night, half a million dollars to be won. And when they were won – and we did give away a few – that was a great night, because you had these people who were just so excited. Oh, just on the interview thing – a quick way to turn off the producers is to be discovered you’re lying. I mentioned before “if you’re a fireman, tell us”.
Well, this woman was lining up… and she said she swims with the sharks; “I’m at the Melbourne Aquarium and I swim with the sharks every day.” “Oh great!”
And sure enough, she gets up and Larry says “So, what do you do for a job?” and she says “Oh, I swim with the sharks”.
“Oh what? What do you mean?” and so she did this nice little conversation and we went to the commercial break, and he said something like “Oh cool, how long have you been doing that?”
And she said “I don’t. I just said that.”
“Oooooh, right.” And not that you could tell on air, but the word went around everyone on headphones that that naughty girl just played us a good one. She didn’t end up winning.
SH: Were there any other negative or bad moments from the show that were really spectacular?
MP: You mean when the guy hit his head on the wheel?
SH: Go on! I’m listening!
MP: For a time, the show had two winners who then battled it out to play for the showcase by spinning a wheel. And it was huge wheel – about 12 feet high, very heavy. And it was at 90 degrees to your image of what a wheel is, like a waterwheel. And this guy got behind it with the full power of his back and pulled it down! And then stood up and – Bang! – it knocked him. And so we continue recording, and a little trickle of blood starts to appear on his forehead. So we had to stop tape and pick it up again. But that was an awkward moment that was cut around.
SH: “Cut” being the operative word. Did he go on to win?
MP: I can’t remember.
SH: Neither can he.
MP: (LAUGHS) He can’t remember either. Yes. At least I can remember the incident.
And we’ll leave it there for today. Next week, the interview continues, with Michael going into some really good detail about actual strategies and tactics you can use for playing the games on the show. And I look forward to having that ‘Come on Down’ next week. See you then!