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The Price Is Right Winner Who Changed The Show Forever

Hearing the words, "Come on down!" will probably cause most folks' heads to buzz with a familiar and cheery game show theme and the promise of big prizes. Such is the siren song effect of the iconic catchphrase from "The Price Is Right," the legendary game show that mainly tasks contestants with accurately guessing the price of various products. Often known as a staple on daytime television, "The Price Is Right" has a long history on air. The show began with a primetime version in 1956 that lasted only nine seasons. In 1972, the show returned and hasn't been off TV since.

"The Price Is Right" is the longest-running game show in history. And with that great distinction comes numerous changes to the game show over time. Some are expected, such as switching to a new host. And being a major game show that spans multiple decades also means that prizes have got to evolve. After all, nobody in the show's modern era is winning the bizarre prize of a horse just like one man did in the late '50s. Well, they aren't yet. But one unexpected change for "The Price is Right" didn't come from the passing of time but rather from a winner who played a little too perfectly.

A contestant had the formula for the perfect bid

How does anyone approach the concept of winning on a game show like "The Price is Right?" For most hopeful contestants, it's probably only a matter of knowing the rules of the different games and hoping for the best. However, for Terry Kniess, who appeared on a 2008 episode, his formula of watching previous episodes, plus expert pattern recognition, equaled an unforgettable perfect bid during the Showcase Showdown. According to a feature from Esquire, four months before his appearance, Kniess noted that he and his wife watched every episode and memorized the prices of repeatedly shown items. It also didn't hurt that his resume listed impressive skills as being a weatherman and working in casino surveillance. It was the latter where Kniess picked up on the routines and patterns of players who tried to count cards at the Blackjack table.

As Drew Carey reads Kniess' perfect bid of $23,743 of his prize package in the episode, the host simply says, "You got it right on the nose." The subdued reaction masks the turbulent feelings behind the scenes. Carey and the producers of the show thought Kniess was in cahoots with Ted Slauson, another past contestant who had also cracked "The Price is Right" code. It was never proven that Kniess colluded with Slauson, but his perfect bid did have a lasting effect. As Kniess explained in the Esquire feature, after his appearance, the show changed the brands of some of its products and added in more luxurious prizes. An item like a boat or car could also be different in price depending on some of its accessories, like unique floor mats or remote start-ups.

That wasn't the only time Carey worried about cheating on the show

Kniess' win caused some controversy for "The Price is Right." And since it took place in 2008, it happened pretty early during Carey's time as the new host as he came in around 2007. Unfortunately, it wasn't the only time Carey had to worry about a possible cheating scandal so early with his new hosting duties. While speaking on Sirius XM's Jeff and Larry's Comedy Roundup, Carey recalled another incident in 2008 during a game of Plinko. In the show's Plinko game, contestants drop a flat chip from the top of the Plinko board, which falls randomly into one of nine slots at the bottom. Each slot has a different prize amount, but the pegs the chip moves through on its way to the bottom make it impossible to predict what the contestant will win. Well, it's almost impossible — except for one lucky college student.

Carey recalled on the radio show that a college student dropped three chips into the coveted $10,000 spot, easily shattering a previous Plinko record and raising the eyebrows of show producers. It only got worse on the next attempt. "She dropped the fourth chip, the floor director comes over, stops the chip, and leans into me, and he goes, 'The game is fixed,'" Carey said on the radio show. It was actually rigged, but not because of the contestant. Carey later revealed on the show that the Plinko board had been tampered with to give $10,000 winnings because it was used previously for a commercial. The would-be scandal got cut from the air, but the show still awarded the contestant $30,000.