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The Price Is Right Hosts A Smaller Audience Than You Probably Think

Since 1972, "The Price is Right" has been a TV game show staple. Over the past 50 years, the current version of the CBS game show has logged close to 10,000 episodes with two popular hosts, Bob Barker and Drew Carey, per IMDb. Speaking of popular, even longtime announcer Johnny Olson is regarded as a game show icon, as are recognizable showcase models Janice Pennington and Holly Hallstrom, who started on the show in the 1970s.

A 50th-anniversary press release shared by CBS revealed that over its current five-decade run, more than 100 price-themed games have been featured on "The Price is Right" and more than $300 million in prizes have been awarded to lucky contestants on the show. With so much up for grabs, it's no wonder that fans flock to be in Emmy-winning game show's studio audience with the hopes that they will be invited to "Come on down" and become the "next contestant on 'The Price is Right!'"

But how many hopefuls are actually in the audience for each taping? Fans may be surprised to know that the chances of being picked to play aren't as far-fetched as they may seem.

The Price is Right studio is not big

"The Price is Right" is taped at Studio 33, aka the Bob Barker studio, located at the famous Television City lot in Los Angeles, per D Guides. With 50 years' worth of shows produced, it's no surprise that there have been a total of more than 2,000,000 people who have had seats in the studio audience, per CBS. So, how many people does that break down to per show? After production for "The Price is Right" temporarily shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic, showrunner Evelyn Warfel revealed that there are just a few hundred people in the audience for each show, despite the fact that the studio looks bigger when seen on TV. Warfel dropped the number when talking about nixing the full audience during the pandemic.

"We quickly realized we were not going to be able to have 300 people on the show sitting close together," she told Deadline in 2020. "We decided that we were going to come back without an audience to maintain the safety as best we could for our talent, for the contestants, for our staff and crew." 

In addition to that behind-the-scenes account, Redditor u/jbishop1988 shared in 2014 that the Bob Barker studio seats only 310 people.

And while they're not seen on camera, there is another audience that participates in "The Price is Right." Former host Bob Barker once told the Los Angeles Times that at-home viewer engagement is the ultimate goal. "The minute we put something up for bid and the contestant makes a bid, the viewer is involved. Once you become involved, we have accomplished what the producer of every game show wants—viewer involvement," he said in 1990.