The Price is Right gave away a record-breaking amount of money on a massive wheel run last week. As hard as it may be for us to imagine, television has been in people's homes and everyday lives for less than a hundred years. Not a very long time at all. And yet there are TV shows on the air which have been around long enough that multiple generations of people have gotten to enjoy new episodes. Among these shows is the longest running game show in American history - The Price is Right - whose 46th season began only last week.
There have been some memorable moments over the decades on The Price is Right. The times when contestants have impossibly won huge prizes by sheer luck. The occasional extra loud, excited, or otherwise memorable contestants who fans chuckled about the following day. One of those especially enthusiastic participants was a pre-Breaking Bad Aaron Paul and he certainly left an impression.
And then there was the episode which aired just a few days ago. In honor of Drew Carey's 10th anniversary as host, the money prizes on the big wheel were increased this past week. Twice each game Carey led the three previous players to the wheel for either one or two spins. Whoever got closest to a dollar without going over moved on to the Showcase - final game of each episode. Typically, if a player gets a dollar exactly they win $1,000 and one more spin. That extra spin can mean extra money, if they land on 5 or 15 cents they get an extra $10,000 and if they land on the dollar square they get an extra $25,000. But for the past week, getting that first dollar amount on the wheel was worth 10 times as much as usual, $10,000. And - as reported by K5 News - three contestants in a row did just that - and then two went on to win even more. CBS shared a video of the historical game on their Facebook Page - seen above.
The first player - whose name is Wilbert - spun twice, landing first on 25 cents and then on 75 cents. Both he and the audience screamed as he won the first $10,000. Then a player named Charlotte spun, and landed exactly on the dollar square. When the third contestant - Zachary - spun, Carey made a comment about if it would be too much to ask for him to also win $10,000. And with two spins - of 85 cents and then 15 cents - he did.
But it did not end there. Carey reminded the players that they each could spin once more. Landing on either green square was worth another $10,000 while landing on the dollar square was worth $25,000, on top of what they already won. And both Wilbert and Charlotte successfully landed on that dollar square, making their individual winnings $35,000 each. Unfortunately for Zachary, he was not able to add to his earlier $10,000 win. Meanwhile, Wilbert and Charlotte each had to spin again. Not for more money - Carey actually had to confirm that after such an unprecedented event - but simply to break the tie and determine who the winner of the game was so they could compete in the Showcase. And adding to the monumental occasion was the fact that every one of the six main contestants on the show won their pricing game that day.
Now the question remains - how did this happen? In 46 years it certainly never has before. Mathematically, the odds of the wheel landing on any square are equal, so it is not impossible. But it certainly does not seem likely that three people would spin and either land on the dollar square, or on two combined squares to equal a dollar, five times in a row. Especially on a day where the prize is bigger. Some people are probably now asking if it was staged - if someone behind the scenes was controlling the wheel so that they could give away such a huge sum of money early in the show's season and during Carey's anniversary. Or maybe it just an unexpected run of luck.
However it happened, Wilbert, Charlotte, and Zachary are probably pretty happy right now. And fans of The Price is Right have been expressing their excitement for the record-breaking episode of the series all over Twitter. It was certainly an exciting start to the season on America's longest-running game show.
The Price is Right airs at 11 am Monday through Friday on CBS.