Now I Know - Now I Know: The Price Is Fixed

Today is Veterans Day and I meant to take it off, but I forgot to mention it previously, so instead, I'm sharing this (unrelated) story from 2012. 

To those who served, thank you for your service. -- Dan


The Price is Fixed

At the end of many American television game shows, you may see an odd disclaimer, something to the effect of “portions of this program not affecting the outcome may have been edited.” It’s a curious thing to note; after all, very few if any of us would believe that the entire show was shot without any glitches or similar. For example, we should not expect a television network to show us a tongue-tied host stumbling over his opening greeting — nor would we expect the show to note that it removed such a blooper in the editing room.

That odd disclaimer is an off-shoot of reforms that came into place after a series of game shows in the 1950s turned out to be rigged. Producers gave some contestants the answers in quiz games, in hopes of keeping the more affable and audience-friendly competitors on the shows and developing a narrative which would draw in more viewers. (You can read more about that here.) After the scandal came to light, game shows still had to be edited, of course, but doing so ran the risk of losing the faith of the audience. One of the workarounds was the above message, adding a thin veneer of transparency. (Maybe.)

The Price is Right, a game show, debuted in 1972 (as we know it; there was an earlier, very different version from 1956 to 1965), and has aired in the U.S. since. It has spread throughout the world, with versions running on all six inhabited continents at one point or another. One of its most popular games is Plinko, seen above, where contestants earn chips which they can later drop from the top of the Plinko board aiming for the center slot, worth $10,000. The chips bounce off pegs on their way down, and where they land is as much luck as it is skill.

Except for this one time, when it was neither.

On July 22, 2008, a young woman came up to the Plinko board with five chips. She let the first one go and it bounced around, finally coming to rest in the much-desired $10,000 spot. She let the second go and… the same thing happened. A third, and another $10k. She releases the fourth one and, per an eyewitness account from reddit:

A man with a headset comes sprinting in from the wings, runs right up to the board, and SLAMS his hand against the token as it falls. Another staffer fetches [the contestant] and leads her down the staircase to sit at the foot of the stage, while Drew Carey leaves the stage and the curtain falls. The crowd is instantly making angry and confused noises. […] The announcer tries to calm everybody down, but admits he has no clue what’s happening. After a long wait, maybe 15 minutes, Drew Carey comes back on stage, takes [the contestant]’s hand, and addresses the crowd.

What happened? Carey explained to the crowd (and to Entertainment Tonight, in this video) that the Plinko board was rigged — in the player’s favor. The Price is Right crew was off for two weeks and, while the studio and games were available, the marketing team for the Price video game came in to film some promos. They ran some fish wire down the Plinko board, guiding the chips to the huge payout in the center, but forgot to take the wires down afterward. And no one noticed before the TV show went back into production.

But, due in part to the reforms of the 1950s, the producers had to let the young woman keep her $30,000. (Besides, they may have had a riot on their hands otherwise.) And they let her restart her Plinko game with all five chips; she earned another $3,000. However, they did not include her seemingly miraculous Plinko chips in the show on air. Because again, “portions of the program not affecting the outcome may have been edited.”

Now I Know is supported by readers like you. Please consider becoming a patron by supporting the project on Patreon. 

Click here to pledge your support. (If you do, in gratitude, you'll have an ad-free Now I Know experience going forward.)

Bonus fact: Most of the non-U.S. versions of The Price is Right were, by and large, similar to the American one. Of course, there were some differences based on the region and the culture of these productions, but one difference stands out. The French Canadian version, Misez Juste, which aired in 1994-1995, had the same prizes but much cheaper versions. As summarized on Wikipedia, instead of sending prize winners across the country or to Europe, they sent contestants to nearby Halifax or to Cuba. And instead of winning cars, contestants earned vouchers for free car rentals.

From the Archives: Judging Jeopardy: What happens behind the scenes on one of America’s favorite quiz games.
Like today's Now I Know? Share it with a friend -- just forward this email along.
And if someone forwarded this to you, consider signing up! Just click here.
Share Share
Tweet Tweet
Forward Forward
Archives · Privacy Policy

Copyright © 2021 Now I Know LLC, All rights reserved.
You opted in, at via a contest, giveaway, or the like -- or you wouldn't get this email.

Now I Know is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Some images above via Wikipedia.

Now I Know's mailing address is:
Now I Know LLC
P.O. Box 536
Mt. Kisco, NY 10549-9998

Add us to your address book

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your email address or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp

Key phrases

Older messages

Now I Know: The Somewhat-Fake Sausage That Saved Lives

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Auto-da-fé, what's an auto-da-fé? View this email in your browser · Missed one? Visit the Archives I know a lot about the history of kosher food... and this was still new to me when I discovered it

I hope you're enjoying Now I Know!

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

(And I hope you'll tell a friend!) View this email in your browser · Missed one? Visit the Archives Thanks For Reading! Three weeks ago -- give or take a day -- you first signed up for Now I Know.

Now I Know: The Day Fake Wrestling Became Real

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Four years one score ago, the a Hart was broken View this email in your browser · Missed one? Visit the Archives This is a re-run from the summer of 2015, shared today today because it's the

Now I Know: The Luggage Loophole That Isn't

Monday, November 8, 2021

If you're going to try this, try it at home -- not 30000 feet above View this email in your browser · Missed one? Visit the Archives Hope you had a good weekend! -- Dan The Luggage Loophole That

Why We Still Have Daylight Saving Time (Maybe)

Friday, November 5, 2021

And some other stuff. View this email in your browser · Missed an issue? Click here! Why We Still Have Daylight Saving Time (Maybe) Hi! Another Friday, another Now I Know Weekender edition! Today's

My writing process.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

A reader asked me to write this. So, I did. Writing about writing about writing. I'd prefer you not follow me around. But, if you were to disobey this preference, I'm afraid you wouldn't

Let's do this!

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Continuing our streak! 💪 ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Now I Know: The Road With a Toad-Away Zone

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

No standing, parking, idling, or croaking View this email in your browser · Missed one? Visit the Archives I like the solution below. Simple and also probably develops a sense of community. Also:

This Email Was 13 Years In The Making

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Your weekly 5-minute read with timeless ideas on art and creativity intersecting with business and life͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌

Taking the next step

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

This is gonna freak you out but gimme a sec: Have I told you how much I love you? Yes really – you, Dear Reader. You see, this newsletter you're reading right now, welllll.... it's not exactly

I sold my business, Audience Ops

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Big news! All the details inside... ‌ ‌ ‌ Well, it's official. The productized service business that I started 6.5 years ago now has a new owner. I'm sold Audience Ops to my friend, JD Graffam.

Productize this Black Friday

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

This week only I'm offering a new async coaching option ‌ ‌ ‌ I know this is one of many Black Friday emails in your inbox today so I'll keep this brief: My flagship training on Productized

A special async coaching option (this week only)

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

I'm trying something new this December 2021 ‌ ‌ ‌ This year for my 2021 Black Friday deal on Productize, I wanted to offer something new and special. I'm calling it "Async Coaching".

Is it time?

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

A message to think about this December ‌ ‌ ‌ Happy Saturday. This weekend, I want to ask you (or better yet, I want you to ask you)this question: Is it time? You could coast on, taking project after

Pulling myself out of the swamp

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

It's always important to know where your towel is ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌