#127 - The Australian Price Is Right Revival
The 2011-2012 Patrick Wayne Award Winner.

 

The Seven Network (Premiered May 2012)
Text by: Robert Seidelman

The Australian version of The Price Is Right is probably their 2nd most beloved franchise, right behind Sale of the Century.  Starting in 1981, the show was hosted by the dearly departed Ian Turpie.  The show itself with Ian Turpie would last 5 years on Seven before going off the air in 1986 It would later have a short 12 episode run on the Ten network in 1989.  In 1993, The Nine Network would revive it with Larry Emdur as host and lasting until 1998, before being revived again in 2003 with the new MEGA-Showcase where if successful, would net winners nearly a half a million dollars in cash and prizes.  The show would end again in 2005.  Amazing how a show that had such bursts of popularity be canceled and revived again quickly.  In 2011, thanks to the popularity of the revamped Drew Carey Price Is Right in the states, Larry Emdur saw himself taking over the hosting reins for Drew for a game of Cliffhangers.  That and George Gray being on Rove LA in Australia would garner the Seven Network another go at the venerable franchise.  When the show debuted in May of 2012, the viewing audience was severely disappointed at what they watched. 

The host would once again be Larry Emdur.  While Turpie was fantastic as a host, I personally like Larry Emdur a lot.  He seems more like the everyman and during his run here and on the last few months of Wheel of Fortune in Australia, he was genial, kind and genuinely wanted the contestants to win lots of goodies.  This current run is no exception.  He hosts it in 2012 like he did in 2003 and in 1993.  Very well done and hasn't lost a step. 

But here's where the show starts to fall off the Cliffhangers Mountaintop.  The new announcer for the show is Brodie Young.  He is supposed to be this young and hip announcer, and fails at all accounts.  Instead of coming off as genuinely excited as old announcers John Deeks and Shaun Cosgrove, he is over the top and comes off as faker than all the tans on Jersey Shore.  As a matter of fact, that's who he reminds me of.  He's like if you take Robbie from Jersey Shore and you meld him with Brad Sherwood's announcing talents.  That's Brodie Young and he'll give you headache.

Another thing that will give you a headache is all the plugs and advertisements throughout the show for Big W.  Seriously, almost every single prize is courtesy of Big W.  From the little grocery items in Hi-Lo to the amounts that are on the Plinko Board, to various other things on the show, they are all from Big W.  Anytime something is revealed, like a price on Cliffhangers, the upper part has the price and the lower flap will say Big W.  There's a video on YouTube that has a basic episode of the new version with a Big W counter on it.  I'm waiting for one that has that counter say TILT!  I know they fund most of the show, but it makes a classic show seem like one gigantic advertisement for Big W.  I should point out to those that don't know that Big W is their answer to Wal-Mart.  Just imagine if The Price Is Right were sponsored by Wal-Mart.  It would be nauseating as all hell here and it is there.

Another problem with this show is that it comes off as cheap, and by cheap, I mean really cheap.  In the premiere, the prizes given away for the pricing games never exceeded $2,000AU.  In a general 1993 episode, 19 years ago, they gave away a car in a pricing game and the other pricing games had prizes exceeding $2,000AU.  Heck, in 1983, the prizes were worth more.  If you can't have your prizes worth a little bit more than when the show first aired in 1981, then you're in trouble.  To add more fuel to this fire, the Showcase value was worth $24,813AU.  Not bad, but that was the same amount that was there when it was 1983.

Now, let's talk format.  The format is more akin to the Doug Davidson version of the Price Is Right, so there is no longer any contestants row.  Instead the contestant comes on stage and plays a pricing game.  If the contestant wins, chances are they move on to the showcase showdown.  If they don't, then they have to hope that another contestant loses so a playoff takes place.  This is why Doug Davidson's version had either the Wheel or The Price Was Right, so that a quandary like this doesn't happen.  Another reason is that if all 3 contestants win their pricing game, the top 2 winners get the chance.  I'd rather have all 3 of them play the Showcase Showdown instead of it being the top two winners. 

In the playoff, they play contestants row.  Gee, what a concept.  Playing something like that to get into the showcase showdown.  They should have done that to get players to play the game rather than using a modified Davidson format with a broken mechanic to decide who moves onto the showcase. 

After that, the show plays out like it always has.  A showcase is revealed and the contestants must ping-pong bids until someone guesses the right price.  It's more or less like 2 Player Bullseye from the states.  It's a very clever way of doing a showcase and I quite enjoy it, after seeing it here and on the older episodes that are on YouTube.  Then the contestant must order the prizes from least expensive to most expensive, with the car being put last.  They have 40 seconds to organize the rest of the items from least expensive to most expensive.  If they get it all organized correctly, the showcase is theirs.  This is what the show gets right.  It's a very exciting finish and you're at the edge of your seat as to what will happen at the end.

At the end of the day, it's not the worst show from 2011-2012, but it is clearly the most disappointing.  With all of the expectations that the original shows gave it and being put in a prime slot before Deal or No Deal, it failed in so many ways.  What makes matters worse for the show is that people expected the cars, the atmosphere and the fun that the original versions had.  There is fun to be had, but it all failed in the execution.  While there is disappointment with the show, the showcases have been bulked up to the tune of between $30-40,000AU.  That's fine, but they need to up the prizes in the pricing games and give away cash rather than Big W crap.  People go on shows like this to win good quality stuff, not rejected items from a low-rent store.  So, with lame prizes up front, Brodie Young being an equivalent to Brad Sherwood and Big W, Big W, Big W, it concocted a perfect recipe for the winner of the 2011-2012 Patrick Wayne Award. 

Congratulations Seven Network!  You truly deserved this dishonor.