Celebrities...including people the public didn't even know were celebrities...have been on game shows for years.
In fact, the most successful game show creator of all time, Mark Goodson, practically invented the celebrity game show, with programs like What's My Line, To Tell the Truth, and I've Got A Secret that were extremely popular in the 1950's and well into the 1960's. Also under his watch were shows like Password and The Match Game in which celebs played along with regular contestants (which is how Betty White made her name in game shows).
This also extended to non-Goodson shows like The $10,000 Pyramid (although that show was created by a Goodson disciple, Bob Stewart) and Hollywood Squares.
One show it did not work on during Goodson's time, however, was the original Price Is Right.
When the show's ratings started to decline in the 1960's, the producers decided to have a celebrity play the game along with the three other contestants, although the celebrity's winnings went to a member of the studio audience, chosen at random. The show ended about a year after this format began. Although the term wasn't around at the time, this could be considered the "Jump The Shark" moment for the original series.
It's interesting that neither Goodson never tried this on the series revival which went on the air in 1972 and remains on the air today. Neither did Bob Barker, who hosted the show until 2007 and was its executive producer for 20 years.
Times have changed. Drew Carey now hosts the show, and it has a different producer, who has made some changes that have met with disapproval with longtime fans. The latest is that, beginning last year, a "celebrity week" began, with notables including rapper Snoop Dogg playing the game along with contestants for a week, with any winnings going to charity. Former boy banders Nick and Drew Lachey are among those playing this year.
These things aren't hurting the show where it matters. TPIR recently has been the number one network daytime show on television, the first time since the 1970's that a game show has achieved that. But, to me, and obviously to Goodson and Barker in their time, it's a players show, where the common man/woman shines, and not one that works with famous people playing along. That's considering all game shows these days, from Jeopardy! to Who Wants To Be A Millionaire have "celebrity editions", and there are are endless celebrity reality shows on the air.
But Mark Goodson knew he made a mistake putting celebs on Price, and never tried that again.
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