One Bid

One Bid

One Bid is a four-contestant qualifying game played on the television game show "The Price Is Right". The official titlecite web
title=Q&A with the Producers
publisher=CBS Daytime
work="The Price Is Right" official site
] is only occasionally used on the show, but it is more often referred to as Contestants' Row, after the location in which it takes place, or after its introduction by the host as, "the next item up for bids". In an hour-long show, six games of One Bid are played. Under the original half-hour format, only three games of One Bid were played.

This game format originated on the 1956 version of "The Price Is Right" hosted by Bill Cullen. Bidding as in One Bid was the primary gameplay on that version of the show. One Bid, however, is best known as a qualifying round established on on the 1972 revival hosted by Bob Barker until 2007, and is now hosted by Drew Carey. International versions tend to follow the 1972 format presented in this article. Along with The Showcase, One Bid is an element of game play featured in virtually all versions of "The Price Is Right" since the original.


Contestants' Row

Contestants' Row is a row of four seats in the front row of the audience. The four contestants playing One Bid stand in front of these seats where a microphone is placed for each of them atop four-digit display screens that show the contestants' bids in the game.

At the beginning of each episode, the show's announcer calls the names of four audience members who become the first four contestants in Contestants' Row for the first One Bid. The first four contestants may stand in any order they work out amongst themselves, but once set, they remain in their positions for the rest of the show unless they win a One Bid round, in which case they advance out of Contestants' Row.

For each subsequent round, the announcer calls one name from the audience to fill the vacant spot left by the winner of the previous round, with the other contestants retaining their same positions.


Once settled, the four contestants are shown a prize or prize package. Beginning with the contestant in left-most position (from the point of view of the stage), and going in order to the right, each player announces a bid for the prize. The only rule governing the bids is they must be in whole dollars, and must be different than the bids of any preceding bidders. Once the four bids are given, the host reads the actual retail price of the prize; whoever has bid closest, without going over, wins the prize and goes onstage to play a pricing game. The prizes could be valued anywhere from $1 to $9,999; in practice, however, modern prizes are rarely priced outside the $500-$4,000 range. Regardless of whether they win or lose their pricing game, the prize they won in the One Bid is theirs to keep.

If all four contestants overbid, a buzzer sounds before the price is revealed. The bids are erased, and the bidding process is repeated in the same manner, with the contestants instructed to bid lower than the lowest of the original bids. This process can be repeated until at least one contestant has bid below the actual price of the prize. Because of time constraints, multiple overbids may be edited out of the final broadcast.

If one of the contestants bids exactly the price of the item, including in a re-bid, a bell rings before the price is revealed. This is referred to as a "perfect bid," and the winner is awarded a $500 bonus.

The gameplay for the five subsequent rounds is identical to the first, except that bidding begins with the contestant called down, and proceeds in order to the right circling around to the left-most contestant after the right-most has bid. Any re-bids are done in the same order as the first bid.

The three contestants who have not won at the end of the final One Bid round receive two consolation prizes, which are announced before the second Showcase Showdown. All contestants who are called down to Contestants' Row, including those who do not win a One Bid round, become ineligible to be a contestant on any future episode of "The Price Is Right", as of November 13, 2007, for ten years. [ [ FrancisPage - Christopher Francis of Tucson, Arizona ] ]

Previously, any one individual could be a contestant on "The Price is Right" only once in a lifetime, but with the institution of the ten-year eligibility rule, anyone who had appeared as a contestant prior to November 13, 1997 became eligible again. At least two contestants have appeared on the show twice under the new eligibility rules, the first in January 2008 and the second on September 22, 2008.

History and behind the scenes

The name "One Bid" is a relic from the original version of the show; in that show, there were two types of bidding-- auction-style bids, where each contestant had to bid a set amount higher than the one before, and "one bid," where they had one bid to get as close to the actual retail price as possible without going over, with only one bid. The "one bid" format was carried over, virtually intact, when the New Price is Right made its debut in 1972.

Original announcer Johnny Olson for the 1972 version of the show made famous his call of " [contestant's name] , come on down! You're the next contestant on "The Price Is Right"!" (using "The New Price Is Right" until the "New" was dropped from the title) when calling an audience member to play the One Bid round. Later announcers Rod Roddy (1986-2003) and Rich Fields (2004-present) have carried on using the catch phrase during their tenures.

The bonus for a perfect bid was introduced in 1977 at a value of $100. The 1985 syndicated series raised the value to $500. The daytime series was later raised to that value in November 1998. The "$1,000,000 Spectacular" programs raised the bonus to $1,000.

Before the scandals involving Bob and Dian, female contestants who won the $100 bonus (as it was back then) were instructed to take it out of Bob's suit jacket pocket, which was referred to as the "hundred-dollar pocket."

Contestants who remained in Contestants' Row at the end of the show were originally given only one consolation prize. The number was increased to three at one point, but then reduced to two in 2000.

Yolanda Bowersley incident

" ranked it as the 19th most unexpected moment in television history. [cite press release
title= TV Guide and TV Land Join Forces To Count Down The 100 Most Unexpected TV Moments
publisher= PR Newswire
date= 2005-12-01
accessdate= 2007-04-13


An aware contestant has a greater advantage the later their turn is in One Bid. Thus, the latest contestant to arrive is given the weakest position of bidding first.

Two competitive bidding strategies have emerged amongst contestants. The first is to bid $1. This strategy is used when a bidder believes the price is lower than the lowest previous bid, as it allows them the greatest possible range of winning prices. Occasionally other very low values are bid with the same goal, as the price for a modern One Bid prize is never below $100; but $1 is the most common and famed. This strategy is typically used by the final bidder, but is sometimes used by previous bidders; however, this opens up the possibility of the second strategy being used against them.

The second strategy is bidding $1 higher than a previous bid. This allows the maximum possible range of prices that will lead to a win for the player, and effectively eliminates the previous bidder from the competition, unless they have made a perfect bid. This strategy is also most commonly used by the final contestant, but is more often used by previous contestants than the first strategy; this too leaves them open to the possibility of having subsequent bidders bid another $1 higher than them. On several occasions, the four bidders have each bid $1 higher than the last, resulting in an assured winner, once neither the bells for a perfect bid nor the buzzer for an all-overbid has sounded.

The strategy of bidding $1 higher than a previous bid was spoofed in the 2005 "Family Guy" episode The Fat Guy Strangler, in which Barker provides his own voice. In the spoof, a man bids $780, and when the lady who has the last bid asks what the previous bidder bid, she replies $781, to which the man next to her says, "Fuck you!". The obscenity is censored in television airings, but is audible on the DVD uncensored audio track.

Theoretically, these are the "only" two things the last contestant should do to maximize their chance of getting up on stage. However, unlike "Wheel of Fortune"'s "Used Letter Board", there is no display other than the ones in front of the contestants that keeps record of the previous bids. Therefore, if the contestant could not hear the other bids, they can ask the host for the bids (often employing "strategy" afterwards), but many do not and throw away obvious opportunities, or even use the last bid very badly by bidding $1 "under" a previous bidder, bidding just a bit under a previous bidder, or bidding $1 with an extremely low bid having been placed earlier. One contestant has been recorded to have accidentally bid $1 under instead of $1 over a contestant (as intended), and instead of getting up on stage for the first game, never made it out of Contestants' Row.


One Bid was radically altered for 1994 syndicated edition, and was no longer used to select the players who would play pricing games. Instead, players were called directly upon stage, and after they had played their pricing games, would participate in The Price WAS Right instead of the Showcase Showdown. In this game, One Bid was played for an old item (which the winning bidder did not win or keep) as revealed in an original commercial for the item. (For the last three weeks of the series, after the staff ran out of commercials, One Bid was eliminated altogether.)

Many, if not all, versions of "The Price Is Right" outside the US feature One Bid, with the same rules, except for different awards for a perfect bid (or no bonus at all). Some Contestants' Row displays even have video screens (as used on the UK's "Bruce's Price is Right" and the recent Australian version in 2003) to display bids instead of toteboards (the traditional toteboard on the US version was manufactured in the 1970's, and is no longer manufactured). Most other versions still have bonuses worth 100 units of the local currency (i.e. £100 on the UK versions or $100 on the Australian versions), or whatever is equal to US$100. (Of note is that international versions of TPiR rarely have One Bid prizes worth more than 1,000 units of the local currency, or whatever equals US$1,000)


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