Exclusive: Price Is Right Live host Todd Newton chats about Bob Barker, his love of game shows
Touring game show rolls into Great Falls on Wednesday
Great Falls will come on down Wednesday evening to the Mansfield Center where several lucky audience members will get to play for cash and prizes at the “Price Is Right Live!” show starring Todd Newton. The fun starts at 7:30 p.m.
Newton has been hosting the live version of the popular television game show since 2003. He started with the show in Reno and soon moved to Las Vegas before taking it across the US and Canada.
In an exclusive interview with Big Sky State Buzz, he chats with us about why Price Is Right has endured for as long as it has, and why he thinks Bob Barker is the greatest game-show host of all time.
Big Sky State Buzz: Todd, thank you so much for chatting with us. We’re huge fans of the show. I know this isn’t the first time you’ve been to Montana, what was it like the last time you came through the Treasure State?
Todd Newton: We had the good fortune of traveling through Montana before on the 2014 tour and the weather was a little hectic and crazy, but the good people of Montana came out and showed us what that game-show magic is all about. I’m looking forward to coming back and doing it right again. We’re having a great tour thus far and I know it’s going to continue.
BSSB: One of the cool things of your job has to be that you’re always around people who are winning awesome prizes. What’s it like for you to be around that energy on a daily basis, and does it ever get old?
TN: No, I don’t think it does. The key to being a good game-show host is that you want it all to be about that special moment for the contestant and I’m very fortunate in the fact that I get to walk on beautiful stages across the country every night to do what I want for a living. For the contestant, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience much like the holidays like Christmas seen through the eyes of children. It gives you a new perspective, appreciation and excitement level that goes through the roof and I just love being there when that person wins a great prize, whether it’s cash, a car, kitchen appliances or whatever. I love there getting to be a part of it. I don’t think there’s anything else I’d rather do.
BSSB: It’s impossible to talk about Price Is Right without talking about Bob Barker. You’ve gotten pretty close to him over the years, what’s it been like getting to know him, and what his personality and energy added to the show for so very long?
TN: Well Bob’s been very good to me over the years. Back in 2003 I was hosting a show “Whammy!” and he saw what I was doing and started taking me under his wing. He recognized that I loved game show hosting, it wasn’t a stepping-stone for me to do something else, hosting was the top of the mountain and I wanted to be the best game-show host I could be. But, what made Bob so great was that he always, always made it about the contestant. That’s one of the things he taught me – every contestant has a background. There’s a big difference saying “Alright, this is Helen from Montana playing for $10,000″ and ‘This is Helen, a retired postal worker from Deer Lodge, Montana, who dreams of putting her 6 grandchildren through college.’
Bob was always giving the audience someone to root for, he mastered that like no one else ever has. Every day on TV, or on stage, Bob nailed it. He was the Babe Ruth of game-show hosting.
BSSB: It also helps that Price Is Right is such a unique game to watch, and play. What do you think has made it successful for so long?
TN: It’s longevity is a true testament to the quality of the games. One of the major appeals of the Price Is Right is fact that it isn’t just one game, it’s one game after another. There’s over 85 different pricing games on the TV show. When we come to towns, we try to play as many of the favorites as we can. Coming to Price Is Right Live is like seeing your favorite band on tour, they’re only playing their greatest hits. We can’t bring all 85 games on the road with us, but we do play the favorites and we like to think that people don’t leave the show disappointed.
BSSB: What are some of your favorite pricing games?
TN: I enjoy the classics — Cliffhanger and Plinko, but I’m currently obsessed with Hole in One. I haven’t sunk a putt on stage in a week-and-a-half now, so I may be finding a sporting-good store and start working on my putting on the tour bus. I do appreciate every game, though, truthfully. Some games have bigger prizes than others, and some games have such a history on the show so I try to share that history wit the audience.
BSSB: You know with Hole in One, I hardly can remember a time when Bob Barker would miss a putt, that always kind of amazed me too.
TN: Definitely. The man could putt!
BSSB: When you’re not hosting the Price Is Right Tour, you’re also a motivational speaker. What’s some of the greatest advice you’ve ever gotten in your life?
TN: Well, I believe in choosing the path you want to take and pursuing it with everything you’ve got. I tell that to everyone. I knew from the age of 13 that being a TV host was what I wanted to do. I didn’t have it narrowed down to game shows, I also admired people like Johnny Carson, Richard Dawson or Gene Rayburn, Walter Cronkite. I think though, the greatest thing you can do is to find what you love and don’t give up, even when it gets hard, because it will, eventually.
BSSB: That’s some great advice, if I do say so myself. Thank you for chatting with us Todd, what are you looking forward to most at Wednesday show?
TN: It has to be being around the people. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but there really is something magical about it. It’s such a positive environment because it’s thousands of people rooting for someone they’ve never met and will never see again but they genuinely want this person to win and do the best they can. That to me always inspires me, no matter where I’m at.
Tickets to see The Price Is Right Live are $45.50 and $65.50 per person. You can purchase them online here or by phone at 455-8514.