I’m not sure how we reached a point in this country at which we actively began spending so much time looking for things that offend us, but now, it seems, that even America’s longest-running game show, The Price is Right has become caught up in a controversy involving Hurricane Katrina.
Casual viewers may not be aware of the fact that ‘Price’ airs reruns during the summer months. This is a practice that has been going on since the 1980s. Later this month, the show will kick off its 34th season on CBS.
Earlier this week, one of the programs that aired featured a trip to New Orleans in one of the showcases. That program originally aired in December and was likely taped last November or so. As soon as CBS realized that prize was contained in the show, it quickly substituted the episode for the west coast feed, but not before being accused of being “insensitive” to Katrina victims.
Those of you who know me know that I love The Price is Right. It’s one of the last of the classic game shows, from the heyday of the era when game shows like Match Game and Hollywood Squares dominated the 1970s and just gave viewers a getaway in daytime that didn’t involve anything but fun. It is not representative of what too many game shows these days have tried to become: some dark, Armageddon-looking reality series with lots of dramatic lighting and music and disgusting things for contestants to eat.
But my affection for The Price is Right aside, it’s just a game show!
Why didn’t CBS make every attempt to pull all of the episodes that contained trips to New Orleans, which is a fairly popular prize on the show? They did. They apparently missed one. How? Simple: the Network’s programming department deals with episode numbers and times the length of commercial breaks and segments of the show. Those who schedule episodes don’t keep up with a long list of every prize involved in the show. Those who produce the show do, but they’re not with CBS. Somehow, either someone at the Network who screened the episodes missed the trip, or someone who provided the Network with the list of production numbers that contained that prize missed one. Or maybe someone had the list and just misread a tape label.
However it happened, it happened.
A spokesman for the Network — yes, some were apparently so upset that this required a spokesman — said:
“Trips to New Orleans are frequently offered as travel prizes on ‘The Price Is Right.’ Out of consideration for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, we made every effort to pull all repeat episodes from circulation that feature trips to New Orleans.
“However, this one episode was unfortunately overlooked … and the content of all other episodes scheduled for rebroadcast has been carefully reviewed to prevent this from recurring. Our thoughts and prayers are with the brave citizens of the Gulf Coast.”
There are people in New Orleans who still haven’t left their homes. There are people throughout Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama that don’t have homes to return to. And people are worrying about a prize in The Price is Right? That’s keeping one’s priorities straight, isn’t it!
If the people who were “offended” by seeing mention of New Orleans in that episode would have spent as much effort contributing to relief efforts and helping encourage others to do the same, rather than just getting bent out of shape, I would think much more would have been accomplished.