They Have To Be Obsessive About Even The Appearance Of Cheating
Every reality and game show is fake to a degree. On the same channel where you watched The Price Is Right, you could then see Jerry Springer staging fights, or "judge" shows that clearly aren't depicting actual courtrooms (how those work could be a whole separate article, and maybe will be). But if a game show tried to pull that s**t -- like if they wanted to make sure the most likable contestants won the cash -- they could expect a squad of federal agents to kick down the door.
That's because in the 1950s, there was a huge quiz show called the The $64,000 Question, which turned out to be rigged (one contestant got all the answers in advance). Today, every single game show is monitored by the FCC. There are lawyers, standards, and practices -- the whole shebang behind each show. And if things aren't perfectly on the level, all hell breaks loose.
"One time a female contestant said '859' for a bid," Ned says, "and [Bob] Barker heard her as saying '809,' so '809' went up instead. The next guy went '810' and won the round with the highest correct bid. I was up in the control booth at the time and everyone was freaking the hell out. Lawyers were shouting into phones, people over the radio we saying, 'He said the wrong number! What the hell are we going to do!'
By happenstance the woman won the next round, eventually won the entire showcase, and walked out with a ton of money, so she didn't complain. After that, everyone got together and decided not to air the episode, as it would make the show look like there was some sort of cheating or favoritism involved, so they scrapped it so the FCC would not hammer down."