For most TV viewers, it’s an unfilled dream to be a game show contestant. However, Mike Kallenberger, PharmD, BCPS, is one of the lucky ones. He knows how it feels to be a contestant and a winner on the beloved Price Is Right game show, where contestants compete to win cash and prizes in pricing games. Price Is Right Is America’s longest running game show on daytime TV.
Mike’s brush with TV stardom came on December 3 when he was in Los Angeles for a conference. During an off-day, Mike attended the show with coworkers Megan Musselman, PharmD; Pharmacy Supervisor David Hitchcock, BS; and Megan’s sister, Karrie Derenski, and her coworker, Lauren Lees. The group sported specially-made T-shirts that denoted their Missouri roots: SHOW ME THE MO-NEY nestled in an outline of the state.
Before ever taking their seats, staffers screened them. Mike knew that quirky, funny antics work best. “I asked David if I could jump in his arms,” Mike laughed, “but he said no because he has a back problem.” However, his coworkers gave him a lift by holding him up for a photo. “At the last screening station, I didn’t think I stood a chance. They only asked me my favorite game. They asked everyone else two to three questions,” Mike remembered.
With one game completed, the camera panned the audience for the next contestant. To Mike’s surprise, it was him. “You can’t hear in the audience, so you look for your name on the cue card,” Mike said. “I was in shock.” Mike jumped for joy as he made his way to contestant row, where he didn’t stay long. His guess of $1,250 was the closest for kitchen appliances valued at $1,380.
Mike jumped even more when he got on stage with Host Drew Carey. Mike had to guess which item was incorrectly priced, choosing between a 4K HDTV, a computer and 3D printer, and Valentino shoes and handbags. If he won, he received all three prizes. Mike’s winning ways continued when he correctly guessed the TV. Mike jumped some more and this time he slid on his knees toward his prizes. “I like to be silly at times and make things entertaining,” Mike smiled. “One of my friends noticed I was out of breath from all the jumping!”
Spin Off Time
Mike’s next time on camera was to spin the legendary big wheel. “I always wanted to spin that wheel when I watched the show as a kid,” Mike said. Mike competed against two other contestants for the highest spin total to move to the Showcase Showdown, the holy grail of the show. Mike felt good about his odds with a spin total of 90 out of a possible 100. But, Contestant Kenneth didn’t make it easy and tied with Mike. The two engaged in a Spin Off and Mike got 85 with his spin. “I am still thinking that my odds are good,” Mike said. Kenneth tugged on the wheel and got 95 and his chance at the Showcase Showdown. Mike’s run on the Price Is Right was over.
Contestants, like Mike, are sworn to secrecy and can’t reveal the show’s outcome until it airs or they could forfeit their prizes. Mike’s show aired February 4. Friends and family gathered for a watch party. “My favorite reaction was my grandmother who said, ‘I am so proud of you.’ I hope there are other things she’s proud of,” Mike laughed.