Toomsuba, Miss., Resident Ikeisha Baker found herself standing in front of Studio 33 at Television City Studios in Los Angeles, Cal. A group of television producers and assistants took her and others inside, where she participated in a brief exercise to gauge the potential competitors’ energy levels before filming began.
After getting the go-ahead, Baker walked through the studio doors and saw a series of bright lights and a wash of turquoise inside the set.
Baker, who took his seat with the other audience, waited breathlessly as the other three went on stage before the twins. Finally, when it was time for the announcement of the fourth contestant, Baker heard words suggesting one of her childhood dreams come true.
“Ikeisha Baker, come on down!” The voice of the preacher George Gray yelled. “The Price Is Right!” You’re the next contestant!
“When I jumped up and started running to the platform, I felt like I was developing a tunnel vision,” Baker says. “I heard audiences cheering and shouting around me and everything seemed to be moving fast around me. Getting there and going on stage has always been a bucket list item for me. I can never forget the experience of participating in something I grew up with, my parents and grandparents.
Tidy childhood memories
As a child, Baker watched “The Price Is Right” with her mother Andrea Johnson and her grandmother Helen Dotson whenever the show was on. Baker says the family loved to share in the thrill of going for a grand prize, watching competitors play games like Plinko and Cliffhanger, and scanning audiences to find people with messages written on their shirts. When her grandmother passed away, Baker’s mother still watches the show every day and sat in the audience for the filming of her daughter’s participation.
“The Price Is Right,” which requires competitors to predict the price of goods to win cash and prizes, premiered on CBS on September 4, 1972 and is one of the longest-running game shows in the United States. Radio and television personality Bob Barker, who previously hosted “Truth or Impact” from 1956 to 1975, hosted the program from 1972 to 2007. Actor and comedian Drew Carey has hosted the event since his retirement.
“Growing up watching the show, I always thought, ‘I can do it; I can win it,'” Baker says. “At home, it’s always easy to say such things, but I always suspect that doing it in person is probably different. When I experienced how fast everything was, I found out I was right.
Travel to Los Angeles
Baker’s journey towards competing in “The Price Is Right” began with filing an online petition for a CBS-affiliated casting company that featured interesting life experiences and questions about the applicant’s fondest memories. After receiving the application, the company had to arrange an appointment for a zoom interview with a representative of the Baker Agency.
“I told them during my interview when I was a kid growing up in Michigan, and a friend gave me the courage to go back to their home and without shoes on a snowy day,” says Baker. “I remember the agent I was talking to asked me if I was too powerful all the time. I said to him, ‘Yeah, that’s all I am.’
With her interview successful, Baker was forced to return the negative COVID-19 test, after which she received a date and time email for the recording to attend Los Angeles. Getting there, however, proved to be an ordeal in itself. Baker was scheduled to take a flight from New Orleans to travel to Los Angeles, but a text message about two hours before her scheduled departure time derailed her plans.
“The combination of pilot shortage and adverse weather conditions caused the aircraft to suddenly be canceled,” says Baker. “I was on my way to New Orleans in my car, and when I asked, I was about to get out of the way. I called my mother to come to the gas station and figure out what to do.
“We found out that there was another flight from Atlanta to Los Angeles at 7:30 pm, so I changed direction and headed out,” he explains. “It was a three-hour drive from there, but I decided I wanted to be on this show.”
Baker in the spotlight
When Ikeisha Baker took the stage at the “Price is right” studio, she was one of four players assigned to bid on the prize without exceeding its suggested retail price. She bid $ 749 on a stainless-steel dishwasher that made $ 750 and moved on to the next round.
Baker later played a game called “Off”, which included $ 10,000 cash prizes hidden in 16 boxes and three pairs of small prizes. Each pair has a prize of the right price and the other has cut its price in half. Each time a contestant selects a half-price prize, they win the pair of prizes and the remaining half of the boxes are removed. After receiving three prize pairs, the contestant will have a chance to choose the right box and win $ 10,000.
“They brought out things like grilled-cheese makers and tool sets and helped me figure out the prices to get rid of the boxes,” says Baker. “It was about eight boxes left, and I had to pick one. Apparently my mom told the attendant, ‘Pick 16!’ But all the other people cheering for different numbers drowned it in. I chose something else, but eventually it was $ 10,000 at 16, so she was right.
In the end, Baker did not advance to the show’s final show, but she walked away with a dishwasher, grilled cheese maker, a toolset and other prizes. Nevertheless, she says the thrill of being able to be on the show was enough for her.
“When it was over, at first I was thinking, ‘Oh, if I only picked the number 16, I would have $ 10,000, and it was playing in my head for a minute,'” says Baker. “Still, the excitement still lingered after that. In addition, I met Drew Carey as part of the shoot. He was energetic but down to earth and managed to get the crowd to walk in the park for him.
As part of Baker’s travel package for appearing on “The Price Is Right,” he visited Hollywood, California, went on a celebrity house tour, and “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Participated in the shooting. Actor Idris Elba made a guest appearance on the show.
“What’s really amazing to me after all this is finding out how many people I know still watch ‘The Price Is Right’,” says Baker. “I knew that my mother did, of course, but I have been receiving numerous Facebook and text messages from friends and family who have seen me and recorded it since the episode aired. It seems to be one of the most timeless shows ever.
Baker works as a senior recovery support manager at Toomsuba, a small community approximately 13 miles northeast of Meridian. He previously worked as a radio-show host for HOT 107.5 in Detroit, Mich. On Streets Live, in which she interviewed local music artists in Detroit and played her music from 2010 to 2019. He then worked briefly for Radio 1 Detroit and iHeartMedia before moving to Toomesuba in 2020.
Baker’s “The Price Is Right” episode aired Thursday, June 9, 2022. To view the full episode online, visit CBS Website.