For Smithfield woman, ‘The Price is Right’

01/06/2014 9:56 AM

01/06/2014 9:58 AM

A Johnston County woman will appear this week on “The Price Is Right.”

Suzanne Johnson lives in Smithfield but grew up in Kenly. She and her husband, Kim, have been married for 29 years. They have two sons in their 20s. Johnson was on a trip to Los Angeles with coworkers when one suggested they go to a taping of “The Price Is Right.”

“I grew up watching it,” she said. “I always dreamed of being on the show, but you just don’t ever think that it would work out or the opportunity would come.” The episode will air at 11 a.m. Tuesday on CBS.

Johnson said she and her coworkers bought tickets for a taping on Oct. 8. Buying a ticket simply meant they were part of a group of 300 people in the studio; whether they ended up on stage was up to the show’s staff.

“You go through different stages of the show, from getting your name tag to getting your picture made with your group,” Johnson said.

Each audience member receives a number; Johnson’s was 144. “And then they put you in groups of 20, and one of the show staff comes out and talks to your group for maybe two to three minutes, no longer,” she said.

Based on answers to its questions, the show’s staff then chooses who to call out for the classic “Come on down” moment. Johnson said she can’t remember what the show’s staff asked her and her group. “It’s just so quick, you don’t know that that’s what’s going on at the time,” she said. “They’re just entertaining and very accommodating and fun, and you don’t realize exactly ... how they decide who they’re going invite down.”

Until the episode airs. Johnson can’t say much about her experience, including whether she won anything. But she can say she got to spin the Big Wheel for a chance to appear in the Showcase at the end of the show.

“Drew (Carey) is very fun, entertaining,” Johnson said. “He was also very calming. He would ask me questions, and he just carried on a very normal conversation.”

Carey kept the conversation natural while also keeping her comfortable, Johnson said. “Because it’s very nervous being up there,” she said. “You’re kind of like, Is this really happening?”

Johnson said she’s looking forward to watching the show on TV. She said the experience was “one big rush.”

Everything happened so fast she can’t remember all of the details, Johnson said. “So I’m a little bit hesitant and a little bit excited about seeing what it ends up,” she said.

The experience was an exciting one, Johnson said, and she recommends going to a taping. “It’s very loud, and there’s just so much energy there,” she said. “It’s a lifetime memory.”

When Johnson got home, she told her husband all about the taping. But because his wife had to keep the specifics to herself, “when I see it on television, I’ll believe it,” he said.

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