In Philly, men vie for prize of being next ‘Price is Right’ model

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Hundreds of men in Philadelphia lined up to be the next top model on the longest-running, daily TV game show in the world.

“The Price Is Right” came to the local CBS affiliate to host an open-call audition Monday. 

CBS launched “The Price is Right” (with original host Bob Barker) in 1972. Even if you don’t watch, you probably know it’s about guessing the price of common retail products. Contestants who guess correctly could win big prizes.

“Who hasn’t watched ‘The Price Is Right’ growing up?” said Kevin Anthony, a local actor who joined the fray. “It’s kind of freaky to think about being part of that.”

For the first 40 years of the show, the models — showing off everything from shoe polish to washer/dryers to new cars — were always women. The producers hired the first male model, Rob Wilson, in 2012. After two years, he jumped the ship and the network to become part of the NBC soap opera “Days of Our Lives.”

The next male model will be chosen by the public.

Producers conducting the first round of open-call auditions on the sixth floor of the CBS3 building in Philadelphia met a lineup of some pretty raw talent.

“I saw the casting call on their Instagram account,” said Andrew McKenty of West Chester, Pennsylvania, who follows TPIR on social media. “It’s always been a dream job to be a model on ‘The Price is Right.'”

McKenty has no experience acting or modeling, just watching TPIR with his grandmother.

“It’s one of my fondest memories,” said McKenty, who used to sell clothes at Barneys New York. “It was a little time to escape my parents and spend time with my grandmother. We watched it with Bob Barker. Good bonding time.”

Another hopeful, Tony Hom, also has no experience, but the fit, 35-year-old who delivers Chinese food for a South Jersey restaurant believes he has what it takes.

“I feel there aren’t many Asian models out there,” said Hom, who used to work for “Sesame Street” as a computer tech. “You look on TV, and you don’t see Asian models. Maybe that’s what they need.”

Many of the wanna-be models have what might be called the “Rocky” stuff. Sure, they showed up for an audition wearing flip-flops and cargo shorts, but people like Herb Gebhardt, 54, never say die.

“I have something different to bring to the table from the basic standard,” said the co-owner of an overhead door company in Huntingdon Valley. “Something more that the home viewer can associate with: ‘There’s an older guy. If he can do it anyone can do it.'”

Producers from “The Price is Right” are on a multi-city tour to find the best talent to invite to the second round auditions in Los Angeles. From that, three guys will be chosen to appear on the CBS show, “The Talk,” to be vetted. Ultimately, the public will decide who gets the gig.

Anthony, the local actor who felt a little freaky about the audition, has appeared in small roles in films including “In Her Shoes” with Cameron Diaz and “National Treasure” with Nicolas Cage. He believes he has the skills needed to shine on daytime TV.

“You have to hold the merchandise to the left of your face,” said Anthony. “I could be talking about a Pop-Tart. I’m stroking the Pop-Tart from the bottom. Then caress it from the left … that sells it every time. That makes me want to buy the Pop-Tart.”

It will be a couple of weeks until Anthony knows if the show producers will ask him to “come on down!”

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