‘COME ON DOWN’

Candidates often jump up and down and run and do goodness-knows-what on the long-running game show “The Price Is Right.”

That makes Columbus native Kristen Clark a natural contestant.

Clark is a fitness instructor in Hilton Head, South Carolina, where she is completing a health spa internship. She gets paid to jump up and down a bit and go a little caffeine crazy.

The Ball State University exercise science student did precisely that when selected to come on down during a July taping in Hollywood. In fact, she stepped over the seats in front of her second-row spot to make it to the edge of the stage without following the obligatory path down the small studio’s aisle.

The show featuring her airs at 11 a.m. Monday on CBS. Look for the 21-year-old Clark, clad in a homemade T-shirt reading, “This Hoosier Loves Drew,” to join host Drew Carey onstage.

By agreement with the producers, Clark cannot reveal specifics of her appearance on the program she began watching as an elementary school student with her grandfather, Gene Kruchten. But she could say one thing for certain.

“When you watch the show at home and you might think, ‘Wow, that was a crazy bid. Why would they bid THAT price?’ Well, it’s because your brain turns to mush up there. You’re so excited. You have so much adrenaline.”

After six hours of waiting to get into the overbooked studio, she and a friend almost didn’t make it in. They were among the final three admitted for about 150 available seats.

“Plus, lights and cameras are everywhere,” she said. “Everyone’s yelling, and so you can’t hear anything, and you can’t think anything, and it’s all so crazy and fast-paced.”

To make things tougher, contestants often actually are listening to Carey explain — off the microphone — a game’s rules while the announcer is introducing items over the studio speakers.

Clark and her friend were in California for another internship in Ojai, 90 minutes north of Los Angeles. So they took a couple of days to catch a taping of NBC’s “The Voice” and the game show. Clark laughingly figured one thing going in.

“I really don’t have enough life experience to know how much anything really costs,” she said.

That can be a challenge when contestants are rewarded when “The Price is Right,” which debuted in September 1972 on CBS.

Watch the show

The hourlong episode of “The Price Is Right” featuring Columbus native Kristen Clark as a contestant airs at 11 a.m. Monday on CBS.

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at bblair@therepublic.com or 812-379-5672.