Charlotte Miller, come on down: UB softball pitcher appears on The Price is Right

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When the softball team found out it would be attending a March taping of The Price is Right on CBS this past spring break, freshman pitcher Charlotte Miller was one of the most excited players.

When she was younger, Miller used to watch the game show whenever she had the chance, but stopped to focus on her academic and athletic career. In the weeks leading up to the taping, Miller decided to watch some episodes so she could “get a sense of what I was getting myself into.”

Miller almost got herself into a brand-new car.

The softball team attended a taping of The Price is Right on March 16 and the episode aired nationally this past Friday on CBS. Miller advanced to the championship round – the “Showcase Showdown.” Miller and the rest of the Bulls were playing a series of games in Los Angeles, California, where the taping of the show takes place.

“It was absolutely unforgettable,” Miller said. “My adrenaline was going crazy. It was so much to take in at one time.”

Before the taping began, each member of the audience went through an interview process with the producers to determine who would appear on the show. The process was roughly three hours, leaving some of the potential contestants and some of Miller’s teammates and coaches restless and tired.

Not Miller.

“They said the minute we walked in to be enthusiastic,” Miller said. “We were enthusiastic. We were ourselves. It was a place where you were yourself. You didn’t hold anything back … They wanted us to show our crazy side. I was like, ‘I have a crazy side, and it’s coming out.’”

The producers liked Miller’s interview, as she was chosen to appear on the show.

At first, Miller didn’t hear her name called. Her teammates were the first ones to hear Miller’s name and frantically told her to “run up” to the main stage and take her place at the open podium.

In order to get on to the game show portion of the program, Miller and three other contestants bid against each other on a particular product and the player who guessed closest to the actual retail price without going over advanced to the game show.

For Miller, it was a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes. The shoes retailed at $1,533 and she was the closest with a guess of $1,100.

She hugged host Drew Carey when she arrived on the stage – a moment in which Miller said she was in “complete shock." Miller originally thought Carey was going to be different once the cameras stopped rolling during the commercial break, but was pleasantly surprised with his larger-than-life persona and willingness to find out about her life. He was also impressed with her style, which mimics his own.

“He actually had a conversation with me when we went to commercial break,” Miller said. “He asked me about my major. He asked me about school, home, who I was here with, where I was from. He also had the same glasses as me. He liked them a lot and he asked me where I got them from.”

Miller was told she could win three prizes – a curling iron, a foosball table and a pair of cameras. But her biggest shock happened when she found out she was also competing for a brand-new Fiat 500.

“When they showed that I could have possibly won a car, my heart sunk into my stomach,” Miller said. “It was a crazy feeling. Immediately, I looked at my coaches and teammates and asked them how much they thought it was.”

The game was called “Line 'Em Up,” where the contestant is shown a board that displays the first and last digits of the price of the car. In between the digits are the prices of the three smaller prizes, which Miller had to horizontally slide into place for what she thought was the price of the car.

Miller guessed the price of the car to be $18,724 the first time, then $19,754 on her second estimate, but was incorrect both times. Nonetheless, her participation alone automatically advanced her to “The Big Wheel,” which determines who will go on to play in “Showcase Showdown.”

The “Big Wheel” is a giant roulette wheel with denominations of five, ranging from 5 cents to $1. In order to win, contestants must spin the wheel either once or twice to get the closest to $1 without going over.

Miller spun twice and accumulated 95 cents on the wheel – advancing her to the “Showcase Showdown.”

Miller’s “showcase” consisted of a trip to Alaska, a desktop computer and a sailboat, which she priced at $18,500. The actual cost of the package was $22,313 – nearly $4,000 off of the price. Her opponent, and the eventual winner, was off by $430.

Although Miller walked away empty-handed, she called the experience “humbling and exciting” and enjoyed the experience with her “second family.”

“The fact that I shared it with my second family, it’s the greatest feeling ever,” Miller said. “It’s something that I’ll never forget. Even though I didn’t win anything, just the fact that I got called up and my name was said, that’s the biggest gift that could have been give to me.”

Jordan Grossman is a senior sports editor and can be reached at jordan.grossman@ubspectrum.com