Erin Atchley, an English and creative writing teacher at Central High School, will be a contestant on Tuesday's installment of "The Price Is Right."
Also an aspiring writer, Atchley said she and her husband, Matthew, (also a writer) were in California for 2012's Comic-Con in San Diego, "trying to get our work out there" and decided to attend some television tapings.
"We're big fans of 'The Drew Carey Show,' and Craig Ferguson (who got his start on "The Drew Carey Show")," said Erin, "and my husband had done a piece of artwork to present to Craig Ferguson, and we thought 'Hey, while we're out here, let's see if we can get some tickets for "The Price Is Right" too, and we can meet 'em both!' ... We didn't think we'd actually get to meet them AND get called up on stage!"
The couple attended a taping of "The Late Late Show" and met Ferguson. "We got to sit on the front row, and he was super-nice," she said.
Her appearance on "The Price Is Right" started early. "We got there about 5:30 in the morning, but we were some of the first ones in line. ... But there were over 300 people there to be on the show when it was all said and done."
At 8:30 a.m., the doors opened, but there was still more waiting. Erin said the audience was served lunch while they waited, and then came the interview process.
"Out of 300 people, they only pick nine and you know, going through, that you've got to make yourself memorable. ... They asked me which prize you'd most like to win, and I heard everyone keep saying a car and I told them I'd like to win a couch because we have no couch. (Laughs) I told them that I was a teacher and we were both starving artists! (Laughs again)
"They said, 'OK, so if we offered you a car, you'd be disappointed?' And I said, 'No, no, no, I wouldn't be disappointed but I really need the couch. If you'd give us a car that would be big enough to stuff the couch in the back, that would be best!' "
After the interview process, Erin said there was even more waiting, then finally the crowd was allowed into the studio.
Some good-natured teasing by her husband amped up her nerves a bit.
"He said, 'You know you're gonna get called down, don't you? ... You know this is one of the top-watched television shows in the country, and you're wearing sandals. ... You're gonna trip and fall on national television.' And then they called my name." (Laughs)
While Erin can't talk on how she fared on the game show, she did reveal what game she played. She competed on the "Race Game," where a contestant has four prizes and four separate price tags, and must place the proper price tag on the corresponding prize.
"The Price Is Right" airs at 11 a.m. weekdays on WVLT, Channel 8.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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