A TV Weatherman’s Second Life

This isn’t really about meteorology. It’s about Terry Kneiss, the only contestant in the history of The Price Is Right to ever exactly guess the value of the Showcase in the Showcase Showdown.

A former TV weatherman, Kneiss was known for being more accurate than most thanks to the way his brain worked—he was able to memorize weather combinations, causes and effects. He won two regional Emmy Awards in 1993 and 1994.

His brain also made him an ace at blackjack, and at memorizing prizes on The Price Is Right.

“Good TV is rehearsed TV,” Terry likes to say. For four months during the summer of 2008, they recorded The Price Is Right every morning and watched it together in bed every night, Terry hunting for patterns and Linda doing the math. It didn’t take long for them to find their edge. In The Price Is Right’s greatest strength, he and Linda also found its greatest weakness: It had survived all those years because it seemed never to change. Even when Drew Carey replaced Bob Barker — the show’s own version of Vatican II — he rocked a similar skinny microphone. Behind all the screaming and seeming chaos, there was a precise and nostalgic order. Terry says he first sat upright in bed when a distinctive grill called the Big Green Egg came up for bid again and again. It was always $1,175.

Esquire tells the story of how it went down here.