Stewart, creator of TV game shows, dies at 91
LOS ANGELES – Bob Stewart, a television producer who created such popular game shows as “To Tell the Truth,” “The $10,000 Pyramid,” and the enduring daytime hit “The Price Is Right,” has died. He was 91.
Stewart died Friday of natural causes at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said a son, Sande.
“He was brilliant at creating game shows that America gravitated to,” said Fred Wostbrock, a friend and game-show historian.
He kick-started his career in 1956 when Monty Hall, then trying to break through as a game-show host, arranged for Stewart to meet with Mark Goodson of Goodson-Todman Productions, the company that came up with the prototype for the TV game show.
Goodson initially rejected Stewart’s first idea, “Three of a Kind,” which he described as a show featuring three contestants claiming to be the same person and a panel trying to ferret out the truth. When Goodson asked if he had anything else, Stewart mentioned “The Auctioneer,” which was based on guessing the cost of consumer products.
On the spot, Goodson green-lighted the second pitch, which became the landmark game show “The Price Is Right.” It made its debut on NBC in 1956 with Bill Cullen as host and moved to CBS in 1972 with Bob Barker as the longtime emcee. Drew Carey has been the host since 2007.
“Three of a Kind” became “To Tell The Truth,” which also premiered in 1956, on CBS. In 1964, Stewart formed his own production company and had his greatest success with “The $10,000 Pyramid.” It first appeared in 1973 and over time was packaged in increasing dollar amounts that crested with “The $100,000 Pyramid.” A version simply called “Pyramid” left the air in 2004.
Through his company, Stewart created 15 shows before retiring in 1991. Asked in 2008 how he would like to be remembered, Stewart – known for his wit and wordplay – responded: “Occasionally.”