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  • Writer's picture@ Cynthia Adina Kirkwood

Portugal’s ‘Price Is Right’ Hits 4,000th Show

Presenter Fernando Mendes (Photo from Boa Onda, Correio da Manhã)


The host of the television-ratings phenomenon, O Preço Certo, commended the game-show team -- “I don’t do this alone” -- and the contestants -- “this program is also about the people” -- for its longevity.


“Four thousand shows represent more than 20 years of the program – 20 and a half, to be more precise – and a lot of contentment. It’s a program that I’ve enjoyed doing since Day One,” Fernando Mendes told Boa Onda, Correio da Manhã (May 17) in an exclusive interview before the milestone transmission on May 18th.


The presenter, who does not use a teleprompter, said that he gives contestants free rein: they say what they want, send kisses, sing a fado, recite a poem. “Then, we have music, people dancing and everything about this makes the program what it is, even 20 years later.” Guests introduce themselves by name and their hometown. They always bring gifts, some more unusual than others, “so many things.


“Craft with my face. Paintings, statues and cakes with my face! They even brought me a live chicken that walked around the studio! And a live lobster! The chicken went to a farm with animals. The lobster went into a pan.”


O Preço Certo, which still has contest assistants, is shown on RTP1 on weekdays at 7 p.m. It is one of several worldwide adaptations of the original North American version. The Portuguese show is produced by FremantleMedia Portugal.


Son of the late actor, Vítor Mendes, Fernando described himself as “an actor, good or bad, it doesn’t matter, but that’s what I am”. He said that his first Preço Certo shows were “really bad. But that’s where I changed. This program has a live audience, and that is essential for an actor.


“I realized that I had to be the one to change that dynamic. There was an Englishman who came here to see me doing the program. He told me that I had to be strict when presenting the games because people might complain later that they hadn’t won because of me.


“But the truth is that he then removed the presenters from the other nine countries where the program also existed at the time and added comedians! He realized that there was a ‘fat guy’ in Portugal who actually did the show with jokes because before that it was dry.”


The very young to the very old tune into O Preço Certo. Their affection often leaves the 61-year-old presenter “with tears in the corner of his eyes”.


“Old people often tell me: ‘Now I can die because I’ve seen you’ or ‘because I’ve given you a kiss already’. Children say, ‘Thank you for keeping my grandparents company’.


“After 20 years, we can see the passage from generation to generation. Currently, I’m catching a lot of young people here who watched the program when they came home from school with their grandparents and now come here to compete.”


“I bring you a dance song, in homage to the genre that I have heard and danced to since I was a child at the many festivals, parties and summer dances. This song is a celebration: having the life I have right now and being happy with the people I love is like winning the final showcase of O Preço Certo,” Pedro Mafama told Expresso (April 29, 2023).


He “caught” Pedro Mafama, 32, who released an album with the single Preço Certo, which reached Number 2 last year in the Portuguese Singles Chart. The video portrays the singer as a pretend contestant and reveals a glimpse of the program. Fernando Mendes said that he likes the song.


“I think it’s very good. Hats off to him for having the intelligence to use such a popular program to make his song.”


For the past five years, Mendes has been performing his theater piece, Insónia (Insomnia), on weekends throughout the country. The serious comedic monologue is about a wine vendor who lives alone because his wife left him. Yet, the actor admits that his role on O Preço Certo has stereotyped him.


“It’s been 20 years of doing the same thing. I will always be Fernando Mendes from Preço Certo. Sometimes, people don’t even know my name. It’s ‘that fat guy from the afternoon show’. And I don’t mind that at all.”


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