C'mon Down! Price is Right back in court
Top Model sues over pregnancy discrimination
A model who alleges she was fired from "The Price is Right" because she became pregnant testified today that she worked well with Drew Carey after he took over for longtime host Bob Barker in 2008.
"I loved working with both Drew and Bob," 41-year-old Brandi Cochran told the Los Angeles Superior Court jury hearing trial of her pregnancy discrimination suit against The Price is Right Productions Inc. and FremantleMedia North America Inc.
"You just kind of went with it," she said. "Bob was smooth as silk. Drew would kind of fly by the seat of his pants."
Cochran was a model on the program from 2002 until January 2009, according to the lawsuit she filed in March 2010. She said she worked with Carey from August 2008 until January 2009.
Cochran was expecting twins, but her son was stillborn in February 2009 and her daughter was born prematurely. She testified she had three previous unsuccessful pregnancies from 2005-08 during her tenure on the show. She said she told few people at work about them because she believed a fellow "Price" model, Shane Stirling, was treated like an outcast by the producers when she became an expectant mother.
Cochran maintains she was not allowed to return to the show when she asked to be booked in January 2010 after her pregnancy leave.
Defense attorneys maintain she was not brought back because her Carey's improvisational style was better suited to the pared-down model pool that was in place during her absence.
But Cochran told jurors that the number of models was already reduced from 10 to five before she left to have her baby and that she was one of those who survived the cut. She also said she received constant praise from the show's producers, who considered her part of an "A-team."
Cochran said being a model on a show like "The Price is Right" is hard work.
"I don't pretend we're rocket scientists up there, we're not," she said. "But it can be very technical."
Jurors were shown montages of Cochran working with both Barker and Carey playing roles ranging from a secretary to a seafaring lass, portrayals which required her to make constant costume changes and display various facial expressions.
"If you don't interact with those two, you're in trouble," the former Miss USA said of Barker and Carey. "They are pros. It's a chemistry. I think my pageant background really helped, my dance background, too. I felt at home on the stage."
Cochran said she initially thought the reduction in the number of models was a positive development for her and her colleagues.
"I thought that we were being made a more integral part of the show," she said.
Although defense attorneys maintain the show's models are freelance workers who could be used at the wishes of the producers, Cochran said she considered herself an employee. She said she helped promote the show on national television programs, attended company parties and even had her own parking space.
"A lot of soap stars don't even have assigned parking spots," she said.
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