In a rare lawsuit against the show that didn't end in an out-of-court settlement, a former model on CBS's The Price Is Right was awarded nearly $777,000 by a Los Angeles jury on Tuesday.
Accusing the game show of discrimination due to her pregnancy, Brandi claimed that the producers of the venerable daytime staple did not allow her to return to work in 2010 following her maternity leave. In their defense, FremantleMedia North America and The Price Is Right Productions asserted that they declined to rehire Cochran, now 41, because they were content with the five models on the show at the time—none of whom were approaching 40, by the way. Nevertheless, the Superior Court jury awarded $776,944 to the former model and agreed that her pregnancy was the reason she wasn't brought back.
After beginning deliberations on Thursday, the jurors found themselves deadlocked several times before reaching a verdict. The next phase of the trial will determine if Cochran should also receive the more than $8 million she was seeking for punitive damages.
Expecting to be "fully vindicated" after an appeal, FremantleMedia stood behind executive producer Mike Richards and the show's staff. "We believe the verdict in this case was the result of a flawed process in which the court, among other things, refused to allow the jury to hear and consider that 40 percent of our models have been pregnant," said the company in a statement.
A former Miss USA, Brandi joined The Price Is Right in 2001 as one of the gorgeous models labeled "Barker's Beauties," named for long-time host Bob Barker. In February of 2009, she left the show on maternity leave and gave birth to twins, but when she attempted to resume her position one year later, she was rejected.
I'm no legal expert, but I would tend to think that her age had more to do with the producers' decision than the fact that she was pregnant. The show has had other models return after being pregnant, but how many are still around when they're 40?