The host of one of TV's happiest game shows talks to EW about the best supermarket strategy and new fans blowing up his social media.

By Omar Sanchez
July 27, 2020 at 03:59 PM EDT
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Okay zoomers, it's time to protect this supermarket daddy at all costs. Talking to EW via his landline, the longtime host of Supermarket Sweep (1990-95, 2000-2003) David Ruprecht says he's recently been flooded with Facebook friend requests, to the point where one fan has even DMed him asking for pictures of his... bare feet!

"It was one of the most bizarre requests I had ever gotten," the 71-year-old, who recently moved to Santa Rosa, Calif., with his wife Patty, says. "In the '90s, we didn't have the social media. I've always had a good fan base!"

Earlier this month, Netflix users were treated to a hidden gem in the game show world: 15 episodes of Supermarket Sweep, a competition set in an actual supermarket that traces its roots back to 1965. The game involves trivia questions that help teams add time to their sweep. A sweep (not to be confused with a mini-sweep) is when a contestant runs into the supermarket to put as many items in their cart as possible, aiming to get the highest total cost to win the day's game. The show is full of smiles, serving viewers with much-needed dopamine to get them through the current pandemic.

A 'Supermarket Sweep' contestant who probably knows way more about generics than your Postmates driver
Netflix

As Desus & Mero writer Ziwe Fumudoh recently noted on Twiter: "I love supermarket sweep everyone looks so happy."

Ruprecht has been away from the Supermarket Sweep limelight for awhile, but that didn't stop us from getting him on the line to ask for the secret to being a big Sweep winner. Ruprecht also puts in his bid to be the upcoming announcer for the Supermarket Sweep revival hosted by Saturday Night Live alum Leslie Jones.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You recently moved from your longtime home in Pasadena to Northern California. Even with the change, have you noticed people coming up to you or reaching out because of the recent Netflix bump? 

DAVID RUPRECHT: Oh yeah! People are just calling me. And they're finding my home number which is a little disconcerting. But luckily anybody who has been interested in me, my fans and stuff, have all been very nice. I haven't had any stalkers. I will say, I've noticed in the last three weeks, my Facebook friend requests. I mean holy s—. Pardon me, but I used to get maybe two or three a week and now I'm getting 20 or 30 a day.

Oh my god, no! Are you actually talking to them? 

On my cell phone, I'm getting all these pop-ups. They keep wanting to know "How are you doing today?" "Where do you live?" "Can I get a picture with you in bare feet?"

Wait, are you being for real right now? 

It was one of the most bizarre requests I had ever gotten. In the '90s, we didn't have the social media. I've always had a good fan base! I really noticed [a fan base] when I was out around the country doing The Price Is Right Live. We always would do a meet and greet afterward and people would just line up forever because of Supermarket Sweep. It was, I mean, there would be hundreds from the audience.

Now watching it blow up on Netflix, is there something that you see in the show that makes it a timeless game show for audiences?

Well, it's hard for me to say since I was there. I do get that a lot from people. I did a radio interview with a Vegas station recently. And they, they were saying it just looks and is so much fun. And it's feel good. I wish I could come up with a National Enquirer scandal story to explain why. But it was really the nicest set. The contestant coordinators were terrific. They kept the contestants happy. You know, these civilians were in a TV studio for 10 hours and you gotta keep them happy and energized.

Do you still have a gripe with the producers for making you run all the way from the back of the set to the front every single show? 

Oh, no not at all. I've always been a jogger. So it was just the opposite. It got my blood flowing.

Did you at any point during your time hosting try to run the course yourself?

No, never! We did over 1,000 shows. We were always busy. The way it was set up, we had to do all six shows in one day, with the first half being the podiums and answering questions. Then everybody takes a lunch break. They rearrange the studio and come back. We do the second half of the six shows where they're running through the supermarket.

What is this I hear about you coming back for the new Supermarket Sweep with Leslie Jones? 

God willing, I will be doing the announcing for Supermarket Sweep. I sent in my tape. Now it's in their hands.

Do you have any advice to newcomers trying to compete to be Supermarket champs? 

Turkeys and hams and briskets of beef are very heavy. Just giving you a little physics lesson. They ring up big, but they're very heavy.

So you're saying they should find something that's smaller? 

You're warming the secrets out of me. The turkey is $25, well now it's probably more like $35. Whereas, a box of hair coloring might be $25 or $30. Or a contact lens solution might be $15. If I could play the game again right now, I think only one woman in my whole time hosting played the game the way I would have played it.

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