Deal or No Deal (U.S. game show)
|Deal or No Deal|
|Created by||Dick de Rijk|
|Presented by||Howie Mandel|
|Narrated by||Joe Cipriano|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||199|
|Executive producer(s)||Scott St. John|
|Running time||44 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Entertain the Brutes
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Original run||December 19, 2005– May 18, 2009|
|Related shows||Deal or No Deal (syndicated)|
Deal or No Deal is the American version of the international game show of Dutch origin of the same name. The show was hosted by Howie Mandel, and premiered on December 19, 2005, on NBC. The hour-long show typically aired at least twice a week during its run, and included special extended or theme episodes. The show started its fourth season on August 25, 2008, after NBC's coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. A daily syndicated half-hour version of the show debuted on September 8, 2008 and continued for two seasons.
The game was primarily unchanged from the international format where a contestant chooses one briefcase from a selection of 26. Each briefcase contained a cash value from $.01 to $1,000,000. Over the course of the game, the contestant eliminated the other cases, periodically being presented with a "deal" from The Banker to take a cash amount to quit the game. Should the contestant refuse every deal, they were given the chance to trade the original case for the only other one left in play, and won whatever money was in the chosen case after this possible exchange. Special variations of the game, including a "Million Dollar Mission" introduced in the third season, were also used, as well as a tie-in with a viewer "Lucky Case Game".
The show was a success for NBC, typically averaging from 10-16 million viewers each episode in the first season, although the subsequent seasons only averaged about 5-9 million viewers each episode. It led to the creation of tie-in board, card, and video games, as well as a syndicated series played for smaller dollar amounts.
The show went on hiatus in early 2009, and its Friday night time slot was replaced with Mandel's other series Howie Do It. It was announced on the show's official site that Deal or No Deal would return with new episodes on Monday, May 4. These remaining four were taped in September 2008, and aired on three consecutive Mondays, May 4, May 11, and the final two on May 18.
- 1 Format
- 2 Payout structure
- 3 Game formats
- 4 Scheduling and ratings
- 5 Production notes
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Deal or No Deal is played by one contestant at a time. Prior to each game, 26 cash amounts ranging from $0.01 to $1,000,000 printed on rectangular boards (though occasionally boards with larger amounts may be used) are each randomly placed inside one of 26 briefcases by a third party. Each briefcase displays a number on the outside of the case from 1 to 26. Once the show begins, Howie Mandel announces "Ladies, please", and 26 female models, each carrying one briefcase and wearing the same dress, make their way onto the steps of the multi-tiered stage. The contestant then selects one briefcase to be his or her briefcase to begin the game. When the briefcase is selected by the contestant, the model of the briefcase chosen brings the briefcase down and hands it to Mandel, who then places it on the contestant's podium.
Through a series of rounds, the contestant is asked to select a number of the other cases still in play; each case is opened and the cash value inside the case is revealed before it is taken out of play. A large electronic board displaying two columns of cash amounts (13 cash amounts per column) is used to track which dollar amounts still remain in play, with the amounts already opened being struck off the board. After completing the selection of cases for that round, the Banker, a silhouette figure lit only dimly from behind in an enclosed glass booth (known as the Banker's office) overlooking the stage, will phone down to the host's wireless phone on the podium. The Banker and host will converse (the Banker's voice is never heard) and the host will then inform the player of the Banker's "deal": a cash offer, the amount of which depends on the values of the cases remaining in play, in exchange for leaving the game. (Although the Banker will talk to the host (and occasionally the contestant) via phone, and is said to calculate the offers, the producers actually do the calculations. The calculation is essentially the average value of the remaining briefcases slightly higher or lower depending on the contestant's progress.)
The host opens a clear Plexiglas flip-top box on the contestant's podium exposing a large flashing-red electronic button; if the player accepts the deal, he or she presses the button to end the game and win the amount of the deal, otherwise, the player declares "No deal!" The player closes the flip-top box, requiring the player to continue into the next round of the game.
Each round progressively removes fewer cases from the game; the first round begins with six cases to be removed, the second round with five, diminishing subsequently until the final rounds requiring the removal of one case at a time. If lower amounts are removed, the offers will increase; likewise if upper amounts are removed, the offers will decrease. In early rounds, the Banker's offers typically represent a small percentage of the average value of all the remaining cases. From round to round, that percentage generally increases, sometimes exceeding 100% toward the end of the game. Should the player refuse the final Banker's offer, with the selected case and one other case left in play, the player is given the opportunity to swap cases, values unseen, and win whatever case they end up keeping at that point. This offer, and its mention when delivering the final offer, is often unaired on television; only three contestants have ever swapped cases, and none in active play. All of them would swap for one of the two highest amounts.
If the player takes one of the first eight offers, the host usually encourages the player to play through to the end to see what would have happened, unless time runs short, when the remaining cases are opened all at once. If the game is still in progress when airtime ends, the game carries over to the following episode, though this was a much rarer occurrence in the second half of the show's run. During the first two seasons, there were even two instances of the revealing of a selected case carried over to the next episode.
After the second round, family and friends of the contestant are usually introduced and are allowed to contribute advice and encouragement to the contestant, including which case to pick next and whether to accept a deal or not. Often, special guest stars are present in the audience, typically related to the contestant's interests or background; for example, Celine Dion appeared and supported a player who was a big fan, while another show featured Big Bird of the children's television show Sesame Street assisting a player who had a childhood fear of the character. Perhaps the most noteworthy special guest, however, was when Bobby Generic (Mandel’s animated alter-ego on Bobby's World) made an appearance for a contestant who requested he make an appearance.
A show typically only features the play of one contestant, but on occasion, contestants who do not finish their game continue into the next show. The rollover format, also known as "straddling" was more prominent early in the series' run. Several shows have been themed based on the contestant's background, a holiday, or other situation; for example, all the cases were replaced by trash cans when the contestant was a garbage man, and one episode was considered "Ladies' Night", as the regular models were replaced with male firefighters from the Los Angeles and San Diego Fire Departments. In some cases, the Banker will add to the offer a "special" prize, including both valuable prizes such as vehicles or "dream packages" customized for the contestant as well as gag gifts such as a supply of cotton swabs or donuts and may require an additional stipulation for the deal; in one instance, an additional cash prize was attached to the deal if the contestant would cut off his beard (which he ultimately accepted). There were some college spring break episodes that aired during the series.
Sometimes, amounts on the board may be substituted with other prizes such as a Ford F-250 truck in place of the $50,000 amount on the January 14, 2008 episode.
On Deal or No Deal, the values hidden in the 26 briefcases typically range from $0.01 to $1,000,000:
|Format||Manufacturer / Developer|
|Arcade Game||Innovative Concepts in Entertainment, Inc. (ICE)|
|Board Game||Pressman Toy Corporation|
|Card Game||Cardinal Games|
|DVD Game||Imagination Games|
|Game Boy Advance||DSI Games|
|Handheld Electronic Game||i-Toys|
|Nintendo DS||DSI Games|
|PC Game||Cat Daddy Games|
|PC Game||Cat Daddy Games|
|Plug & Play TV Game||Jakks Pacific|
|Tabletop Electronic Game||i-Toys|
|Talking Pass'n Play Game||i-Toys|
|Video Slot Machine||Atronic|
Scratch-off lottery tickets
At least twenty-nine states have or had some kind of Deal or No Deal scratch-off ticket (with the top prize determined by each lottery) to the grand prize winner. Non-winning tickets may be used to enter a sweepstakes for a variety of prizes, including a chance to be on the game show. These states include Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Scheduling and ratings
Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of Deal or No Deal on NBC.
Note: Each U.S. network television season starts in late September and ends in late May, which coincides with the completion of May sweeps. All times mentioned are in the Eastern and Pacific time zones.
Season one (2005–2006)
|2005–2006||Monday 8:00 p.m.||#15||9.6 (Tied with Dancing with the Stars — Results)|
|Wednesday 8:00 p.m.||#21||9.0|
|Friday 8:00 p.m.||Not in the Top 30|
Early ratings for the show were extremely encouraging. According to Zap2it, "all five shows [during the week beginning December 19, 2005 and ending December 25, 2005] finished in the top 15 among total viewers, peaking with 14.1 million people watching the Wednesday, December 21, 2005 installment. For the week, Deal or No Deal averaged about 12.7 million viewers and a solid 4.3 rating in the adults 18-49."
The show appeared again on NBC each night February 27, 2006 through March 3, 2006 at 8:00 PM ET/PT with the top prize (and some of the higher-valued cases other than the top prize) escalating until the prize reached $3 million (and the lowest-valued case going up to $.03). As of 3/6/06, the show settled into regular time slots at 8:00 PM Mondays and Fridays, with the top prize returning to its original $1 million. Wednesday episodes were added at 8:00 PM due to the show's consistent ratings success. In something of a ratings coup, the 4/3/06 episode of the show, a two-hour special, outperformed the NCAA basketball tournament final in a head-to-head competition. During both of the two-hour shows, the second hour scored even higher ratings than the first.
Since it became a regular series, Deal or No Deal consistently placed within the 20 most popular programs on television, at times attaining the top 10. The 6/5/06 two-hour season finale, which featured Celine Dion via satellite, marked a series-high rating for the program, bringing in over 18 million viewers and a strong 5.5 share in the 18-49 demographic. The episode was easily the highest-rated show on any network for the week of 6/5/06 through 6/11/06, outdistancing the number-two show, a repeat episode of CSI, by almost six million viewers. The finale experienced similar success in Canada, with 1.5 million viewers tuning in. (However, CSI and virtually all other fall TV series had completed their seasons two weeks earlier and were either in reruns or pre-empted by this point.)
Season two (2006–2007)
|2006–2007||Monday 8:00 p.m.||#13||9.2|
|Friday 8:00 p.m.||Not in the Top 30|
|Wed/Thu/Sun 8:00 p.m.|
The show returned with new episodes in September 2006, airing on Mondays and Fridays at 8:00 pm and Thursdays at 9:00 pm—the latter time slot being perhaps the most competitive in U.S. television, as Deal or No Deal faced a pair of big hit series in the CBS program, CSI, and ABC program, Grey's Anatomy.
Deal's Thursday time slot had initially been intended for Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip when NBC announced its fall schedule. However, the need to protect the new series against stiff ratings competition caused repercussions throughout the network's primetime grid, including a move on May 25 of Deal from its announced Friday time slot to Thursdays. The drama Crossing Jordan, which had been planned for a mid-season run, was to be brought into the Friday lineup in what would have been Deal 's second weekly time slot. However, after Deal or No Deal completed airing special episodes in that time slot to success, NBC moved Crossing Jordan back to midseason and used Deal on Fridays as well to help launch a sister series, 1 vs. 100.
The show premiered with a two-hour edition on September 18, 2006, and one-hour episodes that each aired on September 19, 2006, September 21, 2006 and September 22, 2006. The show used a $21 million prize pot over the first week to kick off season two of the game, coupled with the at-home Lucky Case Game for $1 million. During the season premiere week in 2006, the main game had maximum amounts start at $1 million, and increased $1 million for each game, up to $6 million. The top prize case was only chosen once by contestant Matty Sollena on the season premiere. He took the deal for $675,000, but his case contained the top prize of $3,000,000.
According to final Nielsen ratings for the week of September 18, 2006 to September 24, 2006, the second-season premiere episode of Deal or No Deal on Monday, September 18, 2006 with Matty Sollena was the 11th most-watched network prime time show in total audience and NBC's most-watched program in total audience. The Friday episode of the show also did well in the ratings and won its time slot against the other networks. The Tuesday and Thursday episodes suffered from tough competition: Dancing with the Stars, Grey's Anatomy and CSI.
The success of Deal or No Deal was a factor in NBC's decision to program another Endemol game, 1 vs. 100, which premiered on October 13, 2006 and assumed Deal's Friday night time slot on October 27, 2006. Meanwhile, NBC announced the Thursday episodes would end with the 11/8/06 episode, to be replaced by sitcoms Scrubs and 30 Rock. Through all these changes, the Monday night edition of Deal continued to win its time slot by a large margin. On Monday, October 30, 2006, for instance, Deal won its time slot with a 10.3 household rating and 16 percent share, easily outdistancing second-place Prison Break at 5.6/8. During the November sweeps period, the ratings for Deal or No Deal on Thursday grew slightly despite heavy competition in the time slot. NBC moved the second weekly episode of Deal or No Deal to Wednesday at 9 p.m. as of January 2007, and also added a few episodes at 7:00 p.m. Sundays in hopes of giving a boost to its new post-football lineup. NBC announced on February 16, 2007 that the second airing would move from Wednesdays to Sundays at 9 p.m. (Eastern/Pacific) starting 3/4/07.
In March, the Monday Deal fell to second place in the time slot, behind the debuting fourth edition of ABC's Dancing with the Stars, the first edition of that show to include a Monday episode.
Season three (2007–2008)
Following a season-premiere episode on Monday, Deal vacated its stable Monday night home in a last-second decision by NBC to give the time slot to a drama series, Chuck, for which it had high hopes. Deal moved to a Wednesday/Friday schedule, pushing 1 vs. 100 to mid-season. Both airings tended to win their time slot in total viewers, with the Friday edition also winning in Adults 18-49 and the Wednesday edition placing second in that demographic behind ABC's Pushing Daisies. NBC replaced the Wednesday airings for five weeks with a short-run reality series, Phenomenon, starting in late October. The new series' initial ratings were lower than what Deal was delivering.
Due to the 2007 Writers Guild of America strike, Deal's Friday edition moved back to Monday in January 2008, temporarily replacing Chuck. The Friday time slot was filled by the returning 1 vs.100 for seven episodes.
Season four (2008–2009)
The fourth season began on August 25, 2008 with host Mandel stating prior to the season premiere that there would be at least one millionaire in the season. The beginning of the fourth season also marked the return of an audience competition – the new "Beat the Banker" game brought back the interactivity from past seasons, with home viewers being able to win $10,000 per show.
The following week, Jessica Robinson became the first winner with the $1,000,000 top prize. Robinson appeared during the Million-Dollar Mission, and in her game had five cases containing the $1,000,000 prize. Robinson turned down a final bank offer of $561,000, keeping her case—number 4—and won $1,000,000.
After Robinson won, the "Million-Dollar Mission" restarted with two $1,000,000 cases on the board, and played until the second $1,000,000 prize was awarded to Tomorrow Rodriguez on October 29, 2008 with nine $1,000,000 cases on the board. Her highest offer was $677,000, with three of the four cases still in play at the time containing $1,000,000 and the other containing $300. By eliminating the $300 case, which was in case number 15, she automatically won the top prize (in case number 7) with fewer than nine offers having been made.
Deal or No Deal aired its 200th-episode celebration on November 3 with a series of four speed-round games with four different contestants; however, NBC aired this episode out of order, and in reality only 186 episodes had aired at this point. In the episode, the contestant chose all the cases to open for a round at once and they were opened right away. They only had 20 seconds to accept a bank offer or not. If time ran out, it was an automatic "No Deal". After accepting a bank offer, the contestant's case was immediately opened without playing on to find out what would have happened had he declined the offer.
Six contestants between November 7 and December 29 had a chance to play for $2,000,000 with the same board seen as the September 2006 premiere week. Unlike "Double Deal" episodes, only the $750,000 and $1,000,000 were changed (to $1,000,000 and $2,000,000) instead of doubling the contents of all 26 cases. Only one contestant, Ashley Otte, would choose this higher top prize; she sold her tray (as for Thanksgiving Day, the cases were changed to trays) for $260,000, and her final hypothetical offer was $1,100,000.
The last game in this run (January 2) contained a carryover contestant, Diane Jorgenson. After four months, season four continued on May 4 with the remainder of the game, taped separately from the first half. The reason why this episode was not chosen to finish the previous run is unknown.
The 273rd and final contestant for season four, aired as part of the 2-hour "de facto" series finale on May 18, 2009, eliminated all of the values on the right side of the board in 18 picks and received no bank offers higher than $22,000. With $300 as the highest prize remaining, she sold her $5 case for $100. Towards the end of the series finale, the Banker truly revealed himself as none other than Peter Abbay, who has been playing the Banker for four seasons.
On May 19, 2009, it was announced that the fourth season would be the last prime time season of the show. The syndicated show continued for one additional season before it ended its run in 2010.
NBC's sister business network, CNBC (Consumer News and Business Channel), aired episodes of the premiere week of Deal or No Deal starting on December 26, 2005, scoring above-average ratings for the network. The show has been blacked out in Canada on that station due to programming rights issues in that country, and Canadian viewers were shown CNBC World programming instead. The show began to rerun again on CNBC during the week of February 6, 2006 until June 9, 2006. CNBC also programmed the second week-long series of the show, but the sequence started two shows behind the airings on NBC.
For season two, following a marathon of its premiere week, CNBC announced that Deal or No Deal re-airings would be back on Saturday nights starting October 14, 2006 at 8:00 PM, 11:00 PM, and 3:00 AM (all Eastern). In addition, reruns aired on CNBC every Tuesday and Wednesday at 8:00 PM, 11:00 PM, and 1:00 AM. The reruns are not necessarily repeats of the most-recent episodes—many of these episodes are selected at random, and may have been previously seen several months after its initial broadcast.
In Canada, TVtropolis also airs the series, starting with the February 2006 premiere week of episodes. The five-episode run of Canadian shows were also aired on TVtropolis in August 2007.
Starting June 1, 2009, Game Show Network (GSN) started airing reruns of the show in production order. Despite their original contract only including the first three seasons, the fourth season began airing on April 16, 2010. The reruns were taken off on August 26, 2012, but returned on October 29, 2012 and ended on January 1, 2013. On December 24, 2013, GSN aired a 10-hour marathon of the show, the show returned to GSN's lineup on January 20, 2014.
The original pilot was produced for ABC in early 2004 with Irish TV personality Patrick Kielty as host and a $2.5 million top prize. It was announced that the show would premiere in March 2004, but ABC decided against airing the series.
The first season was taped at Sunset-Gower Studios in Los Angeles; however, early episodes were taped at CBS Television City in Hollywood. Seasons two through four were taped at The Culver Studios. The second syndicated season was taped at the Sonalysts Studio in Waterford, Connecticut.
Episodes had a tendency to be themed around the contestant depending upon information the production team obtained on them. Mandel stated that this was done "to make the contestant feel comfortable"; However, critics[who?] cited an over-reliance by the series on contestant-based "theme" shows.
A daily half-hour syndicated version debuted on September 8, 2008, with Howie Mandel as host. The syndicated version has a top prize of $500,000, hidden in one of the 22 cases held by contestants. The show only featured two of the original 26 case models, Tameka Jacobs and Patricia Kara.
Originally, Arsenio Hall was intended to host (and taped the pilot), but was ultimately passed over. Other candidates included Street Smarts host Frank Nicotero, but it was finally decided to keep Mandel as host.
This version lasted two seasons, ending in May 2010.
- NBC and Endemol had produced a Spanish-language version which debuted October 8, 2006 on their Telemundo Spanish-language channel. Titled Vas o No Vas ("Go or No Go"), but titled on the English-language closed captioning Take It or Leave It, this version was hosted by Héctor Sandarti, who also hosted the Mexican version of the same name for Televisa. The top prize was $250,000.The episode that aired on November 5, 2006 saw a contestant win $180,500 and a Ford F-150 for a total of over $200,000, an all-time record for an American-based Spanish-language game show. However, this version was not as successful as the English version and was not renewed for a second season.
- After the conclusion of Super Bowl XLI on February 4, 2007 Global in Canada, Deal or No Deal Canada, a special Canadian version of Deal or No Deal, would debut. This version of the show, taped January 23, 2007 to January 25, 2007 in Toronto, features Howie, a Toronto native, as host. The series ran for five-hour-long episodes. Applications for auditioning were very similar to the NBC version, except that no videos are required. The $400,000 was removed and had a Toonie ($2) put on the left side. Since Howie started filming again in Canada for Howie Do It, rumors have been spreading that Deal or No Deal Canada may be returning as a real Canadian series and even a syndicated Canadian version, though it never resurfaced.
- Also in Canada, TVA has produced a French-Canadian version of Deal or No Deal called Le Banquier, named after the mysterious figure that contestants must make deals with to obtain as much money as possible. The show, which is practically the same as the U.S. version, has 26 cases with a $500,000 top prize, although there was one game where it was increased to $750,000. The only difference is that the models on the top row (cases 21-26) are men.
- All U.S. and Canadian editions are produced by Endemol USA, with the U.S. and Canadian English versions both using Scott St. John as Executive Producer and R. Brian DiPirro as Director.
In January 2009 the prime-time version was put on hiatus, with the series returning on May 4 to air its final few episodes. TVtropolis stopped showing the prime-time and syndicated versions. CNBC has aired reruns of the prime-time version in the past.
In an attempt to reduce costs and continue broadcasting the program, NBC & Endemol USA, the DND production company, negotiated a new arrangement that moved production of Deal or No Deal from Culver City, CA to Waterford, CT during the summer of 2009 in favor of significant tax credits provided by the state of Connecticut. While Mandel and both of the show's models remained, much of the behind the scenes crew from the west coast production remained in Los Angeles and were not involved in the east coast production.
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- Official website
- USA Today Q&A with Howie Mandel
- Deal or No Deal at the Internet Movie Database
- Deal or No Deal at TV.com