Deal or No Deal (U.S. game show)
|Deal or No Deal|
|Created by||Dick de Rijk
John de Mol
|Presented by||Howie Mandel|
|Narrated by||Joe Cipriano|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||6 (4 on NBC, 2 in syndication)|
|No. of episodes||NBC: 199
|Executive producer(s)||Scott St. John|
|Running time||44 minutes (NBC)
22–26 minutes (Syndicated)
|Production company(s)||Entertain the Brutes
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
December 19, 2005 – May 18, 2009
September 8, 2008 – May 28, 2010
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. Peter Abbay plays the Banker.
The game is primarily unchanged from the international format where a contestant chooses one briefcase from a selection of 26. Each briefcase contains a cash value from $.01 to $1,000,000. Over the course of the game, the contestant eliminates 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 Gameplay
- 2 Models
- 3 Payout structure
- 4 Game formats
- 5 Scheduling and ratings
- 6 Syndicated version
- 7 Production notes
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The player chooses one of 26 numbered briefcases at the start of the game. These cases, carried by identically dressed female models, each hold a different cash amount from $0.01 to $1,000,000. On the stage is a video wall that displays the amounts still in play at any given moment. The player's chosen case is brought onto the stage and placed on a podium before him/her and the host.
In the first round, the player chooses six cases to eliminate from play, one at a time. Each case is opened as it is chosen, and the amount inside is removed from the board. After the sixth pick, a cordless telephone on the podium rings and the host answers it to speak with "The Banker" - a male figure, visible only as a dimly lit silhouette, who sits in a skybox overlooking the studio. The Banker's face is never seen, and his voice is never heard; after the call ends, the host relays the Banker's offer to buy the player's case. The player can accept the offer and end the game by saying "deal" and pressing a red button on the podium, or reject it by saying "no deal" and closing a hinged cover over the button.
Each time the player rejects an offer, he/she must play another round, eliminating progressively fewer cases: five in the second round, four in the third, three in the fourth, two in the fifth. Beyond the fifth round, the player eliminates one case at a time, receiving a new offer from the Banker after each. The ninth and final offer comes when there are only two cases left in play, the one originally chosen by the player and one other. If the player rejects this final offer, he/she may either keep the chosen case or trade it for the other one, and receives the amount in the case he/she decides to take.
The Banker's offer is typically a percentage of the average of the values still in play at the end of each round. This percentage is small in the early rounds, but increases as the game continues and can even exceed 100% in very late rounds. At times, an offer includes a prize tailored to the player's interests, either in addition to cash or instead of it. In addition, prizes are occasionally substituted for some of the cash amounts on the board. Starting with the Banker's offer in the second round, the player can bring a "cheering section" (a few friends/family members/colleagues) to the edge of the stage for advice on case selection and whether to accept offers. However, only the player's decisions are counted as part of the game.
If a player accepts one of the Banker's offers, and if time permits, the host encourages him/her to play through additional rounds to see what would have happened. If time runs short or the highest remaining value is eliminated, all of the remaining cases are opened at once.
Deal or No Deal has 26 models who bring various amounts of money from $.01 to $1,000,000 or higher. Here are the 26 permanent models of Deal or No Deal for all four seasons.
|Case||Season 1||Season 2||Season 3||Season 4|
|4||Lindsay Schoneweis||Keltie Martin|
|8||Pilar Lastra||Lauren Shiohama||Mariela Arteaga|
|12||Jill Manas||Lauren Shiohama|
|14||April Scott||Pilar Lastra|
|15||Lanisha Cole||Brooke Long|
|16||Kimberly Estrada||Kasie Head||Krissy Carlson||Lisa Lakatos|
|17||Jenelle Bronwyn Moreno|
|18||Alike Boggan||Marisa Petroro|
|19||Mylinda Tov||Amanza Smith|
|20||Marisa Petroro||Alike Boggan|
|22||Donna Feldman||Laura Shields||Lianna Grethel||Crystal Monte|
|24||Nancy Stelle||Meghan Markle||Kelly Brannigan|
|25||Sonia Vera||Hayley Marie Norman|
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|
|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
Several U.S. states have or had some kind of Deal or No Deal scratch-off ticket, with the top prize determined by each lottery. Non-winning tickets may be used to enter a sweepstakes for a variety of prizes, including a chance to be on the game show.
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|
|Sun/Wed/Thu 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. Additionally, reruns have sporadically aired on Game Show Network (GSN) started airing reruns of the show in production order.
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.
A daily half-hour syndicated version debuted on September 8, 2008, with Mandel as host. The format is similar to the UK version. 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 due to declining ratings.
Deal or No Deal is played by one contestant at a time, five contestants per week with 22 contestants per week trying to play. Prior to each game, 22 dollar amounts ranging from $.01 to $500,000 are distributed by a third-party among 22 briefcases, the values are unknown by the host or the Banker. The cases are then randomly presented to 22 contestants.
The game begins with the models spinning the "Deal Wheel," a wheel with 22 numbers that correspond to the numbers on the cases. A golden ball is placed in the wheel and as it spins, the ball bounces around inside the wheel to various numbers. When the wheel stops, whichever number the ball lands is the case number selected. The contestant's case is then placed on a podium. The player has the opportunity to either keep the case that they have or swap with one of the 21 remaining cases. The only exception to this rule was when Evian has been a sponsor on the show and the models would spin a bottle of Evian water to determine the contestants for that particular week. During special themed weeks, the logo sponsoring is shown on the wheel as well.
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 value revealed before it is taken out of play, and a large electronic board is used to track which dollar amounts still remain in the game. After completing the selection of cases for that round, the Banker, a silhouette figure lit only dimly from behind in a box overlooking the stage, will call down to the host using a phone on the podium. The host will then tell the player of the Banker's "offer": a cash value that depends on the values of the cases remaining in play, in exchange for leaving the game. The host opens a Plexiglas case on the podium containing a button; if the player accepts the deal, he or she presses the button to end the game, otherwise, he or she closes the case and declares "No Deal," requiring the player to continue into the next round.
Each round progressively removes fewer cases from the game; the first round begins with five cases to be removed, the second round with five more, then four, two, two, and subsequently down to removing one case at a time. The Banker's offers typically depend on the interaction between the player and himself, as well as what amounts were removed. If lower amounts are removed, the offers will increase; likewise if upper amounts are removed, the offers will decrease. Sometimes, they 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 make it to the final round, with the selected case and one other case left in play, they may take the final offer or win whatever is in the case they kept (there is no swap at the end of the game). If the player takes a deal prior to the final round, the host usually encourages the player to play through to the end to see what would have happened. Only one player plays for the entire show.
Deal's $10K Giveaway
The syndicated version also has a "Lucky Case Game" called Deal's $10K Giveaway, playing for $10,000 cash. Unlike the prime-time version, the contest lasts all week (with one winner per week), and viewers participate by calling a toll-free number. There are also 5 regular cases rather than 6 gold cases. The contest is designed as an advertisement for the Deal or No Deal Club, a club where shoppers could get special discounts for a monthly fee at dealornodealclub.com.
In season two, this was changed to Deal Mania!!!, giving away a $1,000 prize rather than $10,000 cash. The contest works almost exactly like Deal's $10K Giveaway, except that viewers can enter 5 times a day by calling the toll-free number or an unlimited number of times at mydealmania.com. Deal Mania!!! is also played every weekday and holds weekend sweepstakes as well.
Originally, Mandel planned not to host the syndicated version, as his asking price to host it, in addition to the prime time NBC version, was considered to be outside of the production budget. Arsenio Hall was first considered to be the host, and even taped a pilot for the syndicated version, but was later passed over. According to rumors, Mark Curry and Frank Nicotero were also among the candidates. NBC also had concerns that the syndicated show would harm the prime time show, as Who Wants to Be a Millionaire had suffered from overexposure. However, the syndicated version debuted September 8, 2008, with Mandel as host.
Initially, NBC planned to package this program with the Program Partners-produced Merv Griffin's Crosswords for its first season, as its owned and operated stations were already airing Crosswords and were picking up Deal or No Deal as well. However, this was later scrapped after Crosswords abruptly stopped production after its first season and most, if not all, of the NBC O&Os aired Deal or No Deal in a double-run format.
As Deal or No Deal became an exclusively syndicated show for the 2009–10 season, major changes were made to the show:
- The show moved from the Culver Studios in Culver City, California to the Sonalysts Studios in Waterford, Connecticut, as part of a corporate decision in which four NBC Universal Television Distribution shows moved to Connecticut. The entire set was shipped east, but scaled down to fit the studio.
- The show was also to be taped in high-definition, the fourth current game show to be taped in the format, joining Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, and The Price Is Right. However, this did not occur.
On October 18, 2010, GSN picked up the rights to air reruns of the syndicated version of Deal or No Deal. The show was pulled from the schedule for a short time, but then returned to a weekend run. The network resumed airing reruns of the syndicated version in March 2014. Presently, the network is only airing the NBC version of the show.
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.
- 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 through 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 Mandel 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 to Waterford 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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