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'Deal or No Deal' Explained


'Deal or No Deal' Explained

Howie Mandel, host of 'Deal or No Deal'

courtesy NBC, photo by Mitch Haaseth
Host: Howie Mandel
Executive Producer: Scott St. John
Series Premiere: December 19th, 2005
Network: NBC
Airs On: Wednesday and Friday nights from 8 - 9 pm Eastern
Top Prize: $1,000,000
Catch Phrases: "Deal, or no deal?", "Open the case!"


Deal or No Deal is a slick and modern game show hosted by stand-up comedian and actor Howie Mandel. The main attractions of the show are the 26 models who hold shiny briefcases containing anything from one penny to one million dollars inside. A glitzy money board displays all of the dollar amounts in play during the course of the game.

Contestants select a case to keep for themselves, and then begin the task of eliminating the small dollar amounts by randomly choosing the numbered cases held by the models. As each chosen model opens her case, the amount inside is removed from the money board. The contestant's goal is to keep the higher amounts in play, and hopefully end up with one of the larger amounts in their own case. Each round consists of a pre-determined number of cases to be opened before the contestant can get an offer from the banker.

The Banker:

Working behind the scenes is the banker, who is only ever seen in silhouette and communicates with Mandel via telephone. After each round, the banker makes an offer to purchase the contestant's case, based on the amount of cash still in play on the money board. The offers start out small and gradually increase or decrease, depending on how many large dollar amounts are still in play.

When Mandel receives an offer from the banker, he then presents the offer to the contestant. The contestant must choose whether to take the offer or keep on playing the game. This is when Mandel will ask, "Deal, or no deal?"

Support From Family and Friends:

After the first round of play, Mandel introduces three or four people who are the contestant's support group. These folks may be friends, family, or co-workers, and are there to provide encouragement and advice throughout the course of the game.

How it Ends:

The game finishes in one of two ways. Either the contestant accepts an offer from the banker, or continues to eliminate cases until he or she is left with only their own case, chosen at the start of the game. If an offer from the banker is accepted, Mandel plays out the rest of the game in a "what if" fashion, to discover whether or not the contestant made a good deal.

Pros and Cons:

Deal or No Deal depends mostly on random luck and the willingness of the contestants to keep pushing for more money. The show keeps things interesting with special guests, theme nights, and an interactive game that viewers can play at home. The models are glamorous and serve as eye candy, while the set itself is modern and bright.

Mandel is a warm and engaging host, and interacts well with the contestants and models. If you're looking for light entertainment value, this is the perfect game show for you. If you prefer a challenge, trivia, or games of skill, however, you won't find them here.

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