NBC Universal recently unveiled details of its new Deal or No Deal strip hosted by Howie Mandel (who continues hosting the prime-time version.) The daily half hour is being assembled along the lines of the version that airs in the United Kingdom. Among the changes:
– The top prize won in the syndicated version is $500,000.
– There are only 22 cases compared to 26 in the prime-time version. Similar to the UK version, the cases are being held by potential contestants instead of models.
– But models are still a part of the show: Two of them will spin a wheel to see who gets to play. The two models are from the prime-time version of the series: Tameka Jacobs (who usually holds case No. 21) and Chicagoan Patricia Kara (who usually holds No. 9).
– Viewers can play at home by logging on to the syndicated show’s website, and they have a chance to win $10,000 by playing the interactive version.
The daily version of Deal hopes to be a big hit for NBC Universal, where it and its predecessors (MCA TV and NBC Enterprises) historically have struck out in the game show arena. NBC Enterprises had a daily version of the prime-time game show The Weakest Link in syndication in 2002 and 2003, but didn’t last.
In June 1987, MCA TV launched The Home Shopping Game to try to capitalize on the home-shopping craze at the time, but it fizzled out after three months. In June 1989, MCA launched a children’s version of the board game Pictionary which also came and went after three months (yours truly – as a pimpled-faced teenager – watched both Pictionary and HSG, and both were the worst game shows to ever come out at the time. The 1997 adult version of Pictionary was much better.)
Deal or No Deal has landed some good early-fringe time slots and even some prime access ones. In New York and Los Angeles (WNBC-TV and KNBC-TV) respectively, the program is on opposite The Oprah Winfrey Show and Judge Judy. In Milwaukee, WVTV’s airing it at 5 p.m., while in Detroit, WDIV has it on at 2:30 p.m., and in Indianapolis, WNDY-TV has slotted Deal for access at 7 p.m.
On the downside, there is still no clearance for the show in Washington D.C. while Deal is on at 10 p.m. in St. Louis (KDNL-TV) opposite local news and popular sitcom reruns (though one can argue the N.Y. and L.A. clearances are just as bad, given the competition.)
In Chicago, the daily version of Deal or No Deal premieres Sept. 8 at 12 noon on WMAQ-TV.
(Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story stated there was no clearance in Kansas City when it fact there is one – at NBC affiliate KSHB-TV, as a poster pointed out. On the Deal or No Deal “where to watch” section of its website, the KSHB clearance was listed under Kansas and not Missouri. – T.H.)
Updated 9:44 p.m.