Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Deal! Part One: Introduction

On Monday, NBC debuted the next big thing in North American game show entertainment - "Deal or No Deal". Much like "The Weakest Link" before it, this is adapted from a program in Europe. As well, it is rather habit forming.

The premise is simple: A contestant is presented with a choice of 26 briefcases (numbered 1 to 26). There are 26 dollar values in those briefcases. They range from $0.01 to $1,000,000. Once the contestant has chosen a briefcase, it is their's for the rest of the "game". Then, they start choosing from the remaining briefcases and reveal the amounts that they did not win. There is a plasma screen that shows all of the possible amounts, and removes the amounts that have been revealed. Of course, just revealing each briefcase would be boring, so the show has a catch. That catch is "The Banker".

The Banker is a person who, at regularly scheduled intervals, makes a cash offer to "buy back" the contestant's chosen briefcase. This offer is based on the cash values that are remaining to be revealed (and possibly other factors, but that is likely to be another post). At this point, the contestant is given the choice: "Deal. Or No Deal." (Hence the name.) If they choose deal, then they get the cash offer and the game is over. If they choose no deal, then they have to reveal the next pre-set amount of briefcases until the banker's next offer. Of course, the offer amount will change based on what else has been knocked off the board. The game ends when the contestant accepts a deal, or has only one briefcase left to choose. If they do get down to only one briefcase, they receive the amount that is left in their briefcase.

Of course, the show isn't that simple. Howie Mandel acts as host and he does a great job of poking and prodding the contestants, adding to their stress level. To combat this, the producers bring in the contestant's friends and family to help with the decision. Of course, this also adds to the stress level, as you have your significant other yelling at you, tring to give you advice is not a calm inducing environment.

On the periphery are the models. They are the 26 beauties that have been selected to carry, and when called upon, open the briefcases. This is the best use of relatively pointless eye candy since The Price is Right started. 26 attractive women, who get maybe 5 words to say between them and yet it doesn't come across as completely sexist.

One other thing that I would like to mention is the casting department did a fantastic job in selecting contestants. Each of the contestants have shown a great personality, and they have different personalities. The families and friends have alos been gold, with at least one "go to" member for an amusing statement during the deal decision process.

All in all, Deal or No Deal is a very entertaining show, which will hopefully continue to return in week-long blocks, but staggered so that it does not become overexposed. In future posts, I'll look at the strategy of the game, as well as taking a stab at how The Banker decides on what his offer will be. There will also be some stats thrown in along the way.

If you wish to play a flash version of the game, go to this link. If you would like more information about the show, go to the the NBC website and click on the "Deal or No Deal" link. (Alternately, you can follow this link for direct access.

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