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Adieu, Briefcase Girls

Jan 15, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Howie Mandel may not be taking the reins of the syndicated “Deal or No Deal,” but what about those models who seem to appear everywhere these days?

The similarly-dressed posse of ladies is not in the plans for NBC Universal’s Monday-through-Friday strip version of the game show, sources close to the development of the project said.

Instead, NBC Universal is looking to return to the traditional format of the series as it enters daytime. The debut of the show may now be pushed back until the 2008 season.

Globally, many versions of “Deal or No Deal” don’t offer the briefcase girls. Future contestants or family members have been known to hold cases containing various amounts of money to be selected by the contestant. The syndicated version is expected to mirror the international versions.

“It’s cheaper, provides more interactivity and is simply better for daytime audiences to go this way,” a source close to the production said. An NBC Universal spokesman wouldn’t comment on the show.

Prizes are also expected to run along the same lines as the show’s international counterparts, with top winnings likely hitting $100,000 or $200,000. Players on NBC’s prime-time version can win up to $1 million.

Besides the search for the host, another obstacle to the series seeing the light of day: NBC itself. Last week, insiders said NBC executives are resistant to allowing a daytime version of the series to hit the air. They worry that a syndicated version would hurt its prime-time runs.

So who will be the host of “Deal or No Deal”? With Mr. Mandel out of the mix, NBC Universal tested Arsenio Hall and Carson Daly, among others. Executives are hoping to make a decision soon. They have been hunting for a personality with broad, urban appeal to take center stage, a source said.