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Daytime ‘Deal’ Doubles Down

Jul 20, 2008  •  Post A Comment

What many executives consider to be fall’s highest-profile launch in syndication, “Deal or No Deal,” is shaping up to be a leaner and meaner, faster-paced daytime version of the prime-time hit.
The series is being distributed by NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution, which has told stations that the prize money for the game show strip will be doubled from original expectations to half a million dollars.
“This was sold with the top prize being $250,000, but we decided the game would be better with the bigger prize money,” said Barry Wallach, president of NBCU Domestic Television Distribution. “There’s more excitement, and we decided to bite the bullet and give away more money.”
While the series will feature the same host in Howie Mandel, as well as the same producers and set as the prime-time version of the show, NBC made a few tweaks to the format to create a better model for the syndicated version’s half-hour timeframe.
Viewers can expect 22 cases instead of 26 this fall. In addition, the series will host 22 potential contestants holding the cases every week, while the famed “Deal” models will help open the cases as the contestants get selected. In every episode, one contestant will be selected by the “Deal Wheel,” which spins a ball to decide which of the 22 will get to play that day.
“With 22 real people able to play on any given day, viewers will get to know them throughout the week,” Mr. Wallach explained. “This will allow Howie to interact with them all and bring his humor to the show, even as he moves them through the program at a faster pace. He absolutely loves this format, because he finds the energy level to be intense.”
In addition, the company is adding a digital element, giving away $10,000 online every week to viewers who register through their local affiliate.
“Stations are thrilled with this, as it’s a huge Web driver for them,” Mr. Wallach said. “In prime time, ‘Deal or No Deal’s’ ‘Lucky Case’ became one of the most popular online games, and we are now able to bring that element to our daytime series as well.”

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