Mandel packs briefcases for "Deal" world tour
By James Hibberd
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - With the highly rated "Million Dollar Mission" episodes of "Deal or No Deal" having concluded Monday, NBC is brewing another stunt for its stalwart game show: an around-the-world tour.
For the May sweep, the show will visit local versions of the show in Estonia, the Philippines and South Africa.
Host Howie Mandel and contestants from the U.S. will play the game according to the foreign set's rules. And yes, the "Deal" girls will be locals. (Some 40 versions of "Deal" are produced worldwide.)
"We're constantly trying to come up with new ideas to keep the show fresh, to tweak and make the gameplay different," executive producer Scott St. John said. "It's been a fun internal thing when we watch clips from the foreign versions, so we decided we're going to explore the way they do it."
The plan comes at the close of the 19 Million Dollar Mission episodes that have aired this season and re-energized the show's ratings. NBC's alternative programming chief Craig Plestis said he plans to repeat the stunt in the fall and make the episodes a staple of the series. (No official "Deal" renewal has been announced, but Plestis said another season can be assumed.)
In "Deal," contestants open 26 briefcases containing values ranging from 1 cent to $1 million, gradually paring down the board and constantly shifting the odds of how much they'll take home. Nobody has won the $1 million.
For the Million Dollar Mission (or MDM, as they call it at the network), every time a contestant failed to win the top prize, producers added $1 million case to the lineup, increasing the likelihood of somebody winning the top prize. On Monday night, a California couple had the board stocked with 13 of the $1 million cases, giving them a 50-50 chance of winning, but they still came up short.
The MDM temporarily turned "Deal" into a serialized program -- much like "Jeopardy!" during Ken Jennings' famed ratings-boosting winning streak in 2004. Continued...