Synopsis by Hal Erickson
This short-lived NBC Prime Time game show involved 26 suitcases containing 26 separate bundles of money. Each contestant chose one suitcase, then during a progression of "rounds" was allowed to choose from the remaining suitcases, on the off-chance that the highest amount of money (one million dollars, natch!) was in the suitcase first chosen. A strange, shadowy figure called "The Banker", who evidently lived in a high TV studio sky box, would methodically reveal the amount of cash in each suitcase--but only after allowing the contestant to choose between the contents of his or her own suitcase, and the unknown sum in one of the other suitcases. The series' catch-phrase, spoken by host Howie Mandel, was of course "Deal or No Deal". For those not interested in games of chance, the series also featured 26 gorgeous models, each toting a huge number card corresponding to one of the precious suitcases. And of course, there was the requisite studio audience made up the contestants' family members, who never spoke when shouting hysterically would do in offering advice to the players. Both charming and disarming in its simplicity and visceral appeal, Deal or No Deal began its limited run on December 19, 2005. The original British version of the series, hosted by Noel Edmonds, was seen on the U.K.'s Channel 4.