Game shows are a treasured aspect of our TV, with the simple concept of an average Joe like us playing some sort of game to win a grand prize never failing to entertain the masses.
One show in particular, Deal or No Deal, has enjoyed a lengthy spell of success in the US and is still shown today on CNBC. One of TV’s longest-running game shows, it’s proved to be a hit with all kinds of viewers.
With some of the best slots online in Canada even using the game show as their theme, there’s clearly a high demand for the game. That begs the question, when did the US catch the Deal or No Deal bug? And how has it stayed so relevant all this time?
Deal or No Deal, as we know it today, first began in the Netherlands as a show entitled Miljoenenjacht which translates to ‘Hunt for Millions’. In turn, the Dutch show inspired a German counterpart called Die Chance deines Lebens, a game which was abruptly ended when a contestant threw a fit after failing to win millions and blaming it on his buzzer.
Miljoenenjacht’s final round is what inspired a new little sister game show to spin-off from the original, with the round consisting of contestant choosing a numbered case from a total of 26.
From 2002-2005, the popularity of the Dutch show grew so much that TV executives from around the world took notice and concocted a format that would condense the final round of Miljoenenjacht and turn it into a full-blown game show.
Coming to America
Noting the success of Miljoenenjacht, TV channels from around the world began broadcasting Deal or No Deal on their own networks, including one NBC who, in December 2005, released the first episode of the show to great acclaim.
The first season of Deal or No Deal in the US exceeded all expectations and became one of the most successful game shows in American television at the time. It went from being shown at 8 PM every Monday night to being show Wednesday and Friday too due to the massive viewership and demand for more.
Howie Mandel has been the show’s sole presenter since its conception and first broadcast and has remained so for its daytime counterparts and even the Canadian-English version of Deal or No Deal.
Why we love Deal or No Deal
While Howie Mandel’s long-run as the presenter has proven him to be one of the show’s best features, it’s the format of the game itself that keeps viewers coming back and keeps contestants playing.
Unlike a lot of other game shows on TV, Deal or No Deal offers its contestants the power to dictate how an episode will play out. Whereas a usual quiz show will stop when a contestant gets a trivia question wrong or fails to reach a threshold within a time limit, Deal or No Deal continues even after a perceived failure.
With the power to reject the banker’s offer and put their faith in the briefcase they’ve chosen, the contestant remains the one holding the controls - the only part they’re not in control of is what’s in the case.
This gamble and tension have kept viewers coming back to Deal or No Deal time and time again, with the show being resurrected in 2018 thanks to great demand.