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Circus or No Circus - April 12

The recent goings on of "Deal or No Deal" have inspired a comment from me. I was under the impression that the Banker would merely offer an amount of cash to stop the game. In the last week or so, a new Hummer H3 automobile was coupled with $17,000 for a man who wanted one of those cars for his very own. A white pony was paired with $44,000 for a man whose daughter very much wanted a pony in the backyard. In the first instance, no deal was forthcoming. The second deal was inked, probably because the hopeful daughter was on the Relationship Bench.

I don't mind the use of non-cash items as part of an offer as much as I thought I would. The Australian version has a car on the board, and the Indian version has various toiletries as the three low valued cases.

The thing is it seems too staged. How convenient that a brand spanking new Hummer was in the vault. Ditto the pony. Wanna put a world holiday with a stack of cash? That's fine. It feels staged when the contestant is newly married and saving up for a honeymoon.

I have made it no secret that the underlying game of "Deal or No Deal" is almost non-existent, leaving the host and players to do the heavy lifting. Watching a father push the deal button while his daughter jumps up and down at the sight of the pony does not fill my heart with glee. On the contrary, I feel cheated. The whole thing was manipulative. The people on the Relationship Bench are frequently consulted for their opinion as to the pivotal question, but the kids shouldn't be answering. A dad who turns down $100,000 or more, only to see the money blow up when the last remaining Big Fella comes off the board is going to have a long plane ride home no matter what.

The show has become, in essence, a circus.

I'm surprised it took us this long to get to that point, frankly. We've had celebrity guests, a
building jackpot, even an equine in the deal. Add to that family reunions, and we're about one step away from "Strike it Rich" or "This is Your Life." When those aspects are coupled with the fact that the show has been running three times a week for about a month's starting to get old.

Make us wait a couple of months. Promise a couple of new twists that will have everyone talking at the water cooler. Put car keys in one of the cases. Something must be done to freshen up the game, otherwise a fun show to watch will become another nail in the lowering coffin of game shows at large. I do not want that to happen.

Travis Eberle wants you to visit former contestant Cheryl Jackson's websites . Agree or disagree at


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