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Too Big To Fail
May 21

The Bank of New England in 1991.

Washington Mutual in 2008.

AmTrust in 2009.

And now... Deal or No Deal in 2010.

You read that right. The bank of "Deal or No Deal" has been added to the list of notable bank failures of the late 20th and early 21st century.


Just as the financial sector ran towards near collapse in the last three years due to increasing instability and the inability to control it, "Deal or No Deal" was unable to make the best of their situation, instead opting for quick fixes that the powers that be hoped would not go unnoticed.

It all started this time last season, when the show was coming off of a premiere season marked with high after high. NBC Universal, the syndicate of the series, was able to clear enough stations for a second season, but that came with one stipulation. With the times being as they were and the budget becoming increasingly difficult to work around, the show, in an attempt to cut costs and increase its bottom line, packed it cases and moved east. The result was inexplicably not pretty, as the audience figures declined almost one-half from their year ago totals, leading to rumors -- and the eventual reality -- of cancellation.

We could go over the many problems that spurned the sophomore slump, but they all go back to one simple explanation...

The folks at "Deal or No Deal" simply stopped caring.

Doing some simple math... a standard 26-week season of 130 episodes will see 572 people stand next to the all-too-familiar cases in an attempt to bilk Endemol out of their prize budget. Twenty-two people, same five every day for a week, 26 weeks. Do the math. That's the basic idea. That's the selling point that NBC came to the table with when pitching the half-hour version.

However, our resident "Deal" proprietor Gordon Pepper was quick to note the following of this week's group of 22:

"Do these people look familiar? Well they are the same people that were on [the week of] January 25... and [of] February 20... and [of] April 26. But none of these are repeats, which means that instead of getting a new set of 22 people each week, they just used the same people, which means that hundreds of people lost the opportunity to get on the show. I know it's not coming back for season 3, but that's a very lame way to be ending the show."

We could go over denying all of 66 people who were ready, willing, and able to fist-bump Howie a shot at the Banker, but alas, that's another column for another day.

It's one thing when an audience loses faith in your product. After all, you could easily tweak the game to get them back in your good graces. It strangely worked for "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" over the last few years (again, another column for another day), and the perennial favorites of "The Price Is Right", "Wheel of Fortune", and "Jeopardy!" have made their own lifetimes on a reputation for keeping things fresh while retaining the heart of the game.

But when a company lacks enough faith in its own product to run out almost an entire single gallery over the course of a month, that says volumes. It shows a lack of effort and a lazy production. It shows a franchise accepting of its fate, but not willing to go out with a bang. The show has been on the air in some form in the United States for the better part of five years; certainly it deserves better than it's getting.

It's the classic show-business axiom: "Leave them wanting more." Instead of more, though, the folks at "Deal or No Deal" have been content to leave us with just enough and let the franchise fade silently into the annals of the damned. In the end, no show, great or small, wants to be remembered that way, for traipsing its way over to the game show rest home just to fill an order of 130 episodes. Back in the old days, the great shows that lasted just 13 weeks on a daytime network schedule made it to show #65, and even then the host, the very face of the series, will have to step in front of the camera and admit that they gave it the old college try.

Come May 28, I wouldn't expect that from a show that didn't even bother to give 66 others that much.

Game Show Alphabet Redux

I've been waiting for "S" ever since I ran across its entry. This week, it's a 1983 game show plucked from the 70s and given life in Japan called "SuperdieQ". It combined shooting dice with trivia for a chance at prizes.

Yes, it was the Japanese version of "High Rollers". 

I found clips on YouTube the week I stumbled onto this show, but it would seem that they've since been removed. You're just gonna have to trust me on this when I say that it was even more 80s cheese than the 1986 redo.

Chico Alexander has an offer... You e-mail him. Make your decision at chico@gameshownewsnet.com