Too Big To Fail
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
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
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
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
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
Yes, it was the Japanese version of "High
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
Chico Alexander has an offer... You e-mail
him. Make your decision at