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December 20, 2005


This week I promised you an instant review of the new NBC game Deal or No Deal. And that’s just what you’ll get.

The show’s not at all fast-paced, and you can’t play along at home with it really…other than following along with the contestant…but the program has an edge-of-your-seat dramatic quality that has appeal. You’re rooting for the contestant, and glad when they are able to stay in the game.

The cliffhangers are appropriately-placed, but predictable. The more somber later rounds are truly exciting, but the second half of the premiere program felt like I was watching the Dan Avila episode of Greed…where things moved so slowly I could’ve made dinner and not missed anything.

On the plus side, I absolutely love how host Howie Mandel is really rooting for these contestants. And, unlike my initial worries, Howie does not overshadow the contestants AT ALL and does a great job of bringing family members into the game and decision. I enjoy when a host comes across as being 100% genuine and 100% genuinely wanting the contestant to win. And because it’s a game of skill and chance with one contestant at a time, Mandel can openly root for the players.

The premise of the home game is interesting but I don’t like having more than one opportunity to enter…nor having to pay 49 cents if you text message.

The only problem with the game is the letdown if a contestant has revealed all the high value cases…then the drama is over and it’s just a matter of skating home with something. And this show is really all about the drama.

Overall…it’s worth watching…but will it be the show that revives the “traditional” game show on network TV? We’ll know soon enough.

By the way…for those asking about the ‘alphabet’ thing…I decided it would be best to make it a 2006 project…you’ll see it back in January.

Jason Elliot may have to shave his head after tonight... just like everyone else. E-mail him at

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