NBC has ordered up “Deal or No Deal,” a game show that’s a hit in many countries but hasn’t been seen in the United States yet.
The show has been put on a quick path to production, with calls for contestants already being made. There’s no word on how quickly the show might make it onto the air.
“This series is a proven winner that challenges contestants to overcome their own nerves in a pressure-cooker environment,” says Craig Plestis, head of alternative programming for NBC. “There are no physical stunts or trivia questions to answer. In order to claim a fortune, the winner will essentially have to know when to say ‘when.'”
“Deal or No Deal,” which began in Australia, now airs in over 30 countries. It’s produced by Endemol, the company behind “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and “Big Brother,” among other shows.
Endemol had “Deal or No Deal” in development at ABC last year and went as far as to shoot a pilot episode. However, the network decided to pass before a single episode made it to air.
The game works like this: Twenty-six people are chosen from a studio audience and play a quick trivia game to determine which of them plays in the final game. Each contestant is given a briefcase that contains a check valued from a few cents up to seven figures. The player chooses cases to be opened one by one, and the other 25 have a chance to win a cash prize if they guess the correct amount in their briefcase.
Occasionally, a “banker” offers the player money to make a deal for the player’s own briefcase. The player decides to take the offer or refuse –deal or no deal — on the hope that the next offer will be higher.