A $500,000 'Deal'

Money talks and a half-million dollars talks loudly for NBC Universal's Deal or No Deal, which each week will give 22 case-holding contestants a chance to win it all.

Until now, NBC Universal hadn't said how much it would give away on the daily syndicated show. Now they have and as Linda Finnell, NBC Universal's senior VP of programming and development states, “$500,000 is a great amount of money—it's life-changing.” (The primetime show dangles $1 million, but no one has ever won it.)

In the half-hour daytime version, which rolls out on Sept. 8, contestants will pick and choose among cases, hoping to finally land on the big money.

“It's a game about guts, glory and having what it takes to go the distance,” Finnell says.

Other changes are in store for the Howie Mandel-hosted show: Models won't hold the cases, contestants will, a change that Finnell says is a “fascinating addition to the show. It's a really intense time for them; they bond and create friendships.

“At the end of the day, all these other contestants that are also playing are yelling 'take it' or 'don't take it.'”

The show still feature models, though: Two of them will spin a wheel each day that determines which of the contestants gets to put down his or her case and come and play.

And at-home fans can play along for money as well. Viewers can go to the syndicated show's Website at www.DealorNoDealTV.com or to their local affiliate's Website and play an interactive game, which will give them the chance to win $10,000 each week.


Every syndicated magazine except Warner Bros.' TMZ hit a new season low in the week ending July 6—typically the lowest-rated week of the year. That's because it's interrupted by Independence Day and 30 hours of Wimbledon coverage.

CBS' Entertainment Tonight remained the top syndie magazine, although the show fell 15% for the week to a 3.3 live-plus-same-day-household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. CBS' Inside Edition also declined 15% to a 2.3. TMZ slipped 5% to a 1.9. CBS' The Insider dropped 11% to a 1.6, tying NBC Universal's Access Hollywood, which lost 16%. Warner Bros.' Extra dropped 13% to a 1.4.

Talk shows weren't that bad off. Warner Bros.' Tyra Banks had the biggest weekly increase of any strip in syndication, jumping 22% to a 1.1, and getting a 33% spike on June 30 to a 1.2 for a repeat of a show featuring six syndicated TV judges.

CBS' Dr. Phil, in a close second place to CBS' Oprah Winfrey Show, had the sharpest improvement year-to-year of any show in syndication, jumping 13% in households and 18% among women 25-54, despite dipping 3% for the week to a 3.4.

Oprah, whose ratings were counted for all five days unlike many other shows, fell 10% to a new season low of 3.6. In third place, Disney-ABC's Live With Regis and Kelly inched up 4% to a 2.5, after hitting a series low the prior week. NBC Universal's Maury and CBS' Rachael Ray held steady at 1.8 and 1.5, respectively.

Warner Bros.' Ellen dropped 13% to a new season low of 1.4. Ellen only counted a three-day average due to tennis preemptions.

There were declines in court shows, game shows and off-net comedies. CBS' Judge Judy fell 4% to a 4.3; CBS' Wheel of Fortune, with a 6.0, and Jeopardy!, with a 5.0, hit season lows; and Warner Bros. rookie Two and a Half Men led but was down 15% to a 3.9.

Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.