Monday, April 9, 2012

Past, Present, and Future: "Let’s Make A Deal"

Courtesy CBS.
In honor of Let’s Make A Deal celebrating 500 episodes of the show’s return on CBS, this week’s article will be dedicated to the Let’s Make A Deal’s progression throughout the years. From the show’s humble beginnings to the success it has become today, I’m about to show you the past, present, and the future of Let’s Make A Deal.

The Past
Monty Hall making deals on the 1991 NBC version of
the show. Courtesy NBC.
Let’s Make a Deal premiered in 1963 on ABC with Canadian host Monty Hall and Jay Stewart as the announcer. For almost two decades, Monty Hall has been wheeling and dealing with costumed contestants who come from all walks of life. In the beginning, Let’s Make a Deal started making simple “cash or curtain” deals with the contestants and often played games that involved pricing groceries for a new car or a trip. From Cadillacs and Convertibles to 50 pounds of cheese and crackers, you name it, a contestant probably won it on a show at one point in time. As the series progressed, the show began to add more special games in an effort give away even more spectacular prizes. Two of the special games with the largest payoff that were played on throughout the series were “Door #4” and the “Super Deal”.

The Super Deal introduced on the '75-'76
syndicated version. Courtesy GSN.
Door #4 was introduced on The All New Let’s Make a Deal in 1984. This game was played every few shows and a contestant was selected at random via the “People Picker” randomizer. When Door #4 was first introduced, the contestant was offered a guaranteed prize or the unknown cash reward hidden behind Door #4, which ranged from $1-$5,000. Later in the series, the Door #4 format changed to the contestant spinning a wheel. With the wheel format, a contestant could win up to $10,000 or even a brand new car. Click here to check out the game in action. Towards the end of the original Let’s Make A Deal series, the 1975 syndicated season introduced the Super Deal. The Super Deal only appeared if a contestant won the Big Deal of The Day. In the Super Deal, a contestant could win up to $20,000 in cash, in addition to what they have won in the Big Deal. Otherwise, the contestant would lose the Big Deal and only win the consolation prize of $1,000 or $2,000. Sadly, the Super Deal only lasted for a year before the show moved to Las Vegas for the final season. 

Throughout the years, the series has been revived five times, including the CBS version that is currently airing today. With each revival, the stakes were getting higher and so were the value of the Big Deals. When the show returned briefly in 2003, the Big Deals were worth more than $50,000.  That is pretty impressive considering the Big Deal was worth about $3,000 during the 60’s. Even though contestants broke the record for the most cash and prizes won in one episode while the Big Deals were worth over $50,000 at the time, this record would soon be broken on the CBS version of Let’s Make a Deal

The Present

In 2009, CBS revived Let’s Make a Deal with comedian Wayne Brady as the host and Jonathan Mangum as the announcer. CBS did a fantastic job of staying true to the show’s format as well as assembling a stellar cast. The combination of Wayne Brady, Jonathan Mangum, and Tiffany Coyne makes the show even more enjoyable to watch because of their great chemistry. Check out some of these clips below. 

Wayne Brady and a trader "going for a spin" for
a brand new car. Courtesy CBS. 
Like the original version, the show features Brady making deals with contestants for them to win prizes or get “zonked” in the process. One of the main differences that stood out to me between the current and the original version is that there are more games of chance and trivia games played on the current version, rather than an influx of games where contestants have to price grocery items. In my opinion, this was a good move by CBS to stray away from the “grocery pricing games”, especially since The Price Is Right airs on the same network. With the increase of chance games, CBS’s Let’s Make a Deal took this opportunity to create more improv-based (with Brady and Mangum’s great improv talent) and high stakes games such as “Car Pong”, “Movin’ On Up”, and “Panic Button”. This version also resurrected to big payoff games based on Door #4 and the Super Deal. The Door #4 wheel game was revived with “Go For A Spin”. Click here to find out more information about the revamped Door #4 game. 

Also, in honor of the 500th episode of CBS’s Let’s Make a Deal, the show brought back the Super Deal end game for two weeks. The Super Deal on the CBS version was played exactly like the original version with the exception of the small doors replaced by the ruby, sapphire, and emerald envelopes and the grand prize was upped to $50,000. During the first week of the Super Deal, few contestants took on the Super Deal challenge, but all of them failed and walked away with either $1,000 or $2,000. On April 2, 2012, Let’s Make a Deal history was made as Jorge became the biggest money winner in the history of the show. Click here to check out Jorge’s jackpot payoff. With a contestant winning over $70,000 in cash and prizes, there was no doubt that the return of the Super Deal was a successful one.

The Future

Courtesy CBS.
With the show’s gaining popularity and notoriety and constantly creating new, creative ways to make deals with the contestants through comedy and chance games, I think it’s safe to say that Let’s Make a Deal will not be going anywhere anytime soon. Also, since the Super Deal served its purpose in the CBS revival, could this mean that the Super Deal will return in the upcoming season? Will the show begin to air more special theme episodes, such as “Decade Day” during the second season? Will the show be nominated for a Daytime Emmy after being on the air for the past three seasons? Only time will tell. One way to find out is to keep watching the success that is Let’s Make a Deal on CBS every weekday morning!

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