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Published: Monday, 2/27/2006

'Deal or No Deal' returns with a week of episodes


NBC's no-need-for-knowledge game show Deal or No Deal returns Monday for a week of episodes before settling into a regular Monday time slot on March 6.

Host Howie Mandel presides over this gambling game. Contestants ask models to open briefcases numbered 1 through 26, with each case containing a different dollar amount. The goal is to eliminate as many low-value cases as possible so the show's unseen banker will offer up a larger amount of money to the contestant, who can take the deal or say, "No deal!," and continue to play.

"You can go home with a lot of money with absolutely no skill," Mandel said last month at an NBC press conference in Pasadena, Calif. "You can be a rock and move into another tax bracket."

For Mandel, who was a reluctant game-show host when first approached to work on the highly rated first week of Deal that aired in December, it's turned into a plum gig.

"They've afforded me the opportunity to do everything I've done in my career," he said. "I can be dramatic, and there are very dramatic moments. I can be comedic, improvisational, because I'm in front of a live audience and talking to these people."

After the first week of shows aired, Mandel said he ran into a man in Miami who insisted on showing the host black-and-blue marks on his arms.

"I go, 'I'm sorry, what is that?' He goes, 'A week of Deal or No Deal with my wife sitting on this side of me on the couch,'" Mandel said. "She would go, 'Take the deal' and punch him for it. That's what I've heard most how people have been spending their time at home screaming at the TV."

The Block News Alliance consists of The Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rob Owen is the TV editor for the Post-Gazette.

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