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    Deal or No Deal on NBC

    I’ve lately been watching a game show called Deal or No Deal. It’s ending the season on Monday, on NBC at 8 PM. My Mom told me about the show and she couldn’t believe I’d never seen or heard of it. Here’s how it goes:

    A contestant is called up from the audience and must choose hidden amounts of money in briefcases held by female models. The more low numbers they choose, the better the chance they will get a large sum of money as a prize. Pretty simple.

    When they have opened the required number of cases, a “phone call” from the show’s “banker” rings and is answered by host Howie Mandel with an offer of money which the contestant can take or refuse; thus the show’s title.

    Howie Mandel started his career in stand-up comedy. I used to work in a comedy club in New York City called “Catch a Rising Star.” I saw a lot of stand-up comics who never made the big time. In fact, a friend of mine used to date Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central. I just reduced my cable subscription, so I don’t get that station any more. But I do know that for every comic who makes it big, there are literally thousands who struggle and never make a living at it. So it’s all the more remarkable that someone like Mandel has made it to other genre’s and even hosts his own game show.

    Herman hates the show and can’t believe I’m so enthused about it. He says it’s really just a big guessing game with no more logic or system than anyone trying to win the lottery. I beg to differ. The very fact that the “banker” offers differing amounts of cash for the “deal” shows there really is a statistical probability about getting a big payoff.

    Anyway, what the show is really about is the emotions of the potential winners, their family and friends who act as advisors about whether to take the “deal” when offered, and of course the suspense of finding out if they made the “right” choice.

    I absolutely love this show because I enjoy the suspense and the interaction between the players, their families and of course Mandel. He approaches each contestant with a casual and expectant tone. I think he’s a great choice for the host.

    Lastly, when I looked up Howie Mandel on the Internet I was surprised at how many films and television shows he’s been in since the 1980’s. Most of the shows were ones I never heard of, but he has certainly been in quite a few and I know how hard it is to get a spot on any show, having tried for years with minimal success.

    Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com