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|Let's Make a Deal|
|Also known as||The All New Let's Make a Deal (1984–86)|
|Created by||Stefan Hatos
|Directed by||Joe Behar (1963–77, 1984–85)
Geoff Theobald (1980–81)
Hank Behar (1985–86)
Barry Glazer (1990–91)
James Marcione (1990–91)
Morris Abraham (2003)
Lenn Goodside (2009–present)
Carol Merrill (1963–77)
Maggie Brown (1980–81)
Julie Hall (1980–81)
Karen LaPierre (1984–86)
Melanie Vincz (1984–86)
Diane Klimaszewski (1990–91)
Elaine Klimaszewski (1990–91)
Georgia Satelle (1990–91)
Geri Halliwell (1991)
Alison Fiori (2009–10)
Tiffany Coyne (2010–present)
Danielle Demski (2013–14)
|Narrated by||Wendell Niles (1963–64)
Jay Stewart (1964–77)
Chuck Chandler (1980–81)
Brian Cummings (1984–85)
Dean Goss (1985–86)
Dean Miuccio (1990–91)
Vance DeGeneres (2003)
Jonathan Mangum (2009–present)
|Music by||Sheldon Allman (1963–77, 1984–86)
Marilyn Hall (1963–77, 1984–86)
Michel Camilo for Score Productions, Inc. (1984–86)
|Composer(s)||Ivan Ditmars (1963–76)
Stan Worth (1976–77, 1980–81)
Sheldon Allman (1976–77, 1984–85)
Todd Thicke (1985–86)
Jerry Ray (1990–91)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||NBC/ABC (1963–76): ~3,200
Syndicated (1971–77): 234
Syndicated (1981): 195
Syndicated (1984–86): 390
NBC (1990–91): 128
NBC (2003): 3
CBS (2009–present): 1,000+ (as of December 2014)
|Executive producer(s)||Stefan Hatos (1980–81, 1984–86)
Dick Clark (1990–91)
Ron Greenberg (1990–91)
Monty Hall (2003)
Sharon Hall (2003)
David Garfinkle (2003)
Jay Renfroe (2003)
Jeff Mirkin (2003)
Mike Richards (2009–present)
|Producer(s)||Stefan Hatos (1963–77)
Monty Hall (1980–81)
Ian MacClennan (1980–81)
Bob Synes (1984–86)
Alan Gilbert (1984–86)
Bruce Starin (1990–91)
Paul Pieratt (1990–91)
Ross Kaiman (2003)
Gloria Fujita-O'Brien (2003)
|Location(s)||NBC Studios, Burbank, California (1963–68, 1984–85, 2003)
ABC Television Center, Hollywood, California (1968–76)
Las Vegas Hilton, Las Vegas, Nevada (1976–77)
Panorama Studios, Vancouver, British Columbia (1980–81)
Hollywood Center Studios, Hollywood (1985–86)
Disney's Hollywood Studios, Orlando, Florida (1990–91)
Tropicana Resort & Casino, Las Vegas (2009–10)
Sunset Bronson Studios, Hollywood (2010–2014)
Raleigh Studios Hollywood (2015–present)
|Running time||22–26 minutes (1963–77, 1980–81, 1984–86, 1990–91)
44–52 minutes (2003, 2009–present)
|Production company(s)||Stefan Hatos-Monty Hall Productions (1963–77, 1980–81, 1984–86, 2009–present)
Catalena Productions (1980–81)
Dick Clark Productions (1990–91)
Ron Greenberg Productions (1990–91)
Monty Hall Enterprises, Inc. (2003)
FremantleMedia North America (2009–present)
|Distributor||ABC Films/Worldvision Enterprises (1971–77)
Rhodes Productions (1980–81)
Telepictures Corporation (1984–86)
FremantleMedia Enterprises (2009–present)
|Original network||NBC (1963–68, 1990–91, 2003)
Syndicated (1971–77, 1980–81, 1984–86)
|Picture format||SDTV (480i) (1963–2014)
HDTV (1080i) (2014–)
|Original release||December 30, 1963– present|
Let's Make a Deal is a television game show that originated in the United States in 1963 and has since been produced in many countries throughout the world. The program was created and produced by Stefan Hatos and Monty Hall, the latter serving as its host for many years.
The format of Let's Make a Deal involves selected members of the studio audience, referred to as "traders," making deals with the host. In most cases, a trader will be offered something of value and given a choice of whether to keep it or exchange it for a different item. The program's defining game mechanism is that the other item is hidden from the trader until that choice is made. The trader thus does not know if he or she is getting something of greater value or a prize that is referred to as a "zonk," an item purposely chosen to be of little or no value to the trader.
Let's Make a Deal is also known for audience members who dress up in outrageous or crazy costumes in order to increase their chances of being selected as a trader.
The most recent edition of Let's Make a Deal has been airing on CBS since October 5, 2009, when it took over the spot on the network's daytime schedule vacated by the long running soap opera Guiding Light. Wayne Brady is the host of the current series, with Jonathan Mangum as his announcer/assistant and Alison Fiori as the show's prize model. Tiffany Coyne joined the series as Fiori's replacement in 2010 and musician Cat Gray joined the program in 2011. Danielle Demski filled in for Coyne while the latter was on maternity leave for part of the 2013–14 season.
Let's Make a Deal first aired on NBC in 1963 as part of its daytime schedule. The show moved to ABC in 1968, where it remained until 1976; and on two separate occasions the show was given a weekly nighttime spot on those networks. The first syndicated edition of Let's Make a Deal premiered in 1971. Distributed by ABC Films, and then by its successor Worldvision Enterprises once the fin-syn rules were enacted, the series ran until 1977 and aired weekly.
A revival of the series based in Hall's native Canada was launched in 1980 and aired in syndication on American and Canadian stations for one season. This series was produced by Catalena Productions and distributed in America by Rhodes Productions, Catalena's partner company. In the fall of 1984, the series returned for a third run in syndication as The All-New Let's Make a Deal. Running for two seasons until 1986, this series was distributed by Telepictures.
NBC revived Let's Make a Deal twice in a thirteen-year span. The first was a daytime series in 1990 that was the first to not be produced or hosted by Monty Hall. Instead, the show was a production of Ron Greenberg and Dick Clark. A primetime edition was launched in 2003 but drew poor ratings and was cancelled after three of its intended five episodes had aired.
A partial remake called Big Deal, hosted by Mark DeCarlo, was broadcast on Fox in 1996. In 1998 and 1999, Buena Vista Television (now Disney–ABC Domestic Television) was in talks with Stone-Stanley (the producers of Big Deal) to create a revival hosted by Gordon Elliott, but it was never picked up. The show was one of several used as part of the summer series Gameshow Marathon on CBS in 2006, hosted by Ricki Lake.
As noted above, CBS revived Let's Make a Deal in 2009. The revival premiered on October 5, 2009, and CBS airs the show daily at 10:00 am and 3:00 pm Eastern time (9:00 am and 2:00 pm in other time zones). Like the program that it replaced, the long-running soap opera Guiding Light, affiliates can choose to air it in either time slot; most affiliates, however, prefer the early slot in order to pair the two CBS daytime game shows together.
From September 20 to October 15, 2010, Let's Make a Deal and The Price Is Right aired two episodes a day on alternating weeks. CBS did this to fill a gap between the final episode of As the World Turns, which ended a fifty-four year run on September 17, 2010, and the debut of The Talk. The double-run games aired at 2:00 pm Eastern.
Although the current version of the show debuted in September 2009, long after The Price Is Right (which made the switch in September 2008) and the two Sony Pictures Television daytime dramas had made the switch to high definition, Let's Make a Deal was, along with Big Brother, one of only two programs across the five major networks that was still being actively produced in standard definition. For the start of production for its 2014–15 season in June 2014, Let's Make a Deal began being produced in high definition, with Big Brother 16 making the switch later in June. Let's Make a Deal was the last remaining CBS program to make the switch by air date, with the first HD episode airing on September 22, 2014.
Monty Hall hosted the original daytime network series for its entire run (with the exception of a short time in early 1972 when Hall fell ill and early television pioneer Dennis James substituted in his stead); Hall also hosted its accompanying primetime and syndicated series as well as the two 1980s syndicated efforts, and he served as consultant for the current version until his death.
Game show announcer Bob Hilton became the new host for the NBC 1990 series, however due to low ratings, Hilton was fired from the show and in October 1990, Hall returned to the show (but was announced as "guest host") and remained as host until the series was canceled in January 1991. Access Hollywood host Billy Bush emceed the 2003 series, with Hall making a cameo appearance in one episode. Each Let's Make a Deal announcer also served as a de facto assistant host, as many times the announcer would be called upon to carry props across the trading floor. The original announcer for the series was Wendell Niles, who was replaced by Jay Stewart in 1964. Stewart remained with Let's Make a Deal until the end of the syndicated series in 1977. The 1980 Canadian-produced syndicated series was announced by Chuck Chandler. The 1984 syndicated series employed voice actor Brian Cummings in the announcer/assistant role for its first season, with disc jockey Dean Goss taking the position for the following season. The 1990 NBC revival series was announced by Dean Miuccio, with the 2003 edition featuring Vance DeGeneres in that role.
The longest tenured prize model on Let's Make a Deal was Carol Merrill, who stayed with the series from its debut until 1977. The models on the 1980s series were Maggie Brown, Julie Hall (1980), Karen LaPierre, and Melanie Vincz (1984). For the 1990 series, the show featured Georgia Satelle and identical twins Elaine and Diane Klimaszewski, who later gained fame as the Coors Light Twins.
Hall (2010 and 2013) and Merrill (2013) both appeared on the current Brady version, each making one-week appearances each. The 2013 celebration of the franchise's 50th anniversary was Hall's last official appearance on the show prior to his death, but Hall also appeared in a 2017 CBS publicity shots with Brady as part of a CBS Daytime publicity photo celebrating the network's daytime ratings.
The original daytime series was recorded at NBC Studios in Burbank, California and then at ABC Television Center in Los Angeles once the program switched networks in 1968. The weekly syndicated series also taped at ABC Television Center, doing so for its first five seasons. After ABC cancelled the daytime series in 1976, production of the syndicated series ceased there as well and the sixth and final season was recorded in the ballroom of the Las Vegas Hilton hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The 1980 Canadian series taped at Panorama Studios in Vancouver, BC, which production company Catalena Productions used as its base of operations. The All-New Let's Make a Deal taped its first season of episodes in Burbank at NBC Studios, then moved to Hollywood Center Studios in Hollywood, California for the second and final season. The 1990 NBC daytime series was recorded at Disney-MGM Studios on the grounds of Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The 2003 revival returned production to Burbank.
Each episode of Let's Make a Deal consists of several "deals" between the host and a member (or members, generally a married couple) of the audience, referred to as "traders." Audience members are picked at the host's whim as the show moves along, and couples are often selected to play together as traders. The deals are mini-games within the show that take several formats.
In the simplest format, a trader is given a prize of medium value (such as a television set or a few hundred dollars in cash), and the host offers them the opportunity to trade for another prize. However, the offered prize is unknown. It might be concealed on the stage behind one of three curtains, or behind "boxes" onstage (large panels painted to look like boxes), within smaller boxes brought out to the audience, or occasionally in other formats. The initial prize given to the trader may also be concealed, such as in a box, wallet or purse, or the trader might be initially given a box, envelope or curtain. The format varies widely.
Technically, traders are supposed to bring something to trade in, but this rule has seldom been enforced. On several occasions, a trader is actually asked to trade in an item such as their shoes or purse, only to receive the item back at the end of the deal as a "prize". On at least one occasion, the purse was taken backstage and a high-valued prize was placed inside of it.
Prizes generally are either a legitimate prize, cash, or a Zonk. Legitimate prizes run the gamut of what is typically given away on game shows, including trips, electronics, furniture, appliances, and cars. Zonks are unwanted booby prizes (e.g., live animals, large amounts of food, fake money, fake trips, junked cars, etc. or something outlandish such as a giant article of clothing, a room full of junked furniture, etc.). Sometimes Zonks are legitimate prizes but of a low value (e.g., Matchbox cars, wheelbarrows, T-shirts, grocery prizes, etc.). On rare occasions, a trader appears to get Zonked, but the Zonk is a cover-up for a legitimate prize. On rare occasions, a contestant who is Zonked is given an opportunity to play for the Big Deal of the Day; usually, this happens only if there are very few or no big winners during the show.
Though usually considered joke prizes, traders legally win the Zonks. However, after the taping of the show, any trader who had been Zonked is offered a consolation prize (currently $100) instead of having to take home the actual Zonk. This is partly because some of the Zonks are impractical or physically impossible to receive or deliver to the traders (such as live animals or the guy in an animal costume), or the props are owned by the studio. A disclaimer at the end of the credits of later 1970s episodes read "Some traders accept reasonable duplicates of Zonk prizes." Starting in the 2012–13 season, CBS invited viewers to provide Zonk ideas to producers. At the end of the season, the Zonk declared the most creative was worth $2,500 to the winner, and other viewers' Zonk ideas were also used. For every viewer-developed Zonk, the host announced the viewer who provided the Zonk. The contest has been continued throughout the past several seasons after its 2012 introduction.
As the end credits of the show roll, it is typical for the host to ask random members of the studio audience to participate in fast deals. In the current Wayne Brady version, these are often referred to as "quickie deals", and are conducted by the host, announcer, and model each. CBS will post information on the show's Twitter address (@LetsMakeADeal) days before taping to encourage audience members to carry certain items in their pockets in order to win an additional $500 cash, when one of the hosts approaches them at the end of the show and asks to see such items. The deals are usually in the form of the following:
Deals were often more complicated than the basic format described above. Additionally, some deals took the form of games of chance, and others in the form of pricing games.
A wide variety of chance-based games have been used on the show. Examples:
Depending on the game, the trader is given the opportunity to stop the game at various points and take a "sure thing" deal or cash/prizes already accumulated or continue on and risk possibly losing.
Other deals related to pricing merchandise are featured in order to win a larger prize or cash amounts. Sometimes traders are required to price individual items (either grocery products or smaller prizes generally valued less than $100) within a certain range to win successively larger prizes or a car. Other times traders must choose an item that a pre-announced price, order grocery items or small prizes from least to most expensive, or two items with prices that total a certain amount to win a larger prize. These games are not used on the CBS version because of their similarities to The Price is Right.
On the CBS version, due to the similarities of the pricing game concept with The Price is Right, quiz games are used instead. These deals involve products in the form of when they were introduced to the market, general knowledge quizzes, currency exchange rates (at the time of taping), or knowledge of geography of trips to certain locales used as prizes.
The Big Deal serves as the final segment of the show and offers a chance at a significantly larger prize for a lucky trader. Before the round, the value of the day's Big Deal is announced to the audience.
The process for choosing traders was the same for every series through the 2003 NBC primetime series. Monty Hall (or his successors) would begin asking the day's traders, usually starting with the highest winner, if they wanted to give back what they had managed to win earlier in the show for a chance to choose one of three numbered doors on the stage. The process continued until two traders agreed to play, and the biggest winner of the two got first choice of Door #1, Door #2, or Door #3. The other trader then chose from the remaining two doors. Since the 2009 series, the Big Deal has been played with just one trader.
Each of the doors conceals either a prize package of some sort, or a cash award hidden inside a prop such as "Monty's Piggy Bank" or the "Let's Make a Deal Vault." On occasion, a door containing an all-cash prize is opened before the traders make their choices, but the amount of the prize is not revealed.
The doors are opened in ascending order of value, with the Big Deal always revealed last whether or not it was selected. The Big Deal prize is usually the most extravagant on each episode, and is often a car or a vacation with first-class accommodations. On occasion, the Big Deal consists of one of the all-cash prizes mentioned above; at other times, a cash bonus is added to the prizes in the Big Deal to bring the total up to the announced value.
The Big Deal is the one time in the show where a trader is guaranteed to not walk away with a Zonk. However, it is possible for traders to give up prizes from earlier in the show and receive a prize package behind their chosen door worth somewhat or significantly less than the original prize value.
It is also noted the 1984–86 version had big deals worth significantly lower than their 1970s counterparts, especially when adjusted for inflation, usually in the $8,000 to $9,000 range.
During the 1975–76 syndicated season, winners of the Big Deal were offered a chance to win the "Super Deal". At this point, Big Deals were limited to a range of $8,000 to $10,000. The trader could risk their Big Deal winnings on a shot at adding a $20,000 cash prize, which hidden behind only one of three mini doors onstage. The other two doors contained cash amounts of $1,000 or $2,000; however, the $1,000 value was later replaced with a "mystery" amount between $1,000 and $9,000. A trader who decided to play risked their Big Deal winnings and selected one of the mini doors. If the $20,000 prize was behind the door, the trader kept the Big Deal and added the $20,000 prize, for a potential maximum total of $30,000. However, if a trader selected one of the other two doors, he or she forfeited the Big Deal prizes but kept the cash amount behind the door. The Super Deal was discontinued when the show permanently moved to Las Vegas for the final season (1976–77), and Big Deal values returned to the previous range of $10,000 to $15,000.
Since 2012, the Super Deal is offered as a limited event and is not played regularly. The show will designate one or two weeks of episodes, typically airing during a special event (e.g., the 500th episode, 50th anniversary of franchise, etc.), each season for the Super Deal. In this version of the Super Deal, the top cash prize is $50,000 while the other two cash prizes are $1,000 and $2,000. In addition, instead of using mini doors, the cash amounts are hidden in three envelopes labeled ruby, silver, and emerald.
For season premiere weeks in seasons 7-8 of the Brady version, Big Deal of the Day winners have an opportunity to win every non-Zonk, non-cash prize from that day's episode as a "Mega-Deal". Prior to the start of the Big Deal, the contestant picked both a Big Deal curtain and one of seven Mega Deal cards (reduced by one for each day that the Mega Deal was not won that week). Unlike the Super Deal, the contestant does not risk their winnings in the Mega Deal. Only if the contestant won the Big Deal would the contestant's card would be revealed. If the card was the Mega Deal, they won every non-Zonk, non-cash prize on the show that day. Regardless, at the end of the Big Deal, whichever door was chosen was the contestant's to keep.
The week of May 9, 2016 was designated Mash-Up Week; on that week, Deal featured games from The Price is Right, although modified to fit the Deal format. Likewise, Price featured Deal's games but with a twist; the most common twist was guessing the price of items to earn the chance at the games.
Upon the original Let's Make a Deal's debut, journalist Charles Witbeck was skeptical of the show's chances of success, noting that the previous four NBC programs to compete with CBS's Password had failed. Some critics described the show as "mindless" and "demeaning to traders and audiences alike".
By 1974, however, the show had spent more than a decade at or near the top of daytime ratings, and became the highest-rated syndicated primetime program. At the time, the show held the world's record for the longest waiting list for tickets in show-business history – there were 350 seats available for each show, and a wait time of two-to-three years after requesting a ticket.
In 2001, Let's Make a Deal was ranked as #18 on TV Guide's list of "The 50 Greatest Game Shows of All Time". In 2006, GSN aired a series of specials counting down its own list of the "50 Greatest Game Shows of All Time", on which Let's Make a Deal was #7.
Many of the show's estimated five thousand plus episodes exist:
RTL Group holds international (and as of February 2009, American) rights to the show, and has licensed the show to 14 countries.
|Region or country||Local name||Host||Network||Dates|
|Australia||Let's Make A Deal||Mike Dyer
|Vince Sorrenti||Network Ten||1990–91|
|Brazil||Topa um Acordo?||Rodrigo Faro||Rede Record||April 26, 2014 – December 2014|
|Canada (in English)||Let's Make A Deal||Monty Hall||Syndication||1980–81*|
|Egypt||لعبة الحياة – ليتس ميك آي ديل
Lebet el hayat
|Moutaz Al-Demirdash||Al Hayat 1||2013–present|
|France||Le Bigdil||Vincent Lagaf' and Bill||TF1||1998–2004|
|Germany||Geh aufs Ganze!||Jörg Draeger
kabel eins (1999–2003)
|Greece||Τo Μεyάλo Παζάρi
To Megalo Pazari
|Andreas Mikroutsikos||Mega Channel||1992–93|
|Τα σουτιέν και ο Αντρέας – Το πιο Μεγάλο Παζάρι
Ta soutien kai o Antreas – To pio Megalo Pazari
|Hungary||Zsákbamacska||Rozsa Gyorgy||MTV 1||1994–98|
|India||Khullja Sim Sim||Aman Verma
|Indonesia||Super Deal 2 Milyar||Nico Siahaan
Aditya Herpavi Rachman
Indra Bekti and Indy Barends
April 29, 2010 – December 31, 2010
July 25, 2011 – November 21, 2011
|Super Deal||Uya Kuya||2014–2015|
|Raffi Ahmad and Ruben Onsu||2016|
|Italy||Facciamo un affare||Iva Zanicchi||Canale 5||1985–86|
|Michel Kazi||Future TV||2002|
|Poland||Idź na całość||Zygmunt Chajzer (1997–2000)
Krzysztof Tyniec (2000–2001)
|Portugal||Negócio Fechado||Henrique Mendes||SIC||1999–2000|
|Romania||Batem palma!||Dan Negru||Antena 1||2002–03|
|Spain||Fem Un Pacte||Joan Monleón||Canal Nou||1996|
|Trato Hecho||Bertín Osborne||Antena 3||1998–2000
|¿Hay Trato?||Carlos Sobera||2004|
|Turkey||Seç Bakalım||Erhan Yazıcıoğlu||Kanal 6
|United Kingdom||Trick or Treat||Mike Smith and Julian Clary||LWT||January 7, 1989 – March 25, 1989|
|U.S. (in English)||Let's Make a Deal||Monty Hall||NBC||1963–67|
|The All-New Let's Make a Deal||Syndication||1984–86|
|Let's Make a Deal||Bob Hilton||NBC||1990–91|
|Big Deal||Mark DeCarlo||FOX||1996|
|Let's Make a Deal||Billy Bush||NBC||2003|
|U.S. (in Spanish)||Trato Hecho||Guillermo Huesca||Univision||January 10, 2005 – December 9, 2005|
|Vietnam||Ô cửa bí mật||Trần Ngọc||VTV3||January 6, 2008 – early 2012|
* The 1980–81 version aired in both the U.S. and Canada.
In 1964, Milton Bradley released a home version of Let's Make a Deal featuring gameplay somewhat different from the television show. In 1974, Ideal Toys released an updated version of the game featuring Hall on the box cover, which was also given to all traders on the syndicated version in the 1974–75 season. An electronic tabletop version by Tiger Electronics was released in 1998. In the late summer of 2006, an interactive DVD version of Let's Make a Deal was released by Imagination Games, which also features classic clips from the Monty Hall years of the show. In 2010, Pressman Toy Corporation released an updated version of the box game, with gameplay more similar to the 1974 version, featuring Brady on the box cover.
In 1999, Shuffle Master teamed up with Bally's to do a video slot machine game based on the show with the voice and likeness of Monty Hall.
In 2004, IGT (International Gaming Technology) did a new video slot game based on the show still featuring Monty Hall.
In 2013, Aristocrat Technology did an all-new video slot machine game based on the Wayne Brady version.
The Monty Hall Problem, also called the Monty Hall paradox, is a veridical paradox because the result appears impossible but is demonstrably true. The Monty Hall problem, in its usual interpretation, is mathematically equivalent to the earlier Three Prisoners problem, and both bear some similarity to the much older Bertrand's box paradox. The problem examines the counterintuitive effect of switching one's choice of doors, one of which hides a "prize".
The problem has been analyzed many times, in books, articles and online. In an interview with The New York Times reporter John Tierney in 1991, Hall gave an explanation of the solution to that problem, stating that he played on the psychology of the trader, and why the solution did not apply to the case of the actual show.
Wearing costumes was the audience’s idea. To attract Monty’s attention, the traders got creative to out-do each other.