Perhaps the reason that Deal or No Deal is one of the most popular game shows of the 21st century is its simplicity. There are 26 different cash amounts hidden in 26 briefcases or boxes. There is one player, who selects a case to keep and then opens the 25 other cases one by one to get a clue as to what amount is inside her own.
The banker (an unseen fictional character in the show) will offer to buy back the player’s case. He does not know what it contains, so he repeatedly refines his offer as the other cases are eliminated. The player must decide whether to sell her case or whether to play on and keep whatever amount is inside – and that’s where the title Deal or No Deal comes from.
Deal or No Deal is a simple game that has been distributed globally by Endemol for over a decade. In fact, Endemol calls it “the most flexible gameshow ever invented”. Not only has it provided hours of entertainment to viewers like us, but it has also intrigued economists, statisticians and mathematicians because of its decision-making element.
Play the Game
Let’s face it, not everyone can be a contestant on the real show. But you can still play the game online or on your smartphone, tablet or PC. And in some games, you can even win real money! Not as much money as on the real show, of course – but it’s still better than a poke in the eye.
When it comes to Deal or No Deal apps, you can get the game for your iPhone, iPad or Android smartphone or tablet. The best apps replicate the experience of the real show by using the same logo, music and graphics – and they’re free too. Some apps are for fun only, while others give you the choice of playing for fun or for real money. Make sure to read our full write-up on Deal or No Deal apps to find out which ones we recommend.
Deal or No Deal is also a popular game to play online. Online casinos offer it as a gambling game where you can win small sums of money. Or, you can play for fun, where you pay nothing and there is no real money involved. There are even online slot machine games themed around Deal or No Deal, and a number of other variations such as bingo. To find out where to play, read our full write-ups on Deal or No Deal slot machine games or on all Deal or No Deal online games.
If you want to play while you’re off the net, you can always download your Deal or No Deal game. As well as apps for smartphones and tablets, there is a PC edition, and you can also download wallpapers and the show’s theme tune as an audio file! You can find the best Deal or No Deal downloads here.
History of Deal or No Deal
Deal or No Deal began on a Netherlands show called Miljoenenjacht (which translates to Hunt for Millions). The show, created by John de Mol and hosted by his wife Linda de Mol, began in 2000 as a quiz show. However, it was not until 2002 that Dick de Rijk invented the game we know now as Deal or No Deal and it replaced the second half of the quiz.
Deal or No Deal started to go global when the Seven Network in Australia imported the show from de Mol’s distribution company Endemol, and adapted it for Australia in 2003. The 2003 Australian version was strongly based upon the original Dutch version of the show, borrowing elements such as the preliminary quiz and a live cross to the show’s independent adjudicator.
However, the format was permanently re-worked in 2004. The most significant change was the dropping of the quiz that took up the first half of the show. This pure Deal format is the one still used in Australia today, and the one that other countries adapted.
Australia invented the name Deal or No Deal, and if it weren’t for Australia and Seven, Deal or No Deal may not have become the global phenomenon it has become. In 2005, the United Kingdom and the United States launched their own versions, and there have now been 100+ adaptations around the world.
Between them all, imagine how much money they’ve given away!
Cast and Personalities
Because Deal or No Deal is a game that relies more on chance than on skill, it could be argued that most of its entertainment value comes from its personalities. Contestants are usually chosen on the basis of personality and being outgoing, and the show typically has a host with a strong personality too.
For example, the hosts in Australia (Andrew O’Keefe) and the U.S. (Howie Mandel) both had experience as comedians before hosting Deal or No Deal, and O’Keefe especially is known for the comic relief he brings to his role as host of Deal.
The host of the UK version, Noel Edmonds, previously hosted a variety show called Noel’s House Party, which was known for the character Mr Blobby. He has gained immense popularity with the daytime audience through hosting Deal or No Deal.
The display of personalities doesn’t stop with the host and player. Especially in the U.S. and UK versions of the show, the banker displays somewhat of a sadistic personality and often taunts the player. Of course, he is never seen. You can learn more about the Deal or No Deal bankers here.
An iconic part of the American version of the show is the 26 female models who open the briefcases. Though the models appear in other countries too, they were more prominent in the American version because each model would retain the same case throughout the series and the audience could become familiar with them. The Australian version now only has 3 models and they are called “dealettes”. To find out more, read our full write-up on the Deal or No Deal models.
In the Australian version, there is one more cast member aside from the host, contestants, models and banker – and that’s the narrator who introduces the show. From the show’s inception until 2011 it was Marcus Irvine, who narrated other Australian game shows such as The Weakest Link and The Rich List. John Deeks, a familiar voice who narrates the JB Hi-Fi television ads, took over in 2012.
The original Netherlands show, Miljoenenjacht, began on November 25, 2000, and added the Deal or No Deal game on December 22, 2002. The top prize has always been €5,000,000. The show still continues today and is still hosted by Linda de Mol, although a spin-off version called Deal or No Deal began in 2006 that has €250,000 as its top prize and appears to be based on the UK version.
Australia was the first country to adapt the original Netherlands show. Since then, there has been a UK version, a U.S. version and versions in about 100 other regions. Some of them are:
- Arab World
- New Zealand
- South Korea
The Australia version started on July 13, 2003. It’s hosted by Andrew O’Keefe on the Seven Network and its top prize has been A$200,000 since 2004. In 2003, it used a format much more similar to the original Netherlands version and with a top prize of A$2,000,000. The drop in the top prize was likely due to the show moving from one episode a week to five episodes a week.
The UK version started on October 31, 2005 on Channel 4. Hosted by Noel Edmonds, it’s a hugely popular daytime show and has a top prize of £250,000. An interesting difference is that the show uses 22 boxes instead of 26 briefcases.
The U.S. version ran between 2005 and 2008 on NBC. The host was Howie Mandel and the top prize was $1,000,000, but perhaps it was best known for its 26 female models who opened the briefcases. There were in fact two other versions of the show in the U.S. – one that screened in the daytime between 2008 and 2010, and one in Spanish called Vas o No Vas.
Though no longer on air, the U.S. version left a legacy in its black and gold logo, which was adapted by many other countries worldwide including Australia and the Netherlands!
Want to be a contestant on Deal or No Deal? There are a few requirements. Firstly, you need to live in a region where Deal or No Deal is currently running. The show still runs in Australia and the UK, but Americans are out of luck because the show was canceled in 2008.
You also need to have an outgoing personality. Auditions for Deal or No Deal in both Australia and the UK require you to demonstrate your personality by answering questions, being filmed, interviewed and taking part in group games. You can find out how to audition for Deal and where to get more details here.
Thousands of people around the globe have gone through this audition process and appeared on the show. Most walk away with a good deal, but a select few play on until the end and are lucky enough to find the maximum prize inside their briefcase or box. You can find out who the winners have been here.
Websites and Videos
We’ve handpicked a selection of Deal or No Deal videos and clips from YouTube. You can watch all the top prize winners from Australia, the UK and the U.S., watch the UK and U.S. bankers’ faces being revealed, watch what the original Dutch show was like, see President George W. Bush’s appearance on Deal and more. Watch the videos here.
Also, we have a list of useful websites, articles, downloads and online games on the topic of Deal or No Deal. You can see our full list of Deal or No Deal websites here, but remember there’s one useful Deal website that’s not on the list – and that’s this one! So don’t leave just yet – take the opportunity to learn something new, watch an entertaining clip or find a fun game to play.