Magazine article Variety

Gameshow Rides Chaos to New Highs

Magazine article Variety

Gameshow Rides Chaos to New Highs

Article excerpt

Whatever's behind doors number one, two or three, "Let's Make a Deal" has been a winner for CBS.

On May 4, the venerable gameshow threw an on-air party when its latest iteration, which premiered in the fall of 2009, hit 1,001 episodes, and handed out over $370,000 worth of cash and prizes.

Created by Stefan Hatos and host Monty Hall, "Deal" has aired in daytime and primetime and the classic episodes will soon encore on upstart digital net Buzzr. The skein originally premiered on NBC in 1963, before moving to ABC, into syndication, back to NBC, and eventually landing at CBS, where it now airs every weekday.

FremantleMedia North America produces the show, with Mike Richards, Dan Funk and Jennifer Mullin as executive producers.

Improv artist and actor Wayne Brady hosts the current version, paired with announcer-assistant Jonathan Mangum, his longtime friend and improv partner. Model Tiffany Coyne presents the prizes and Cat Gray provides the musical score from his on-set keyboard.

Then there are the contestants, called "traders," who show up in self-designed costumes ranging from mildly eccentric to wildly outrageous.

According to Mullin, "Deal" works because "it's the anti-game show gameshow. It's completely one of those gameshows where there's a spin in the game, but you never see the same thing twice.

"[With 'Deal'], it's how we wrap it - the comedy and the entertainment value and the variety - that goes along with what keeps it fresh every day. And Wayne's so hip and cool, that I think it would be impossible for the kids not to love it."

"This is the way we pitched it to CBS," Richards notes. "It will be a completely different show every episode. There's never the same games; there's never a cheap prize. There's no rhythm to it, and it's basically barely contained chaos. I contend that we're the funniest show in daytime, per minute, per laugh."

That offbeat, anything for a laugh sensibility is the main reason the show celebrates its anniversary at episode 1,001, instead of the typical round number.

When it comes to humor and fun, Richards also credits the chemistry of the cast members, who, aside from Coyne, have a performance history together.

"Tiffany is like the little sister," Richards says. "(She's) the smart, sensible one, that knows the big boys are acting ridiculous. Wayne and Jonathan are improv cannons, so she's able to reel them in."

Richards points out that Brady and Mangum have been friends since 1991, when they used to do improv together in Orlando, Fla. …

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