Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Brunswick Mayor Brokers Fame, Fortune on 'Deal or No Deal'; Bryan Thompson Got His Chance on NBC Show Airing Monday Night

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Brunswick Mayor Brokers Fame, Fortune on 'Deal or No Deal'; Bryan Thompson Got His Chance on NBC Show Airing Monday Night

Article excerpt

Byline: TERRY DICKSON

BRUNSWICK, Ga. -- Mayor Bryan Thompson is on TV pretty often but doesn't get good ratings. Local access channel broadcasts of City Commission meetings are unlikely to beat out any prime-time shows.

But Thompson will be seen by millions Monday night when his appearance on NBC's Deal or No Deal is aired at 8 p.m.

Thompson, who has a background in theater and the arts, gave this fair and balanced assessment of the episode.

"This is fine, quality television we'll be bringing into living rooms all across America," he said.

Without giving away the ending, Thompson says he had a splendid time as did an entourage that included his wife, Heather Heath, campaign chairman Robert Griffin, Glynn County school board member LaVerne Cooper and friends Bea Zimmer and Jack Waters.

For the uninitiated, the show works this way. Twenty-seven models -- Deal or No Deal's version of Vanna White -- are each holding a numbered metal suitcase. Inside are figures ranging from a penny to $1 million. To start the game, the contestant picks a suitcase that stays with him and host Howie Mandel. Then he picks suitcases that are opened. As they are opened, the dollar -- or penny amounts -- are eliminated.

As the numbers come up, a money man in a booth makes offers that the contestant can accept or refuse in hopes he picked a suitcase with a high figure.

So how did Thompson do? He and his gang won't say, and there's a reason: NBC's lawyers.

"They scared the hell out of all of us about not talking about the outcome and made us sign papers indicating they had indeed scared the hell out of us," Thompson said.

Getting to Los Angeles was almost like an episode of CBS' The Amazing Race. Flying out of Jacksonville at 7 a.m. Feb. 17, they landed in Memphis, Tenn., for a connecting flight. They had beaten an ice storm into Memphis. They did not beat it out of town.

With their flights canceled, the Brunswick party had to sprint across the airport several times to find other flights. Thompson and Heath landed in Los Angeles eight hours late and his supporters 12 hours late.

Cooper said she had never heard of the show until Thompson asked her to take the trip to Los Angeles, but she has watched it since. …

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