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Lou Pickney's Online Commentary

Deal Or No Deal

Wednesday
December 21, 2005

If you've missed out on the new game show Deal Or No Deal on NBC, you really should give it a look. It's running as a five consecutive day special this week, at 8 p.m. Eastern nightly through Friday night on NBC. According to TVGameshows.net, the show has been a ratings-winner so far, capturing wins in the overnight Nielsens on Monday night (posting the best number in that slot in 14 months) and, more impressively, last night, beating CBS' NCIS (which bores me to death, but which does pretty well.) Again it did fantastic for its timeslot, behind only the season finale of The Biggest Loser as the top rated show in that slot in the past year.

Keep in mind that this is in the tough pre-Christmas week, when many people are out shopping and altering schedules and not watching TV like they normally might be. Not to jinx things, but so far it's off to a great start.

Deal Or No Deal
$189,000... I'd take that deal.

There's not much intelligent thought to it, but the game is ripe with tension. Here's how it works: you pick a briefcase (one of 26 marked cases), which contains an amount of money ranging from 1 penny to $1,000,000, and you choose numbers to open up other suitcases, thus narrowing down what is in your case. The contestant is periodically offered a payoff to leave by "The Bank", depending on the money amounts left on the board.

It's easier to watch it than to figure out my explanation of it. But it's easy to grasp, dramatic as hell, and even host Howie Mandel is excellent in his role. Mandel, incidentally, might be the first-ever game show host with a soul patch. Can anyone confirm or deny? He's been great at connecting with the guest and keeping things moving (and witty) without dragging things down at all with any forced jokes. Also, the fact that he identifies the models holding the briefcases by name is a nice touch.

In short... watch the show. It has the look of being the "next big thing" and could possibly launch another game show renaissance (like Who Wants To Be A Millionaire did in 1999.) We can hope.

Incidentally, I saw Howie Mandel do an impromptu, unannounced stand-up routine a few years back at a comedy show at The Improv in Ybor City. He was very funny in that role, but as a game show host he seems to really fit well.

I hooked up the Sirius Satellite Radio that Bubba gave me in my apartment last night. And, wow, I was blown away. Perhaps my Ybor apartment is near a "translator", as reception was never a problem, but whatever the case it was tremendous. The Pulse, which is a 90s music station (with a few Modern AC tracks from this decade), blew me away. How this hasn't been put on the air as a terrestrial radio format, I don't know, but I'm sure glad that Sirius has it. Shade 45 is the best hip hop channel I've EVER heard. I was just sampling last night, and I planned to listen until they played a song I didn't like... and that took an HOUR to happen.

Other good channels include Alt Nation (modern rock), Left of the Dial (indie rock), BBC Radio One (a time-delayed feed of Radio One from England, which I grew to love while at Harlaxton College in the fall of 1998) and Super Shuffle (which is the Variety Hits format taken to an extreme level.) I didn't get much of a chance to sample the dance channels, and I'm curious how those compare to the Music Choice offerings from cable. With the rest of the selections, Sirius blows MC away.

One more thing: the quality of the music was amazing. Better than FM. Plus, with the FM transmitter in the Sirius player, I could pick it up on any radio in my apartment. That was a very nice touch that I hadn't even anticipated.

All of that... and of course Howard 100 and Howard 101 are there, with Howard Stern and Bubba both debuting on 1-9-2006. Good times all around with that...


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