Game show revivals have become summer staples on several broadcast networks, and now an unlikely outlet—CNBC—will be jumping on the bandwagon when it begins airing new episodes of Deal or No Deal in December.
In the Howie Mandel-hosted game show, which aired on NBC from 2005-2009, contestants choose from among 26 briefcases, each containing anything from a penny to $1 million, as the mysterious “Banker” offers them cash for what might be inside their selected suitcase.
CNBC has built a prime-time lineup over the past five years that “captured the spirit of business and entrepreneurship,” said Jim Ackerman, evp of primetime alternative programming, on Wednesday at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour in Los Angeles.
But the network wanted to find “a show that could help us go to the next level,” said Ackerman—and thinks Deal or No Deal will be it.
“There is no project I’ve ever been part of that has changed my life, that has changed my career, that is more exciting to be part of than Deal or No Deal,” said Mandel. “And for nine years, I’ve been trying to scratch and claw my way back onto this stage.”
Mandel said CNBC is an ideal home for the show because the network is about “business” and helping audiences understand, “How can I better my life? … Nothing is going to teach you that like the examples that we set in every episode of this.”
Beginning Dec. 5, CNBC will air 30 new one-hour episodes of Deal or No Deal, which is in production now at the Universal Orlando Resort. The show will air weekly.
In this new iteration of the show, contestants have the chance to negotiate,” said Mandel. “I can hear a contestant, trying to give me an idea of what they’re going to offer and why, and then she will explain to me very vividly and very easily why or why not this is not going to be a deal. And based on the numbers and based on the risk, it’s kind of like a great class in finance.”
The game show is “better than it was” on NBC, said Mandel. “They say you can’t go home. There is no better place to be than home, and my new home is CNBC.”
One of the “briefcase models” in the original run of the show was Meghan Markle, who later went on to star in Suits and marry Prince Harry in May, becoming the Duchess of Sussex. Mandel joked that Markle acted “slightly Duchess-y” when she appeared from 2006-2007.
Speaking with Adweek after the panel, CNBC’s Ackerman said that with so much competition among other cable and streaming services, “we were looking for something that would help us cut the line, and clearly by going after a legacy hit, a show that had been a massive hit just in 2009, with so much name value, that had core elements that spoke to what we do in prime, felt like the right move. The question was, were we going to bold enough to make such a big swing?”
The network briefly discussed doing a “smaller version” of the international format, more in line with what airs in the U.K., said Ackerman. “But we felt, that would be a tremendous disappointment, the spectacle and the size of that set is part of the grandeur and the drama of the game.”
Ackerman said Deal or No Deal will be a good fit for viewers, particularly families, who already watch CNBC prime-time shows like Shark Tank (which it airs in syndication) and The Profit.
“We’re pretty cognizant of the fact that we want co-viewing. We want anyone to watch, but we want parents to be able to watch with their kids,” he said. “I feel like the DNA of these shows fit very well.”