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CBS makes a daytime 'Deal'


Wildly costumed contestants are back – as is their agony in deciding between Door No. 1, Door No. 2 and Door No. 3.

A classic game show gets an update as CBS restores "Let's Make a Deal" to weekday television starting Monday, Oct. 5. Original host Monty Hall is a consultant on the new hourlong version, but now putting the players through their paces is Wayne Brady, the "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" improv master who has gained game-hosting experience on Fox's "Don't Forget the Lyrics!"

"Let's Make a Deal" has a new setting that's much more lavish than the studio-lot stage of Hall's initial 1963-77 version: It's being taped at the Tropicana Las Vegas resort, which is convenient for Brady, since he performs a Vegas stage show at the Venetian several nights each week.

Otherwise, the "Deal" concept remains much the same. Aspiring players in wacky attire compete to grab the host's attention; if they do, then meet the resulting challenges, they're rewarded with prizes that can be cash. Then they must decide whether to keep what they have or yield to temptation by trading it for something unseen, which can be a bigger prize or a "zonk." The hour's winners then get to go for the day's Big Deal and that legendary choice of doors.

"Let's Make a Deal" also had revivals in each decade after the original show ended, and Hall says bringing it back again now owes to "finding the right people. The last couple of times I brought it back, I had closed down my production company, and we brought in other companies, and it wasn't a good fit. We finally found the fit: Fremantle the company, Mike (Richards) the producer and Wayne the emcee. That's the package. It is ready."

Richards, who also oversees the long-running game show "The Price Is Right" for CBS and Fremantle, maintains that pitching "Let's Make a Deal" to replace the now-defunct serial "Guiding Light" was a no-brainer.

"You start with a near-perfect format," Richards says, "and we have Monty and his partner (the late producer Stefan Hatos) to thank for that … 4,700 immaculately produced shows. We've looked at building to where you have someone like Wayne, who has a lot of fun with the people and the customs, and expands it.

"We've added one more segment to the middle, a mid-game that will be fun and feel a little bit different than the rest of the deals. Basically, game-structurewise, (the original approach) is how we left it."

And that's fine with Brady, who long has had affection for "Let's Make a Deal." He says, "I, like a lot of people, grew up watching the show. I loved when people would choose, I loved the 'zonks,' and I loved the deals. To think I could be a part of that, and help drive it with my background in improv … everybody loves free money, so it just seemed like a great fit."

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