Global contest engages would-be millionaires

The buzz is building for Deal or No Deal's Canadian run with the wrap-up of Global Television's contestant search for the spring 2007 series, which drew more than 112,000 entries. The application process produced some surprisingly engaging results - from briefcases full of chocolate loonies to layer cakes shaped like Howie Mandel's head.

Global Television’s contestant search for the five hour-long Canadian episodes of Deal or No Deal resulted in a deluge of 112,767 entries in just 18 days. From Oct. 31 to Nov. 17, the net recorded 95,054 online and 17,713 postal applications from across the country. On deadline day alone, more than 17,000 of the online submissions flooded in to – despite the fact that the 39-question application required online entrants to spend an average of three hours getting the job done.

Postal entries included 107 parcels of wacky extras such as baked goods, briefcases of chocolate loonies, layer cakes in the shape of host Howie Mandel’s head, hand-knitted toques, scarves and socks for Howie, plus handmade replicas of the signature Deal or No Deal briefcase. More than 200 applicants even supplied bios and photos of their dogs, hoping the pets could be named official supporters on the show. A team of 23 staffers is dedicated solely to reviewing the applications and announcing a short list before production begins in Toronto on Jan. 23, 2007.

Global announced an agreement with Endemol USA to produce five special editions of the primetime hit, in partnership with Toronto-based Insight Productions, on Oct. 23. From that date until Nov. 12, the game show has hovered at the middle of the list in BBM/NMR’s weekly Top 30 shows listing, drawing between 1.3 million and 1.4 million viewers. On Dec. 4, the show moves from Thursday’s primetime slot to an 8 pm ET/PT time slot on Monday nights.

‘Fans coast-to-coast engaged wholeheartedly in the application process we planned for them,’ Barbara Williams, senior VP of programming and production at CanWest MediaWorks tells MiC. ‘They took ownership of the Deal or No Deal experience and created a unique energy that will really set these Canadian episodes apart.’