The Motherlode

By | July 19, 2021

In 2004, ABC commissioned a six episode run of Deal or No Deal to be fronted by Northern Irish funnyman Patrick Kielty and having recorded all the episodes, decided they weren’t going to show them. NBC picked up the rights, it was one of the biggest shows in the US, Howie Mandel gets a huge career boost, Patrick Kielty goes on to present the original laughing-stock Love Island (which becomes successful a decade later) and becomes better known as Cat Deeley’s husband.

A real Sliding Doors moment. Anyway, Wink Martindale has put up the ABC pilot on his channel.

It’s quite a strange mish-mash of colours and styles really – a lot of the set design decisions and direction seem to have been inspired by the Mexican version (dancing models, banker’s assistant coming through a door), the orange and yellow stylings are a choice and we’re not sure about Russ Landau’s sixties-esque music. I quite like the graphics. The temptation elimination game seems original to this version but takes forever and isn’t that much fun. I have no idea what the stutter dance is all about.

It seems a bit baffling that ABC passed on this, the core is as true as megamoney DoND has ever been, and you figure there are worse shows they could be broadcasting. But for one reason or another, it’s difficult to imagine this version being quite as big as the show became – maybe it’s too light. We’ll never know.

8 thoughts on “The Motherlode

  1. David B

    Fairly obviously, the arrows pointing to the numbers and the 60’s Pan Am costumes are referring to the 2002 film Catch Me If You Can. But why use that as a reference point, I’m not sure.

  2. Tom H

    In the absence of a recent general chat post, thought I’d share a couple of big European newsy bits here.

    Nagui has given up hosting Tout Le Monde Veut Prendre Sa Place after 15 years and is handing over the reins to Laurence Boccolini:

    Nagui’s recently been working on (yet more) new projects such as Saturday night primetime quiz Le Club Des Invincibles – effectively a dull variant of Beat The Chasers with celebrities taking on the pro quizzers:

    Meanwhile in Spain, Ahora Caigo has been axed after 10 years (and falling ratings in the last year which producers tried to reverse at the start of 2021 by rejigging the format to match the Italian version). Antena 3 are burning off the final episodes at weekends:

    1. Oliver R

      Thanks for the news about Ahora Caigo. The Spanish version of the format was relatively new and all the rage when I was based in Spain back in 2012.

      It was openly a very silly show even back then, held together only by Arturo Valls’ charisma. And like any show with a physical element, not suitable for pregnant contestants or those with a visible disability.

      It was also part of a double bill with Carlos Sobera’s daily take on The Million Pound Drop with a smaller jackpot, which Channel 4 only adopted over here many years later. I usually enjoyed watching that more than Ahora Caigo.

  3. Whoknows

    The models are so cringe in this, that awful dance at the start. They used the models in a similar way in a few Mediterranean/South American countries I think and it always made the game so much tackier.

    Would love to see a much cooler version of the show along the lines of the final US version tried in primetime in the UK. Think there’d be a decent audience for it. Can’t believe it’s been nearly five years since the Noel version finished!

    1. Des Elmes

      *I* can’t believe it’s nearly *fifteen* years since Laura Pearce became the show’s first quarter-millionaire…

      To this day I’m not quite sure how I managed to avoid all the spoilers.

  4. Brekkie

    The models date it about 20-30 years older than it actually is.

    The core of the show is quite watchable but despite the jackpot feels much more UK daytime than US primetime. Presumably the winning were never paid out.


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