Let's Make a Deal (1963)
Originally, the trading floor participants, selected from the audience at random, were clad in regular clothes and host Monty Hall would do some bargaining with them over everyday items they had in exchange for prizes behind boxes, curtains and doors. Some of those elements also contained "zonks" (worthless joke items). Monty would select one or up to three people to make deals. Some dealing sessions had the traders participating in pricing contests to win cars, only for Monty to offer them substitute items to call off the deal if they felt their pricing decisions wouldn't be successful. At the show's end, Monty went to everybody who won something good if they wanted to trade their prize for a shot at the Big Deal of the Day, which was usually worth more than what the show offered earlier. Two people were eligible, and each of the two selected from doors 1, 2 or 3. Whatever was behind that door is what they won.
After a year, one contestant decided to attract attention by dressing in a costume. It worked, and within a year, everybody started dressing in costume. At that point, Let's Make a Deal became famous (or notorious, based on a critic's point of view) for not only contestants willing to sacrifice a little dignity to win a car but the abject greed factor such shows were noted for.
A nighttime edition began on NBC in 1967. NBC was going to cancel it six months later, prompting Monty Hall and Stefan Hatos to tell them if they did, the team would find another network for the show, both day and night. No idle threat: Let's Make a Deal moved to ABC on December 30, 1968, five years after its debut. It ran to July 9, 1976. Another nighttime edition started in 1969 on ABC, running two years, followed by a syndicated nighttime edition in 1971. That ran to 1977. Late in the syndicated run, a Super Deal was added. A contestant winning the Big Deal of the Day could risk it for a $20,000 cash prize by selected one of three windows on a board. If he/she picked the $20,000, he/she won that plus the Big Deal. If they selected the other windows and it was $1,000 or $2,000, they won that but lost the Big Deal.
Another edition, taped in Vancouver, Canada, was syndicated in 1980 and ran one season. Following was The All-New Let's Make a Deal in 1984 (running two seasons), a 1990 edition running six months on NBC daytime, another NBC nighttime edition that lasted only three shows (it was spiced up a bit with some mildly naughty elements and went up against American Idol), followed by the most current edition on CBS daytime. In 2006, Let's Make a Deal was a component of CBS's special series Gameshow Marathon. Fox attempted an unofficial updated edition under the Stone-Stanley production banner in 1996 as Big Deal! It ran one month. It returned in 2009 on its third network, CBS, a new production company, FremantleMedia.
- At a Glance: Additional information about the series