Tryouts for NBC's 'Deal' heading to Metropolis, Ill.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Howie Mandel

METROPOLIS, Ill. -- A few thousand people are expected to descend on Superman's hometown later this month for a shot at a million bucks or at least a chance to hear Howie Mandel ask that suddenly famous TV catch-phrase.

Deal ... or no deal.

NBC's hit game show is getting some help from its affiliate stations for a nationwide search for contestants including a casting-call stop in Metropolis on July 22. WPSD NewsChannel 6 is asking viewers from its four-state viewing area -- including Southeast Missouri -- to show up and take a chance.

"The whole idea is to try to get participation from smaller markets," said Cathy Crecelius, WPSD's director of promotion. "They want to give an opportunity to small-town America. They know we're some of the biggest supporters of the program."

The casting call is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the events center of Harrah's Casino Hotel, 100 E. Front St., which is about 70 miles from Cape Girardeau. Crecelius said between 3,000 and 4,000 candidates are expected. Each will be given 30 seconds to impress an interviewer.

Mary-Rachel Foot, one of the show's casting directors, said from her office in Los Angeles that they are looking for something different. The casting directors are not interested in hearing how much someone loves the show or even what they would do with $1 million.

"Tell us something unique," she said. "Tell a funny story. We want to know what about you is different."

The show is looking for energetic, charismatic and outgoing individuals who can think quickly on their feet, she said. Candidates must be 18 years of age and be a U.S. citizen.

"It's not easy," Foot said. "We want you to be interesting to watch so you can captivate the American audience."

It's anyone's guess how many people will be selected, Foot said, adding she hopes there are at least 500 potential candidates, who will have their videotaped interviews sent to the show's producers and NBC executives for a final screening.

"Deal or No Deal" is in its second season and has been picked up for 22 more episodes to air this fall. Anyone selected to appear on the show will receive an expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles for a taping, which would happen as early as next month.

More than 50 NBC affiliates applied and only 20 were selected. Crecelius said WPSD was selected because it has viewers in four Midwestern states: Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee. She hopes many from the greater Cape Girardeau area will show up.

"We'd be absolutely thrilled," she said. "Because we have viewers in Southeast Missouri is one of the reasons they picked us."

Crecelius encouraged interested candidates to visit the Paducah, Ky.-based station's Web site at www.wpsdtv.com/dealornodeal and fill out an audition form in advance. Additional forms will be available at the casting call.

NBC describes "Deal or No Deal" as an "international hit game show in which contestants play for a large cash prize in a high-energy match of nerves, instincts and raw intuition."

Each night, the game of odds and chance unfolds when a contestant faces 26 sealed briefcases containing anything from a penny to $1 million. Without knowing the amount in each briefcase, the contestant picks one -- his to keep, if he chooses, until it is unsealed at the game's end.

The show is making a blip on the cultural scene as well -- it was parodied last season on "Saturday Night Live."

smoyers@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 137

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