It Was Almost No Deal For Howie Mandel, How ‘Deal Or No Deal’ Saved His Career

Corey Cesare
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Howie Mandel on the red carpet for 'America's Got Talent: The Champions'Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic

America’s Got Talent judge Howie Mandel recently admitted that he turned down Deal Or No Deal in 2005. The comedian explained why he didn’t want to host the show and how it kept him in Hollywood on his podcast series “Howie Mandel Does Stuff.”


Howie Mandel Stayed in Hollywood Because of Deal or No Deal

Joel McHale was Howie Mandel’s recent guest on his podcast, “Howie Mandel Does Stuff.” While on the show, McHale commented on Mandel’s successful career. The comedian agreed that his career has been successful for the most part, but it wasn’t always filled with sunshine and rainbows. He actually was ready to quit Hollywood before being offered the position as the host of Deal or No Deal.

“I blew up in the early 1980’s and by 2005 I was going from comedy club to comedy club, empty comedy club, empty comedy club to empty comedy club,” he said. “I was sitting in folding chairs in casting offices reading for five lines and under.”

He explained that in he had tons of failed pilot shows under his belt, so he was ready to quit. Eventually, he got a call asking if he would host a game show for NBC, he hung up immediately. The comedian declined the opportunity because no comedian had hosted a game show at the time. He thought the series would be humiliating since he would end up as the punchline.


Terry Mandel Convinces Him to Take Deal or No Deal

His manager called back a minute later and tried to change his mind. Even after they explained that the show would be five primetime slots a week, he expected to be humiliated.

“I felt like I was being humiliated and I didn’t want this kick in the ego anymore and I wanted to get out,” he said. “To get this call saying you want to be a game show was going to be the nail in the coffin of my career, so I said no and I hung up the phone.”

Eventually a show executive met the comedian at a restaurant with the show’s pitch. The pitch was a handmade presentation featuring 26 squares that made up the infamous cases. Mandel went home that day and ended up taking the job because of his wife, or as his daughter Jaclyn Schultz says “because mom wanted you out of the house.”


It’s crazy to think about how Mandel almost turned down one of the biggest moves of his career. I think I speak for all AGT fans when I say thank you Terry Mandel. If Mandel was never on Deal or No Deal, he would’ve never judged AGT.

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