Game Shows Wiki
Mark DeCarlo
John Cramer
Big Deal.png
FOX Primetime: 9/1/1996 – 10/6/1996
Stone-Stanley Productions
New World Entertainment

Big Deal was a short-lived revamp of Let's Make a Deal with stunts similar to those featured on Truth or Consequences added to give the show its own personality. Some of these stunts were played in order to earn a smaller prize, which could then be gambled for an unknown behind a Curtain or Box a la LMAD; other stunts awarded different prizes based on how well (or how poorly) the contestant performed.


The show's format followed that of Let's Make a Deal; however, stunts similar to those featured on Truth or Consequences were also played. Some of these stunts were played in order to earn a smaller prize, which could then be gambled for an unknown behind a curtain or a box, and other stunts awarded different prizes based on how well (or how poorly) the contestant performed.

Some of the games played involved the contestants participating in the studio itself:

  • A contestant was hooked to a giant "skill crane" and given the appropriate oversized grabbers, with which he had to retrieve large teddy bears while being raised and lowered by his partner. Each bear represented a money amount or a prize, and the contestant could retrieve as many or as few of the bears as he or she wanted. However, one bear had a human inside of it, and attempting to grab this bear would "scare" it, the bear would run away, and the couple received nothing.
  • Contestants had to listen to a popular song being sung by a fat lady, a Wagnerian Valkyrie performed by Anne-Marie Bosche' Clinkenbeard, (and thus butchered from its original form); guessing the song correctly won a prize.
  • A contestant was positioned on top of a small "building', and a chimpanzee was placed on an identical "building" in a "man vs. monkey" game. In a tribute to King Kong, the man raced the chimp to swat toy airplanes out of the "sky" (actually suspended from modified ceiling fans that rotated). Beating the chimp won the prize.
  • Couples raced to launch small teddy bears at a spiked wall with a slingshot; the couple "killing" the most bears won a prize.
  • DeCarlo once asked if anyone in the studio audience wanted to "kill" the show's enormous frog mascot (actually a large prop built onstage in the stunt area). Then he selected someone from the audience, who had 30 seconds to shovel pennies onto a scale. After the time ran out, the player had the option of either taking a bribe or seeing if he had shoveled at least 200 pounds of pennies onto the scale. Success meant that the player won a grand prize, plus as much money as shoveled onto the scale. Whether the player took the bribe or played for the grand prize, if there was at least 200 pounds of pennies on the scale, a giant anvil was dropped onto the frog.

Notable to many of these stunts was the overt destruction by the contestant to his own property in an attempt to win a better prize. Examples of such stunts included:

  • Throwing baseballs at the windows of one's house in order to win new furnishings (and new windows) for the home.
  • Destroying one's own automobile with a sledgehammer; if the car was judged by an insurance appraiser (Tim Davis from SCA Appraisal Company) [1] to be totaled, the contestant won a brand new car.
  • Dropping one's own possessions (such as TV's, golf clubs, etc.) off of a crane onto a giant tic-tac-toe board; getting three in a row won a larger prize package.

While DeCarlo played up the fact that losing one of these games resulted in nothing more than a tragic loss, a disclaimer at the end of every episode stated that contestants who damaged their own possessions would be reimbursed money according to the value of their belongings before they were destroyed.

The Big Deal[]

The Big Deal of the evening was played like earlier versions of Let's Make a Deal. DeCarlo would go back into the audience and invite contestants who had won something to trade their prize(s) in for a shot at the Big Deal, starting with the top winner and working downward. After two players were selected, they were presented with three large screens, one of which contained the Big Deal, a prize package usually worth more than any other prize offered that day. The top winner got first selection, and the contents of each of the three screens were revealed, usually in ascending order.

French Version[]

A long-running and more successful version of Big Deal under the name Le Bigdil (Let's Make a Deal) hosted by Vincent Lagaf' along with his onscreen CGI alien co-host named Bill aired on TF1 from 1998 until 2004.


Studio 2, Walt Disney Studios, Burbank, CA


Due to low ratings, the series only lasted for six episodes. Of these, only three aired in their entirety on the East Coast; the other three were partially pre-empted by NFL doubleheaders.

The series was originally scheduled to return in Spring 1997, shortened to a half-hour with DeCarlo returning as host. However, these plans were ultimately scrapped later on in development.

A revival of Let's Make a Deal with Gordon Elliott as host in conjunction with Buena Vista Television and Stone-Stanley Productions was planned for syndication in Fall 1999, but plans for it fell through.

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Big Bad Voodoo Daddy


Based on Let's Make a Deal by Stefan Hatos and Monty Hall

Related Shows[]

Let's Make a Deal
Trato Hecho
Gameshow Marathon


Official Website (via Internet Archive)
Big Deal at "TV of Your Life"

YouTube Links[]

Promo for Big Deal
Segment with a contestant smashing up their car to win a much better one
Segment with two contestants campaigning for the Presidential nomination for the Big Deal Party for the 1996 elections
Partial episode from September 22, 1996
Partial episode from September 29, 1996