Picks and Pans Review: Let's Make a Deal

UPDATED 03/10/2003 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 03/10/2003 at 01:00 AM EST

NBC (Tuesdays, 8 p.m. ET) Game Show Network (check listings)

Do you start every weekday with an old Game Show Network rerun of Let's Make a Deal (9 a.m. ET), staring at the outrageously attired participants as they flip over the fabulousness of the prizes behind Door No. 1, 2 or 3? If so, I urge you to reassess your life, but I can't stop you from watching NBC's prime-time revival of the raucous series, which starts a five-week run March 4.

Monty Hall, who emceed the show in the '60s, '70s and '80s, is an executive producer of the hour-long 2003 version. Because youth must be served, the host's job has been taken over by 31-year-old Billy Bush, an Access Hollywood correspondent and presidential cousin. Though less nimble than Hall in his prime, Bush functions adequately and could grow up to be Pat Sajak one day. Unfortunately Vance DeGeneres's comedy bits aren't worth two cents, and the new Deal seems desperate to be seen as more risqué than the original. One contestant on the premiere dresses as a pimp. How thoroughly modern.

At 7 p.m. on March 4, Game Show Network offers the first airing anywhere of Let's Make a Deal's 1963 pilot, and this historical treasure tops the new version in entertainment value. It's fun to watch Hall test his trading skill on audience members who seem to be dressed for a church service rather than a game show. The wacky costumes came later, but you can sense the hit potential.

BOTTOM LINE: The old one's a better deal

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