Picks and Pans Review: Deal or No Deal

updated 12/19/2005 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/19/2005 AT 01:00 AM EST

NBC (Dec. 19-22, 8 p.m. ET)

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Airing four nights straight, Deal kicks off as 26 beauties in tight titanium-blue dresses march in carrying briefcases. They look like fembots from Price Waterhouse. Each suitcase is numbered and, when opened, reveals a cash prize, from one penny up to $1 million. A contestant picks a suitcase—ah, but isn't allowed to find out how much money goes with it. Then begin what seem like endless rounds as other suitcases are opened and the contestant deduces how much his pick isn't worth. Meanwhile a shadowy figure named the Bank keeps phoning in cash inducements to get the contestant to bow out. There's a maniacal Dr. Seuss repetitiveness to all this. It should be hosted by the Cat in the Hat. Instead, it's Howie Mandel, and he's very congenial.

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