Seven has stopped Deal or No Deal to ‘focus on Million Dollar Minute’ admits host Andrew O’Keefe

O'Keefe on Deal or No Deal

O’Keefe on Deal or No Deal

Channel Seven stopped filming its long-running early evening gameshow Deal or No Deal at the end of last year and had been running repeats for the last three months, with host Andrew O’Keefe admitting to Mumbrella the show had become tired after its ten year run.

O’Keefe, who made his name as host of the popular gameshow which launched in Australia in 2004, gave his strongest hint yet to Mumbrella during a live video hangout today with Weekend Sunrise co-host Monique Wright, that Seven will not be bringing back the show after filming the last of around 2,200 episodes at the end of last year.

He said the show was the first to average 1m viewers in the 5.30pm timeslot across the whole week, and standardly reached an audience of 900,000 to 1m viewers at the height of its popularity in 2007 and 2008.

However, ratings dropped to around 600,000 last year, according to OzTam, slipping below the competition from Channel Nine’s gameshow Hot Seat, presented by Eddie McGuire, with the drop in ratings being blamed as a contributing factor for Nine’s dominance in the 6pm news battle in the capital cities last year.

In September Seven launched Million Dollar Minute in the 5.30pm timeslot, and moved Deal or No Deal to 5pm, with former Sunrise weatherman Grant Denyer as host. However he left the show after just three months, with Simon Reeve stepping in as host from January this year.

O’Keefe said Seven had no plans to start filming new episodes of the show in the near future, as it focuses its energy on Million Dollar Minute, the “lynchpin into the news” at 6pm.

“We’re doing everything we can to bolster the lead in to Million Dollar Minute, which of course is now the lynchpin into the news, and when you have a job like that on your hands you have to really focus your energy on it, so we’re not even thinking about Deal at the moment,” he said.

Although the former gameshow host, and current host of Weekend Sunrise, said he is proud of Deal or No Deal and what Seven did to reinvigorate the show, he admitted it had fatigued.

He said: “The simple fact of the matter is that it’s a guessing game, and we had people playing the same guessing game for ten years. We still enjoyed it, we had a ball. But it’s tough to ask a wide audience to keep watching something which they know what they’re going to get for ten years.”

O’Keefe said while the number of viewers the show was pulling in last year “were still reasonable” he added: “From a network point of view it’s not just about that one show, it’s about the whole network identity, and if you want to stay fresh in people’s eyes you have to look at every part of the schedule and I guess Deal was the least fresh of all.”

“Now that Hot Seat is the long-term incumbent in the zone, that may start to suffer some of the fatigue Deal has,” he added.

Seven is currently rolling out reruns of Deal or No Deal from its bank of around 2200 episodes. “That’s 57,500 briefcases we’ve opened and we’ve been excited about every one,” O’Keefe quipped.

In February TV Tonight noted Seven had pulled an episode of Deal or No Deal and replaced it with an episode of Million Dollar Minute, with the network saying then it had no immediate plans to start filming again.

Seven had not responded to Mumbrella’s request for comment at the time of publication.

Megan Reynolds


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