the Specktator

Game show ‘cases’ Jax for contestants

For the first time in its six-season history, Deal or No Deal, the blockbuster game show hosted by Howie Mandel and set to air on CNBC, will hold an open call for contestants in Jacksonville. The event will take place Wednesday, May 16,  2-7 p.m., at River City Brewing Company.

And the show’s producers are pretty psyched.

“The citizens of Jacksonville probably don’t get an opportunity like this very often,” says the show’s supervising producer Rita Koutsoulis by phone. (And by “opportunity,” she means the potential to win up to $1 million simply by picking the right briefcase out of 26.)

Producers are looking forward to meeting “everyday people” in Jacksonville who are “salt of the earth and hard working.” (In other words, we’re not like the folks you’d find at an audition in Miami or Orlando, their other two stops in Florida.)

As for what producers are seeking in a contestant, Koutsoulis says they want people who are “likable, relatable and fun.” (Pink hair is fun, right?) Personality is really key, she says, because there is only one contestant per show—and each show is an hour long.

But there’s another component to the selection process that has nothing to do with how you look or act on camera.

“Everyone has a story to tell. [We want] people with a compelling story that will make you want to root for them, she says. “The big thing—all-around—is [we want] good people that are deserving of the opportunity.”

As for what to expect at the actual event, upon your arrival (between 2 and 7 p.m.), you’ll be given a short application asking for basic deets about yourself and contact info. From there potential contestants, who will be seen in the order they arrived, will be interviewed by a producer in groups of five to 10. The producer will go around the table, and you have about 30 seconds to “sell” yourself. Then you’re dismissed with a “don’t call us; we’ll call you” if producers want to see you again (not literally; they are much nicer than that).

Since I’m planning on auditioning myself, of course, I had to ask Koutsoulis for her advice on how to best impress the producers.

“Let your personality shine through,” she says, “and be yourself—but elevated,” (I will not be taking her advice on the latter.) Obviously, try not to be nervous, she adds.

“The producers are extremely warm and all ears to hear people’s stories. I know it can be nerve-wracking, but try to shake off the jitters and don’t hold back,” she says. “That’s my biggest advice.” (I’m not really sure what “holding back” means. I guess I should look it up before I go.)

That’s it. The process (not including the wait) should take no more than 20 minutes. You don’t even need to bring a pen. (But you do have to be at least 21 years old.)

In the event you aren’t able to make it to the casting call, all hopes of becoming a millionaire (more like a hundred thousandaire after Uncle Sam gets his greedy paws on your winnings) are not lost. You can still apply through Deal or No Deal‘s website.


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