The popular game show Deal or No Deal was a huge hit for American viewers during its five-season run on NBC, spanning from 2005 to 2019. Hosted by actor-comedian Howie Mandel, the show would feature lone contestants who would choose from 26 individual briefcases, each accompanied by a stunning female model who didn’t come with the prize — a big disappointment for many of the contestants over the years.
Anyway, each briefcase contained an unknown amount of money, anywhere between one cent up to one million dollars in prize money. The lucky contestant would begin by choosing one case to set aside as the one they could potentially bring home. They would then go through a nerve-wracking process of selecting other briefcases. As the contestant chose them, the remaining briefcases would dwindle away, leaving fewer cases available to choose from for hopefully a big payday.
During the process, the contestant would occasionally be offered a “deal” from a mysterious figure known as “The Banker.” This offer was a calculated cash amount proposed to Mandel via a phone call from a secluded room. This proposition was to try to persuade the contestant to quit the game without potentially picking the case that might have the maximum million-dollar prize. Sometimes this tactic worked in The Banker’s favor, and sometimes it didn’t, despite the contestants perhaps not winning a million but still getting enough money to be content.
And through all that suspense, The Banker’s identity went largely unknown. But the show has been over for nearly three years now, and details regarding The Banker have popped up on the internet.
Who Was The Original Banker?
The identity of the game show’s original Banker seemed to be kept more secret than we keep our own social security numbers or Netflix credentials. A gentleman was the silhouetted figure who offered enticing deals during the show’s run on NBC during the first four seasons, from 2005 to 2009.
That man’s name is Peter Abbay, a Brooklyn-born actor who has a diverse talent resume, having appeared in game shows, soap operas, television dramas, and even on-stage in various New York City plays. The 46-year-old actor was seen most frequently as “Logan” on the old CBS soap opera, Another World. He then had some minor roles on shows like My Crazy Life, Punk’d, and House before getting the opportunity to sit in a dark room, having Howie Mandel be his suspenseful middleman by phone.
After his days of prize-money proposals were over in 2009, Abbay went back to minor appearances on various television programs for the next few years.
His most recent opportunity interestingly kept his face hidden from audiences once more. He was cast as the body double for the late Raiders owner, Al Davis, in the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary, Al Davis vs. the NFL, in 2021.
The Return of Deal or No Deal Featured an All-New Banker
When the hit game show returned from a 10-year hiatus — this time on CNBC — Mandel was back as the host and served as co-executive producer. However, they then had a new Banker available to negotiate with new contestants.
Her name is Carrie Lauren, an American actress who has been in showbusiness since 1994. At that time, she was getting consistent experience on the hit Nickelodeon sketch comedy show, All That, appearing in 15 episodes as a background extra. Lauren then appeared on a short-lived television show called RollerJam in 1999, followed by more background extra work that same year on Mortal Kombat: Conquest.
Her next big project was a very short appearance in the 2012 box office hit, Magic Mike. She then performed minor roles in numerous short films and independent movie projects that went straight to video before landing the Deal or No Deal Banker gig for the show’s reboot in 2018. She was on board for all 31 episodes of the show’s fifth and most recent season.
At this time, there are no official signs of the show making another return to television anytime soon. However, past episodes could always possibly appear on various channels by way of syndication.