Did Deal Or No Deal Cheat Contestants Out Of Thousands Of Dollars And Was Howie Mandel Aware Of It?


  • Allegations of cheating on Deal or No Deal may be based on conflicting Banker offers filmed for dramatic effect.
  • Howie Mandel’s involvement in filming scenes again likely means he was aware of dramatic Banker offers.
  • Mandel’s net worth and success grew despite choosing not to host Deal or No Deal Island.

Howie Mandel, already recognized from St. Elsewhere, Bobby’s World, and Gremlins, reached a new level of popularity when he began hosting Deal or No Deal in 2005. The now iconic game show reached audiences of all ages and became one of NBC’s top programs. Once it was syndicated, the show prospered even more.

Unfortunately, Deal or No Deal has faced allegations of cheating. A Bowling Green State University Ph.D student even wrote an academic article on the topic. In this article, we will dive into the cheating scandal. We will touch on whether there is truth to the claims, discuss whether Howie Mandel was aware of the alleged cheating, and further elaborate on Mandel’s tenure with the show.

What Is The Truth Behind The Deal Or No Deal Cheating Scandal?

When the American version of Deal or No Deal premiered on NBC in 2005, it was a breath of fresh air. The game show, which was based on German and Dutch shows, introduced a completely new concept to American viewers, according to Screen Rant.

Despite the show’s broad appeal, Deal or No Deal is not immune to controversy. In 2011, Dan Shifflet, a Ph.D. mathematics candidate at Bowling Green State University, took it upon himself to explore the show’s alleged cheating. Once Shifflet started watching the show for himself, he noticed something intriguing and concerning all at the same time. Particularly, relating to the strange Banker and the Banker’s offers to contestants.

According to Shifflet, the offers viewers see the Banker make on the televised episode may be higher than what the Banker actually made during the initial filming of the contestant’s game. In other words, parts of the show are filmed again and offers may be increased for dramatic purposes.

Shifflet explored the theory mathematically, and came to recognize that the Banker’s formula for offers is not always consistent throughout the show. According to the academic, “there is strong evidence that the Banker breaks from his formula for computing deals (whatever it is) during the hypothetical rounds of the game. He seems to be offering more money than he would have if the contestants were actually still playing and able to accept the cash.” While he made this conclusion, he was careful to call the behavior “cheating” however.

Howie Mandel red carpet AGT Fantasy League
Via: Instar 

Shifflet admitted that every broadcast of Deal or No Deal features a disclaimer, “portions of this program not affecting the outcome of the competition have been edited/recreated.”

According to Shifflet, such a statement could point toward his theory,

“This may not be an admission of guilt, but it definitely implies the situation painted above could exist.”

Shifflet elaborated by stating that his theory is not surprising considering the entertainment value of Deal or No Deal. “In the end, it only makes sense that the Banker would make larger offers after the game is over, if only to increase the drama for those watching at home.”

Questioning whether his theory reveals a cheating scandal, Shifflet was hesitant. “Perhaps cheating is too strong of a word, but is it fair for the contestant to think they lost out on one amount of money when they really did not? Should it be changed? I’ll leave that answer to the reader.”

Howie Mandel at red carpet AGT Season 18
Via: Instar 

True to Shifflet’s point, whether his theory is considered cheating or not, is really up to personal opinions and ethics. Some may find that filming scenes again for entertainment purposes is cheating and unfair, while others may not. With this in mind, a definitive conclusion onwhether Deal or No Deal has cheated contestants out of thousands of dollars cannot be made.

Was Howie Mandel Aware Of The Alleged “Cheating”?

Howie Mandel did not produce the original version of Deal or No Deal nor had an active leadership role in its production. With this being said, Mandel was on set every shoot and was vital to the show’s success. He was the face of Deal or No Deal.


Sofia Vergara Steps Out For First Time After Howie Mandel Harassed Her On TV For Being Newly Single

Sofia tried to brush off the uncomfortable comment by laughing, but her silence speaks volumes.

More so, Mandel was most likely asked to film scenes again. Being the host of the program, it is almost impossible to film parts of episodes again without his involvement. Therefore, it is safe to assume that Mandel was aware of the Banker’s dramatic offers.

Howie Mandel at AGT Studios
Via: Instar 

Howie Mandel Net Worth (Via Celebrity Net Worth)

$60 million

While Mandel surely knew of the show’s edits, he may have seen nothing wrong with them. As Dan Shifflet cautioned, “cheating” is a questionable term to describe the allegations. Or he may have had an issue, but just did what he was told. This can never be known with certainty. Based on the review of sources, Mandel has not spoken publicly about the alleged cheating scandal.

Mandel may not have had a problem with the “cheating”, however, he reportedly had a bone to pick with Deal or No Deal producers as he nearly refused to host the syndicated version of the show.

Since his Deal or No Deal original tenure, Howie Mandel joined the cast of America’s Got Talent and continued to earn an impressive net worth. Mandel did lose out on an opportunity to earn significant Deal or No Deal income when he left the show, however. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Mandel is worth $60 million. Mandel later reprised his role as host on Deal or No Deal from 2018 to 2019, according to TV Insider. While Mandel chose not to host Deal or No Deal Island in 2024, he has served as an executive producer on the project.

Despite allegations, Deal or No Deal has remained a relevant contributor to the game show canon. The show is beloved by audiences and has stood the test of time as one of America’s most popular game shows.

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