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Consumer Reports

Monty Hall ready to 'Deal' again | (UPI) -- The newest thing in reality TV is actually an oldie, as "Let's Make a Deal" returns to NBC Tuesday night.

The show, which made Monty Hall one of the most highly visible performers on TV in daytime and prime-time network runs dating back to 1963, is being brought back for a limited run -- catching the current wave of popularity for reality and game shows.

"Let's Make a Deal" featured Hall as a fast-talking auctioneer-trader who would pull people from the studio audience and let them make a series of trades for prizes ranging from worthless trinkets to valuable merchandise. People came to the studio dressed in colorful -- sometimes outrageous -- costumes, in hopes that Hall would notice them and pick them to be on the show.

The 81-year-old Hall is a producer on the new version, but he has turned the hosting duties over to Billy Bush, a cousin of President George W. Bush who also appears on the syndicated entertainment news show "Access Hollywood."

Hall, who did the show in various forms on TV until 1991 -- and still does a stage version of it from time to time -- admitted that it wasn't easy for him to watch the taping of the new version from behind the scenes.

"It was kind of tough for me," said Hall in an interview with United Press International. "When you've done the show for 27 years -- 4,700 episodes -- it's tough to sit in the control room and watch other people doing it. I found myself talking to the screen, putting words in the mouth of the host, ideas for the director, but I didn't dare say it out loud."

He said Billy Bush asked him for advice from time to time.

"I told him to love the people," said Hall. "I had a love affair with the people, and they loved me. They kissed me even when they lost."

Although "Let's Make a Deal" has not been on prime time TV since 1991, it does run on cable's Game Show Network. Apparently, it still has a good many loyal fans.

"When we started taping the new version," said Hall, "a writer said, 'Where will they get the audiences from?'"

Producers ran public notices about the taping, and Hall said so many people showed up that some had to be turned away.

Hall, a native of Canada, originally intended to be an actor. His success as America's favorite deal maker sidetracked that ambition, but he said that's OK with him.

"It has to be OK," said Hall. "It was my ticket to fame and fortune. But it also gave me the opportunity to do something really important, raising funds for charity. I've helped raise more than $800 million for charity. That's more important than three doors."

Hall said everywhere he goes, people recognize him and try to make "Deal" jokes.

"I can be at a hotel in New York," he said, "and someone will say, 'Do you want elevator one, elevator two, or elevator three?' It's become a catch-phrase and it's fun."

On the other hand, Hall conceded there are times when he gets a little tired of hearing the same jokes over and over again.

"The first time I really got fatigued (by it) was when I was honorary mayor of Hollywood, riding in an open car in the Christmas parade," he said. "My little girl said, 'Daddy I don't ever want to do this again.' It really is nerve-shattering. People shouting the same things over and over again."

Still, Hall said he appreciates hearing expressions of affection from fans.

"While it may have been a bit much at times, the beautiful part is that they're calling your name affectionately," he said. "It's my party, and all of these people are my guests."

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