O’keefe focuses on 2000 deals
Popular game show host hopes for milestone 11th season, writes
LIKE a footballer approaching a 300-game milestone, Deal Or No Deal host Andrew O’Keefe has his eye on a career highlight.
O’Keefe, who has just returned to the Channel 7 studios in Melbourne to tape the 10th series of his game show, will by year’s end have fronted more than 1900 episodes.
If the show is recommissioned for an 11th season, O’Keefe will clock up 2000 shows by the middle of 2013, which would make him one of Australian television’s longest consecutive-running game show hosts.
‘‘It would be a terrific milestone,’’ O’Keefe says. ‘‘I know if it is recommissioned next year the 2000th episode will come up about April or May.
‘‘There aren’t too many shows, game shows or otherwise, in Australian TV history that have had 2000 episodes.’’
O’Keefe’s uninterrupted stint on Deal or No Deal ranks him with some well-known Australian TV game show hosts.
Tony Barber spent more than a decade fronting the nightly game show Sale of the Century.
Barber’s successor Glenn Ridge served for a similar time asking questions on the Channel 9 show, while the late John Burgess spent 12 years as host of Wheel of Fortune.
Deal or No Deal started in 2003 as an hour-long show on Sunday nights but was condensed into a weekday, 30-minute format the next year.
O’Keefe had doubts the show could be successfully transformed into an entertaining half-hour format but is glad to have been proved wrong. ‘‘I was sceptical that they would be able to reduce a big complex unwieldy format to half an hour,’’ he says.
O’Keefe, who tapes five episodes of Deal Or No Deal a day, jokes that by the end of the week his mind starts to fry.
‘‘It’s nice to be able to conflate your work life like that, but sometimes by the end of 15 episodes in three days, you’re having a little trouble remembering your own name let alone caring whether they have $5000 in their pocket or not.’’
Having fronted so many episodes of Deal Or No Deal, it’s only natural that O’Keefe has bumped into the odd contestant or two.
‘‘I’ve met a couple of people I have known on the podium, holding cases, and I’ve been looking at them thinking ‘how the hell do I recognise that face?’,’’ O’Keefe says.
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Andrew O’Keefe (centre)