Have I mentioned, no work today?
With a lack of commitments this became the perfect time to visit Stef at work. She is working on the daytime syndicated version of “Deal or No Deal,” taping this season at Sonalysts in Waterford.
“She makes this drive every day?” I asked rhetorically as we drove past the Niantic/Flanders exit on I-95. It’s around an hour from home to the studio.
Sonalysts is an actual movie lot in Eastern Connecticut. There are large sound stages and an open California-like feel.
As it turns out this was also the day Francine–Queen of Hair, saw the show. She, her daughter and a friend joined us as Stef conducted the grand tour. We went up-and-down stairs, in-and-out of hallways from building-to-building.
We walked down the hallway with Howie Mandel’s dressing room. I know that because it said “Howie Mandel” on the door! Also, because Howie walked out as we were going by.
“He’s wearing a lot of makeup,” Helaine said. “You know about that,” she added while looking at me.
Most TV studios are smaller than they look at home. Not this one. The Deal studio is expansive with the audience surrounding the platform where Howie, the contestant and the producer’s phone stay. We sat down in the front, just a few feet from the action.
After a brief warm-up the show began. This is a well oiled machine. The show ran with a few tiny problems easily fixed in post-production. Though this is the 30 minute version the game ran much longer. Again, easily fixed in post.
During a commercial break Howie stood alone on a rise near my seat.
“Howie,” I called out, “Howie.” He looked up. If Stef would have been with me she would have crawled into a hole. I told Howie we had a mutual friend (Howard, best man at Helaine and my wedding) and mentioned I’d been on Buffalo TV while he was living in Toronto.
As a parent it was cool going around with Stef. Everyone seemed to know her and like her. She was treated as a grown-up. This part could not have been better for Helaine and me.
The show went really well. The audience does get drawn in, yelling for the contestant to take the deal… or not. I didn’t think it would be as emotional for me as it was. A young woman from Waterford who wanted to win enough to take her family to Italy won enough to take her family to Italy.
Alas, Stef’s TV career ends Friday when Deal finishes production after 130 episodes in Connecticut.