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Did she make the deal with Howie Mandell or didn’t she?

By Staff | Dec 29, 2008

I did something a little different on Christmas night. Different for me anyway.

After all the company left our house, I sat down and watched some television – specifically, the show ‘Deal or No Deal.’

I had watched a little of the show at some time in the past, but it isn’t something I have ever made a habit of watching.

After having visited with Diane Jorgenson about the show, I thought I should do a little research and see what it is all about.

Christmas night a soldier/hero was the contestant, and he wound up finally taking the deal offered by the banker. He got a tidy sum over $200,000.

Although I can see the attraction in the show, I am not sure I will become a big fan. However, I will have to tune in again this Friday, Jan. 2.

That is when Jorgenson, of Ledyard, Iowa, will be the contestant trying for a million dollars.

Jorgenson heard about tryouts for the show being held in Minneapolis earlier this year and was eventually selected to be on the show.

She says she acted just crazy enough to get the attention of the producers in the Twin Cities. Last July they gave her a call to go to Los Angeles and go through a 15-minute mock taping of the show to see if she would be a good contestant.

“I think they look for someone with an outgoing, bubbly personality,” she says.

After the taping, the producers told her she was a definite candidate to be asked back to actually be on the show, but that it could take as long as six months for the call to come.

It didn’t. She got a call from the show’s producers in August.

Just like before, ‘Deal or No Deal’ paid for her, her family, and her friends to fly out to L.A. to do the show.

The entourage included Diane, her husband, Eldon, daughter Stacie Anderson, granddaughter Shaylynn Anderson, daughter Sheridee Dodds, sister Trudy Blome, nephew Jason Blome, sister Lori Lloyd, niece Vanessa, niece Jamie Woodburn, sister-in-law June Bauer, niece Lana and friends Sue Griese and Linda Berndt (of Blue Earth.)

“I thought I would just be myself, and make sure that Howie Mandell (the host) and I had a a good time,” Jorgenson recalls. “My sister Trudy said she started to wonder if it was my show or Howie’s.”

Jorgenson says she will have to watch the show to see how she acted, and reacted, because it all became a blur to her on the stage.

“It certainly is different playing the game at home verses standing on the stage with 350 people in the audience hollering, cheering and laughing,” she says. “The ultimate decisions were mine, and I had told myself I wouldn’t be greedy.”

Whether Jorgenson won a million dollars, or came home with nothing, is a secret.

“My contract says I can’t reveal what I did on the show until after it airs,” she says.

Jorgenson knows she did a good job, as far as being entertaining, however.

“The staff met me afterwards and told me I was the best contestant they had ever had,” she relates. “I asked them why they said that and they answered that normally the back stage staff doesn’t watch the monitors, but when I was on they were all glued to the sets and laughing. They didn’t want to miss what I was going to say – or do – next.”

The staff told her it was the first time they had ever seen Howie Mandell totally speechless on the show.

“I wish I could remember what I did to cause that to happen, but I don’t” Jorgenson says. She will have to watch the show to find out for sure, just like everyone else will.

Her stint on the show is a ‘two-parter’, meaning she appears first on one episode, but she finishes up her appearance on the next one.

“We had to pause during the 3 1/2 hour taping, so we could change clothes and reposition the audience,” she said.

Jorgenson said she isn’t sure when the second part will air.

“They have told me the first part will be on TV on either Thursday, Jan.1 or Friday, Jan. 2, at 7 or 8 p.m..” she said. “I have been telling everyone to check their local listings, or go to nbc.com to find out for sure. Many of my friends and family are setting up their VCRs to tape it.”

So what is Howie Mandell really like? Jorgenson said he is a lot shorter than he appears on TV, but that he is every bit as nice as he seems.

“Everyone on the staff was wonderful to us, we all had a great time,” Jorgenson said.

She also admits that when the show ended she was exhausted and had no energy left.

“I was totally exhausted for a month afterward,” she says. “I have done some exciting things but never anything as exciting as this.”

I can’t wait to see how – and what – she did.