These Greeks Took Over "Deal Or No Deal" and Went All In

From plate-smashing to “ftou, ftou, ftouing” on 26 sealed briefcases… a Greek family arrived and took over an episode of the American television show “Deal or No Deal”. This wild and crazy episode, which is number 12 in the show’s fifth season, will air on Wednesday, January 23, on CNBC.

The famous game show hosted by Howie Mandel is usually full of action, as contestants must choose from 26 sealed briefcases containing a marker for various amounts of cash from one penny to $1 million. However, this episode promises to be a “Big, Fat, Greek” Deal or no Deal!

Restaurateur George Stathoulis and his Greek family took over the show and went all in for the $1M prize.

And perhaps number nine is the Stathoulis’ new lucky number? “Deal or No Deal” model #9, Greek-American Patricia Kara, gave the Greek Reporter some insight as to what it was like on the lively set, as the Stathoulis family left the crowd yelling “Opa!”

Patricia Kara, model No9 at Deal or No Deal

“Everybody behind the scenes was super excited when I walked in that day,” she told the Greek Reporter. “This is your day,” they told me, “These are your people.”

When asked what it meant to her as a Greek-American to have Greeks participating in the show and demonstrating the colorful Greek culture, Patricia explained, “from the start there were Greek flags everywhere and the music was going… so we were all excited.”

“You can tell they’re a very close knit family… and, as Greeks often do, they took up half of the audience! You could tell by all of their little Greek flags they were waving where the family was seated!”

The hugging, cheek-kissing, Opa-yelling Greeks made the episode one of the craziest and most fun Patricia could remember in her years on “Deal or No Deal”.

According to Kara, the episode was “Big Greek fun, and it got louder and more fun. Even Howie was cracking up throughout the whole thing,” she said, adding, “he was cool with it — the hugs and kisses.”

“Greece is one of his favorite places to visit in the summer with his family,” she went on. “He’s a huge fan of Greece. And he’s great to have fun with. He loves everything spontaneous —  he likes things that are not tame.

“And Greeks are definitely not tame!” she said, laughing. “Your cheeks will hurt from laughing throughout the show!”

The Greek Reporter also spoke with one of the Greek contestants, Joanne Stathoulis, who explained what it meant to her to be able to go on the game show and represent Greece and her culture to the millions of viewers who tune in every Wednesday to watch.

“Greeks are very passionate, very emotional and very loving, and that’s who we are and I felt proud to represent the Greek people. We feel honored that “Deal or No Deal” gave us the opportunity to represent the Greek community,” she told the Greek Reporter.

The show, which was not scripted at all, allowed the Stathoulis family to simply be who they were. As Joanne said, “We are very proud Greeks. My husband is a Greek singer and my boys are excellent Greek dancers. We are a very hard-working family in the restaurant business and we all know it’s a very hard, stressful job and we work very hard but we play very hard too.”

“It was also exciting to make Howie a Greek for the day. He followed all our Greek traditions. I also gave him a Greek name, ‘Howie Mandelopoulis’,” she said, laughing and added, “We definitely felt the Greek love on that stage.”

Joanne also explained that her son, George, was recently married. He and his wife Valerie want to start a big Greek family. “Deal or no Deal gave him the opportunity to go on the show to win money to help him get his future started. We are all very grateful for that opportunity,” she said happily.

Did it pay off in the end? Did this big, energetic, plate-smashing, Greek-dancing family win big? Tune in and find out on Wednesday, January 23, on CNBC!

Check out a preview of the show! Opa!