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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

TRINIDAD EXPRESS: Trini goes after US$1M game-show prize

Nigel Telesford reported in today's Express that Point Fortin native, Arthur Joseph, is the latest contestant on ABC television's "Deal or No Deal".

From Telesford's article:
Point Fortin native Arthur Joseph will have his chance at taking home US$ 1,000,000 tonight as he continues his largely successful run on the popular NBC game show, Deal or No Deal...

Deal or No Deal involves a contestant, a host/presenter, a banker, and a number of briefcases (or boxes), with each having a different (and initially unknown) value. Each game starts with the contestant selecting one of the cases, but the value of this first case is not revealed until the game ends. During the rest of the game, the contestant opens the rest of the cases, one at a time, revealing its value. Each time after a specified number of cases are opened, the banker offers the contestant a certain amount of money to end the game. If the contestant takes an offer, the game ends. Otherwise the contestant ends up with the money from the first case.

Joseph said the producers of the show were captivated by his Trinidadian accent and his affable personality, which resulted in his rapid advancement through the screening process, which usually takes at least nine months. Joseph said he's a true "Trini to the bone" and has been saddened by the recent scandals which have taken place here in Trinidad...

When the show ended last Wednesday, Joseph still had cases valued at thousands of dollars, including the much coveted US$1,000,000 case. The second half of the show will air tonight at 8 pm on NBC, Channel 49.
I read the article online tonight, looked up at the clock and seeing "8:07" thought to myself, "what the heck! Lemme go and see this Trini represent. Anything could be better than local news..."

As I changed the channel, the presenter, Howie Mandel, was just getting off the phone with the banker, Joseph having just picked cases and to put them out of play. He jokingly chided Mandel about the amount of time that he had spent on the phone with the banker getting the details of the offer, telling them that the banker was now "bazodee". ABC flashed the definition of the Trini colloquialism on screen for the viewing audience. On the board were the million dollar top prize and a number of much smaller amounts. Little did Joseph know that he would himself be bazodee when the offer was made.

With the million dollar top prize still available, Joseph took a deal package valued at US$70,700. Why "valued"? Because it comprised both cash and prizes. His prize package, offered to him by Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat personally, includes:
  • An autographed Dwyane Wade Miami heat jersey
  • A 2006 NBA Championship ring with the Trini's name on it
  • Two courtside season tickets for Heat's homes games for the 2007/2008 NBA season
  • A Miami Heat team poster with Joseph in the line-up
  • The opportunity to be on set at the filming of the next Miami Heat team video
  • The chance to hang out with Miami superstars Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade and Heat coach Pat Riley before a Heat home game
  • US$10,000, and...
  • The Miami Heat will lay a parquet floor complete with logo and colours in refurbishing a basketball court in Trinidad and Tobago next year in Joseph's honour
Joseph was in tears and shaking with excitement, apparently at having been addressed personally by his favourite sports superstar. Over the roar of the crowd, he shouted to Mandel that he had to consult with his mother before he made a decision about the offer, indicating that he was on the show to try to win the money necessary to get her a house. His mother told him that they could always get a house for her, but at that moment, he had the opportunity to do something good for home.

In taking the deal, Joseph said that he was accepting the offer, "... for my country."

As is customary on the show when a contestant accepts a deal, Mandel asks them to point out the cases that they would have chosen next. In his next selections, Joseph would have put the million dollar amount out, taking the next offer made by the banker down to US$22,000. Joseph thus made, according to the game, a good deal.

The still-stunned Joseph's participation on the show ended to the sounds of a live pan side, with his mother and supporters joining him on the stage to chip to the music.

With all that's in the news recently about the country and the region, I'm glad that I can still say that it's good to be a Trini...

And I hope that the press follows this up.

UPDATE (15/06 12:35 AM): The Express' Nigel Telesford covers Wednesday night's events here, Kimberly Castillo of the South Bureau speaks to Joseph's friends and family here, and veteran journalist Keith Smith gives the story editorial treatment here.

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