My EXCLUSIVE interview with the voice of ‘The Price Is Right’, ‘Wheel of Fortune’, ‘Family Feud’, ‘Deal Or No Deal’, and more… Mr John Deeks! Part III

John Deeks


And welcome to the third instalment of my chat with The Man With The Golden Voice; John Deeks! And if you’d like to hear a little sample of that famous voice, just click on the audio file in the top right corner of this page.

When we left off last week, we were discussing the Australian version of the game show institution that IS Wheel Of Fortune. It was a show that Deeksie provided the voice for, for over two decades, so I felt I just had to ask him….


SH: The different Wheel of Fortune hosts that came and went over the years… what were some of the differences that you noticed between them?

JD: “Turps” was a man of the people he was out there, and the crew loved him and he loved the crew; he just loved people. He was as open as the people were, and he was up for anything. He was true ‘Leagues Club“. 

SH: Yeah.

JD: Burgo, though, was a different kettle of fish, he was more reserved. I would be the everyman and he was sort of above all that, and Adrey, of course, was just gorgeous.

SH: Rob Elliott did it for a while.

JD: Rob Elliott did it for a while, yes absolutely. Rob was great, but he was the most reluctant host I’ve ever known. He wasn’t quite depressive, but he was “Oh, the system hates me”. Eventually he said to the network, “Look I just don’t think I can do this anymore”, and they said………… “Yep, fair enough” and they got someone else.

SH: So his heart wasn’t in it?

JD: His heart wasn’t in it. Then Steve Oemcke did it for a short time, believe it or not.

SH: Did he have a background in sports?

JD: No he has a production company, WTFN and he’s a great guy, a lovely guy. But I tell you, Stephen, I’m just so fortunate because I was offered to go to New Zealand to host Wheel of Fortune over there. And thank God I didn’t take it, because I’m better as the ‘Level 2’ man; I’ll take level 2, because I love supporting the talent. I love it, I really do! I don’t want to be out the front, supporting these amazing hosts. For a long time, as you know, I worked with Andrew O’Keefe (who hosted Deal Or No Deal) who is without question the best performer I have ever worked with in my life. He’s so disciplined in front of the camera. He can come in, learn and process a whole load of information that would take a whole year for me, and he would do it in one night. And he would come in and he would perform on his feet all day, interacting with people, laughing, joking… and you wouldn’t know that he’d had a big night the night before.

SH: And was probably going to have a big night after the record, too. 

JD: Exactly.

SH: Unstoppable.

JD: Loads of heart, a man of the people, funny to work with, and we shared the same wicked sense of humour, too. So I miss him dreadfully to work with. Pretty much everyone I’ve worked with has been very generous, because they’ve got that I’m not a threat. I don’t want their job. I want to make them look the best they can. It was like when I used to work with Debbie (Debbie Phin, with whom Deeksie hosted lotto draws for years) or anyone I work with on camera; the better I can make them look, the better I look, the better the whole thing looks.

SH: That’s right.

JD: But it’s got to come from the heart. 

SH: Exactly. You mentioned that you’ve always been happy to have that supportive – and supporting – role.

JD: Yeah, very happy. 


…. AND YET, as we’ll see next week, Deeksie is about to be thrust into the spotlight, as the host of one of the most beloved game shows of all time.

How did that come about?

How did he handle it?

And how long did it last?

My EXCLUSIVE interview with the voice of ‘The Price Is Right’, ‘Wheel of Fortune’, ‘Family Feud’, ‘Deal Or No Deal’, and more… Mr John Deeks! Part II

John Deeks


And welcome to the second instalment of my interview with TV game show voice over legend John Deeks.

Before we go any further, I’d like to thank John for very kindly recording a little welcome announcement for the site, which you can see on the top right corner of this page! If you click on it, you’ll hear his dulcet tones bidding you a warm welcome, as only he can.

But now, as we pick up our conversation, we’re still discussing the Melbourne version of The Price Is Right which was shot at Festival Hall back in the eighties…


JD: It was a huge show with massive sets, with lots of cars, and a huge audience, in the right part of town.

SH: How many were in the audience? 

JD: Oh, 300 – 400. It was jolly big.

SH: For a studio audience for a TV show, that’s very big.

JD: Huge. And the later versions were never on that scale; when we tried to do The New Price Is Right, they really cheapened it. They did it in this tiny studio in Sydney, Larry Emdur was the host, and I think they gave away like a Goggomobil; it was one of the cheapest cars you could find.

SH: As you say, you were the voice of the show and you did its warm ups, from a position in the audience. As such, you would have watched thousands of episodes; would that be fair to say?

JD: Yes.

SH: Were there any times when you were watching, thinking, “No – don’t do that! You’re supposed to be doing this”?

JD: The best people we had – and this applies to all of the shows – except where intelligence is really required, (and thank God I never worked on shows where intelligence was a prerequisite! And I mean that with love). I’ve never worked on a Sale of The Century, that sort of show; they’ve all been game shows and I love the format of the game show; I love the repetitive nature of it; I just really, really enjoy it. You either do or you don’t. I did. But the common thread amongst all those people is that they were natural. They gave of themselves. You can’t have too many barriers; you have to say “Here I am, World!” 

SH: Warts and all?

JD: Yeah, warts and all. The best ones were the ones who had character; they would come out and just be themselves. If they had friends in the audience they could interact with them, so we’d shoot them as well and they got the game. Because I always told the audience, “You are part of the production process. We just come along with this template every week. The template works and now it’s up to you to put the flavour in it.”

SH: And you were also the voice of Wheel of Fortune from 1984-2006.

JD: 22 years, yeah!

SH: Incredible! So again that must have been thousands of episodes, maybe tens of thousands of episodes?

JD: Stop counting.

SH: Sorry.

JD: No, not you – I did.

SH: Oh, you stopped counting.

JD: Yeah, yeah.

SH: I see. Was that always in Adelaide?

JD: Yes it was. Until (co-host) Adriana ran out of husbands, and then we moved it to Sydney.

SH: Right.

JD: Well, there was a bigger pool…


SH: Yes, sure.

JD: And also, (host) John (Burgess) needed to get new leather pants.

SH: Right.

JD: We’d fly there every Friday to record five shows, and sometimes we had to do ten. It was like; “Oh my God – we are doing ten shows; five on a Friday, five on a Saturday as well!” But now, of course, they’re always churned out that way; ka-chunka, ka-chunka, ka-chunka!

SH: The show had a few hosts over that time… starting with Ernie Sigley, I think?

JD: Ernie was there… and then I was going to be the host after Ernie left.

SH: Interesting!

JD: But I was doing The Price is Right at the same time, and they said “No, you can’t do that; you’ll have to stay on The Price is Right.”

SH: These are both Seven Network productions?

JD: Yeah. So I’ve said “Oh, okay.” Then of course a little time later Price finished, and over at Wheel of Fortune in Adelaide, the guy who’d been doing my job (the voice job), was cleaning leaves out of his gutter, and fell off the ladder.

That I pushed.

And they asked if I could come over for the weekend to do shows, and I said “Sure, but I want to do the warm up as well”. They said “Knock yourself out, kid” (because that was what I was used to doing on The Price Is Right.So I came over one weekend, and 20 years later…  I’m still receiving death threats from the guy who I –


SH: Can he walk again?

JD: I felt terrible about that night.

SH: That’s showbiz.

JD: It is showbiz, and you know what they say; “Never take a holiday”.

SH: Never take a holiday.

JD: Or clean out the gutters.

SH: Or clean out the gutters.


Mmm. Good advice for us all.

Join us here next week, for Part III, when Deeksie discusses Wheel of Fortune‘s various hosts, and reveals his favourite Australian game show host of all time! 

‘How To Win Game Shows’ the eBook: UPDATE!

Hello everyone, and welcome to the scheduled launch day for How To Win Game Shows  – the eBook! 

Only thing is, it’s not quite ready yet.


All the content is done, but I’m afraid I’ve underestimated the time that editing, proofreading and getting an eStore up and running would take. So, I know I did say that it’d be ready to go by today, but if you can bear with me for one more week, I’d really appreciate it. That makes the revised launch date Sunday September 20th. I’d like to thank you so much for your patience and understanding. As a little taste of what it’ll look like, here’s the eBook’s cover:

The eBook's front cover!

The eBook’s front cover!

In the meantime, it’ll be business as usual here at the blog, with my next weekly post due on Tuesday. That will chronicle the first part of my Australia’s Brainiest Quizmaster journey – this was the show in early 2006 that pitted Who Wants To Be A Millionaire winners against Sale of the Century and Temptation winners, in a battle to win the $20,000 for charity, and the title of ‘Australia’s Brainiest Quizmaster’. I did manage to win it, but it certainly wasn’t all smooth sailing. The story of how I accomplished it begins right here on Tuesday, and hopefully there’ll be some tips and hints in there that will be helpful to you, as you learn from my mistakes.

Until then, thank you so much for your patience, and remember, you can still get a FREE SNEAK PREVIEW BONUS CHAPTER of the eBook by signing up to the How To Win Game Shows mailing list, by using the handy (if slightly squashed) email sign up box to the right! ——————————————————————————————————->

EXCLUSIVE interview with game show host Ed Phillips – Part VI

ed_phillips4This week, my exclusive interview with Aussie game show legend Ed Phillips wraps up, as I ask him his three most important tips for would-be game show contestants, and get his thoughts on The Very Future Of The Game Show Itself….


SH: What do you see as the future of game shows or quiz shows? We don’t seem to have many happening at the moment.

EP: Well, Deal Or No Deal had a great run. Million Dollar Minute – which is just a Temptation ripoff anyway – is back. Millionaire Hot Seat is strong as ever, now they are bringing back Family Feud. The three main networks – 7, 9 and 10 – have all been hamstrung by output deals for the last 2 years with Warner Brothers, Disney and CBS. So once that has expired, that’ll free up tens and tens of millions of dollars in budget so there will be new shows trialled, I think.

SH: Can you explain what you mean by “hamstrung by output deals”?

EP: Ok. Say Channel 9 for instance have a deal with Warner. I believe it’s 150 million dollars. For that, Warner would provide them exclusive access to things; the format to The Voice, Big Bang Theory, several movies, that sort of thing. Big Bang really only gives them a dozen or so new shows each year because they make so few, but it gets them all the back catalogue to play as many times as they like.

SH: And they sure do.

EP: Yeah. The Block cost them 10 – 20 million dollars to do a couple of series, The Voice costs them 40 or 50 million dollars, which includes The Kids’ Voice version as well; paying all the stars. But once those deals expire, they’re set to be renegotiated. So they will crunch those down by a factor of ten, and free up a lot of money for local production. Because you’re right – there’s literally been no local production in new shows, where they would once try something out for 6 or 10 episodes and see how it goes. They have all been running very lean. So Seven has been tied to Disney, Channel 10 has been tied to its American output deal. Once they all expire at the end of this year, there’ll be more money freed up for more projects – just to give them a trial, and see how they go.

SH: That’s interesting.

EP: There could be some new ones – that they haven’t even thought of – coming out. It could be revamping of many more old faves again. Because they won’t have to pay so much money for those, so they can give them a go.

SH: Yes, and try something even… (dare I say it?)… NEW!

EP: Whoo-hoo! Because as you’d know, there are hardly any great new formats of shows. The old ones are like old family favourites, tried and tested… and it is so hard to break in a new one that’s cool.

SH: That’s true.

EP: And of course everyone wants the added element of ‘can we play along at home’? Can we have an app running at the same time and test ourselves against a champ? Can we vote a champ off? Can we join in, if we missed the start of the show? Can we join in half-way through and play? Can we win prizes at home? Everyone wants this amazing multi-layered experience, that you didn’t get on Wheel of Fortune, when the wheel was just spinning around, watching it at home.

SH: It’s a different landscape now.

EP: Yeah.

SH: Ed, Thank you so much for chatting today. In closing, what would you say are the three most important things for someone to know if they want to be a contestant on a game show? I think you have covered some of the things earlier on. 

Continue reading

Amazing ‘Wheel of Fortune’ wins – what’s really going on?

Wheel of Fortune emil de leonSo on Wednesday’s episode of Wheel of Fortune, contestant Emil De Leon achieved one of the most incredible puzzle solves ever seen on the show… provided with just 2 letters (‘N’ and ‘E’), he solved the puzzle ‘NEW BABY BUGGY’ to take home over $60 000 in prize money.

There’s a link to the video of that moment here, along with some of the other most amazing Wheel of Fortune solves ever. They’re all incredible, seeming to defy logic, with the contestant filling in virtually all of the gaps with hardly any clues. But what’s really happening in seemingly serendipitous moments like these?

These problem solving moments hook into a deep part of the brain that makes connections, links and patterns… without us even realising. Our brains like to organise the outside world into patterns that we recognise, patterns that make sense to us. This is such a strong, hard-wired process, that we don’t even notice it happening. Consider the following passage, that’s been floating around on the internet for a while now… Continue reading