‘Deal or No Deal’ host Howie Mandel gets Meghan Markle’s woes: ‘It wasn’t fulfilling’

Howie Mandel and Meghan Markle
Howie Mandel, left, has weighed in on Meghan Markle’s recent comments about “Deal or No Deal.”
(Richard Shotwell / Invision / Associated Press, left; Simon Dawson / Associated Press)
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Howie Mandel, the former host of “Deal or No Deal,” has weighed in on Meghan Markle‘s dissatisfaction with her NBC days. In an interview with Us Weekly, the television personality said he understands where Markle is coming from.

“I get it because — and I’ve never said this before — they had this pyramid of 26 beautiful, intelligent women standing there just staring at me like I was a piece of meat,” Mandel said in an interview published Thursday. “I was in the center, just dressed up in a suit and I felt like, ‘I am more than this.’”

Mandel, who hosted the NBC show from 2005 to 2019, said he “felt like nothing” on the series, prompting his move to “America’s Got Talent.” In a recent episode of her “Archetypes” podcast, Meghan revealed that modeling with a suitcase on “Deal or No Deal” made her feel like a “bimbo” with “all looks and little substance.”


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Shortly after her comments, the Duchess of Sussex received criticism from “The View” co-host Whoopi Goldberg.

“I don’t think that the people who are sitting there are thinking about you like that. They’re thinking, ‘I want the money,’” Goldberg said last week.

Goldberg added that Meghan’s negative experience with “Deal or No Deal” might just come with the territory.

“When you’re a performer, you take the gig. Sometimes, you’re in a ‘Bozo’ suit, sometimes you got a big nose, and this is just the way it is,” Goldberg said. “We’re not journalists. We’re actors. We’re trying to get to another place. And you [Meghan] left and that was your prerogative. I feel bad because I don’t think people were looking at the girls like this.”

A handful of women in Christmas costumes surround a man in a black suit
Howie Mandel, center, on the set of “Deal or No Deal” posing with Meghan Markle, far right, and other models.
(NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

Similarly, “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Claudia Jordan, who was also a briefcase model on the show, criticized Meghan. On her Instagram stories last week, Jordan said “Deal or No Deal NEVER treated us like bimbos. We got so many opportunities because of that show, Fremantle and @nbc.”


Mandel told Us Weekly that “Deal or No Deal” was a “great workplace environment” and that Meghan, a former “Suits” star, was merely talking about “what was going on in her mind.”

“Some people show up at an office and don’t feel good about it and decide to change careers,” he said. “I don’t think she’s maligning ‘Deal or No Deal.’”

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He added that he heard of no complaints from the women on the show and that they were “a lot more intelligent and more accomplished than I ever was.” He then name dropped former “Deal or No Deal” figures — including Jordan and Chrissy Teigen — who went on to pursue other opportunities after their time on the show.

“I don’t think Megan is complaining. I think Megan just said she wanted to do more,” he added. “It wasn’t fulfilling for her.”

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Mandel added that he just simply does not “know why there is a big hoopla” around the duchess’ comments and that he too felt “like a bimbo” on the show.

“When you’re gorgeous like me, that just comes with the job,” he quipped.

Times staff writer Nardine Saad contributed to this report.