Coon Rapids resident appears on national game show

Zon Nienaber traveled to California to attend a national women’s volleyball tournament. He ended up a contestant on the “Let’s Make a Deal” network television game show.

Zon Nienaber (left) and his sister Toni Teden on the set of the CBS Television game show, “Let’s Make a Deal,” at which Nienaber was chosen to be part of a taping. Submitted photo
Zon Nienaber (left) and his sister Toni Teden on the set of the CBS Television game show, “Let’s Make a Deal,” at which Nienaber was chosen to be part of a taping. Submitted photo

The show in which the Coon Rapids resident appeared was telecast April 20.

The initial plans of Nienaber and his sister, Toni Teden of Andover, were to watch the Concordia University, St. Paul, women’s volleyball team successfully defend its national championship at the University of California, San Bernardino, in early December 2011.

But, according to Nienaber, Teden was able to obtain tickets for a taping of the television game show, “Let’s Make a Deal” in Hollywood, Calf., which is hosted by Emmy-winner Wayne Brady.

“We went to the taping and went through the interview process,” Nienaber said.

“I expected my sister to be chosen because she is more outgoing than I am, but they picked me instead to be a contestant.”

“It was out of my comfort zone.”

None of this was planned, according to Nienaber.

Indeed, Nienaber and Teden only got the costumes they wore at the show’s taping an hour beforehand, he said.

He went as a lumberjack, but Brady called him “hunter guy.”

Two shows were taped that day and Nienaber was a contestant on one of them.

He was nervous before the “Let’s Make a Deal” taping, Nienaber said.

“But once it starts, it all goes so fast,” he said.

However, when he was called down things “did not go well,” Nienaber said.

A woman contestant had a chance to pick one of three envelope boxes and Nienaber was left with one she did not pick, he said.

Brady offered Nienaber $600 and then when he turned it down, $1,000, which he also turned down, Nienaber said.

“I was hoping to win a motorcycle,” he said.

Instead, the box revealed a “Zonk,” a large Styrofoam rabbit in a wheelbarrow, Nienaber said.

And Nienaber did not bring it home with him. It’s one of the show’s props, he said.

“But appearing on the show was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it,” Nienaber said.

Most of Nienaber’s appearance at the taping remained in the edited version of the show which was shown from 2 to 3 p.m. on CBS April 22, according to Nienaber.

Teden threw a party for family members that afternoon at her home so they could watch the show, Nienaber said.

Nienaber has lived all his life in Coon Rapids, apart from 18 months in Texas, and graduated from Coon Rapids High School in 1979 – Teden, is also a Coon Rapids High School graduate.

He is a sales representative for Coca Cola and coaches football and baseball at the high school.

According to Courtney Smith, spokesperson for “Let’s Make a Deal,” this is the game show where audience members dress in outlandish costumes to win cash and prizes by making deals with the host, Brady.

“The original ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ was a television game show staple during the 1960s and 1970s when it was hosted by Monty Hall from 1963-1977,” said Smith in a press release.

“While later versions aired in syndication and prime time, the game show is best remembered for the years hosted by Hall, who serves a creative consultant on this latest version.”

The new, one-hour version, is hosted by Brady at the Sunset Bronson Studions in Hollywood, Calif.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]