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Joe Manganiello Reveals If Former Briefcase Girl Claudia Jordan Has an Advantage on ‘Deal or No Deal Island’ (Exclusive)

Reality TV fans may recognize some familiar faces on NBC’s Deal or No Deal Island, including former Deal or No Deal briefcase girl Claudia Jordan.

Viewers might think Jordan’s history with the game show would give her a leg up in NBC’s new competition series, but host Joe Manganiello said her experience came with both pros and cons. “Claudia had an advantage in that she was valuable to the group because she knew how the game was played. She’d seen almost every single game up close and live,” Manganiello, 47, exclusively told Us Weekly while promoting the season 1 premiere of the game show.

Jordan, 50, acted as the model for Briefcase No. 1 on the first four seasons of Deal or No Deal from 2005 to 2009. Having also worked as a model on The Price is Right, Jordan followed up her time on Deal or No Deal with appearances on reality shows such as The Apprentice, The Next 15 and The Real Housewives of Atlanta.

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Manganiello went on to note that Jordan, 50, had a “sixth sense when it came to what was in what case, what was going to be a good deal, what was a bad deal, when the board was stacked in the player’s favor [and] what player’s board was versus what a banker’s board was,” which made her “very useful to the group.”

On the downside, her skills also made her a “threat” among the competitors. “I think anybody who you think has an advantage, it’s also at a disadvantage because the rest of the group is thinking, ‘Well, we need to build the biggest board possible, the biggest final case value possible, but also I need to be the one playing for it, not you,’” Manganiello explained. “So, they’re waiting for their opportunity to get rid of you.”

Deal or No Deal Island s Joe Manganiello on if Claudia Jordan Has Advantage
Patrick Ecclesine/NBC

Joe Manganiello.

The same goes for competitor Rob Mariano, a.k.a. Boston Rob, who has competed on multiple seasons of Survivor and The Amazing Race. “I’ve watched almost every single season of Survivor. So, I knew immediately who Rob was, and I was excited,” Manganiello told Us, adding that some of the Deal or No Deal Island cast weren’t aware of Mariano’s reality TV history.

“I really had to hold things close to my chest and not give away that I knew him or how I knew him, or that he had been on a show, like an adventure show before,” Manganiello continued. “So, I had to kind of let the cards fall the way, but then once they found out who he was, then it was on, Let’s go.

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Deal or No Deal Island puts a twist on the original game show, placing contestants on a tropical island with over 100 briefcases of cash. Before contestants play a game of Deal or No Deal against each other, they will first have to work together to secure the briefcases containing the money they will be playing for.

Deal or No Deal Island s Joe Manganiello on if Claudia Jordan Has Advantage
Claudia Jordan; Rob Mariano. Patrick Ecclesine/NBC (2)

“They want to add the biggest amount to the case, but they also have to stay in the game because if they lose, they’re out,” Manganiello shared. “They have to make a good deal against the banker in order to keep playing. So, there’s more strategy, there’s a whole other layer to the game, but then there’s also these crazy challenges, which involve complete insanity that has got thrust upon these people.”

Deal or No Deal Island premieres on NBC Monday, February 26, at 9:30 p.m. ET, and will move to its regular 10 p.m. ET time slot on Monday, March 4. All episodes will be available on Peacock the next day.

With reporting by Sarah Jones

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