Dec. 10, 2012 at 10:26 AM ET
It's almost that time again! Time for office Christmas parties and family gatherings to bring back the classic look-out-for-No.1 holiday gift swap, White Elephant. But before we all find ourselves forced to surrender perfectly good gifts for gag gifts, a new game show is set to bring that same theme to the small screen.
In "Take It All," contestants will vie for a shot at a lot of great loot at the expense of their fellow players. If it sounds a little ruthless -- well, it is. But don't worry. During a Monday morning visit to TODAY, host Howie Mandel assured that it doesn't really bring out the worst in people.
"I don't think it's the worst," he said. "You can be ... a cunning gamesman -- it's gamesmanship. The prizes they get, it's like Secret Santa or White Elephant, but (there are) hundreds of thousands of dollars, cars, hovercrafts, submarines that they can take from each other."
In this twist on White Elephant, or Yankee Swap as some call it, the contestants left holding the bad gifts don’t get to keep them -- or even stay in the game -- and the ones with the best items can agree to keep them for themselves or attempt a take-it-all coup.
"The deal is whoever has the least valuable prize gives it back and goes home until two are left," Mandel explained. "And they've accumulated hundreds of thousands in prizes, and now they face off against each other. And they have a choice: Keep the money or take it all. So (one player could) be cunning and gamesman-like and say, 'You know what? I have no money. I've lost my job. I have three kids. I'm just going to keep my car and my hovercraft and my money. It's a deal right? You'll do that?' And then I say, 'Lock it in,' as the host. (But it turns out that contestant) was playing, because (he chooses) 'Take it all,' (and the other player) said, 'Keep mine.'"
So the first player would get all the loot and the other one wouldn't get a thing.
"It's 'The Price is Right' meets 'Deal or No Deal' meets 'Jerry Springer,"" Mandel said, summing up the game's vibe. "There's a lot of anger, emotion, fainting, laughing and screaming."
The fun starts Monday night at 9 p.m. just after "The Voice" on NBC.
What do you think of White Elephant-themed swaps like this? Unfair or just fun? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.
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