With Bush, it's not a big 'Deal'

NBC game show notches its lowest Monday rating

President Bush's guest appearance in support of an Iraq War veteran on Monday night's "Deal or No Deal" didn't bring much luck to the contestant — or the show.

The NBC game show matched its lowest Monday rating ever despite the much-publicized visit by the commander in chief. The two-hour "Deal" was seen by 10 million viewers and earned a 2.7 rating among adults 18-49 and a 7 share, down 27% from its season average.

Also Monday, the CW's "Gossip Girl" returned on a new night and was up slightly compared with its pre-strike average.

Bush taped a special message for contestant Capt. Joseph Kobes, an Army transportation officer who served three tours of duty in Iraq. Kobes won a Purple Heart and Bronze Star and volunteered for his second and third deployments. "Deal" host Howie Mandel dubbed him "the ultimate American."

But during his game, Kobes said "no deal" one too many times, going from a $144,000 offer to accepting $26,000. By the end of the episode, however, Kobes had tripled his take-home total to a respectable $78,000 during a spin of the "deal wheel."

"I'm thrilled to be on 'Deal or No Deal' with you tonight," Bush said during his taped message. "Come to think of it, I'm thrilled to be anywhere with high ratings these days. Howie, I don't know if you're free to come to come to Washington anytime soon, but I have to reach an agreement with Congress on the federal budget. How'd you like to host a $3 trillion 'Deal or No Deal?' "

Monday night also saw the return of the CW's "Gossip Girl" (2.4 million, 1.3/4) to originals in a new time period. Replacing the usual comedy block, "Gossip" was up 8% vs. its pre-strike average. Along with an on-par "One Tree Hill" (2.8 million, 1.4/3), the dramas gave the CW its best overall Monday ever in its target 18-34 demo.

Overall, CBS won the night with the comedies "The Big Bang Theory," "How I Met Your Mother," "Two and a Half Men" and "Rules of Engagement" and the drama "CSI: Miami" (averaging 11.5 million, 4.0/10).

ABC was second with "Dancing With the Stars," "Samantha Who?" and "The Bachelor" (averaging 13.2 million, 3.5/9). NBC came in third with "Deal" and "Medium" (averaging 9.9 million, 2.8/7).

Fox had "Bones" and a "House" repeat (averaging 8.3 million, 2.6/7).