Penn Jillette hosts Identity

Judging a book by its cover has never been so lucrative.

NBC has announced Identity, a new game show to be hosted by Penn Jillette of comedy/magic duo Penn & Teller. Identity will premiere with a five-night run, just as Deal or No Deal did last season.

Identity will feature contestants attempting to match a list of 12 identities to 12 strangers using nothing more than external appearances. The more correct matches the player makes, the more money they win--if the player matches all 12 identities to all 12 strangers, they win the grand prize of $500,000.

"The deceptively creative concept of this show is both intriguing and addictive," said Craig Plestis, senior vice president, of alternative programming for the network. "It entertainingly demonstrates that our minds can often play tricks on us--and the stakes are raised when there's a fortune to be won."

NBC president Kevin Reilly announced in October the network would focus more on creating cheap reality and game show fare for the 8 p.m. primetime hour. The network has seen disappointing results with its most recent slate of high-profile shows, including Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip and Friday Night Lights, despite both shows receiving critical praise. Only the network's Heroes has managed to break out and become a hit.

Identity comes from Reveille, the production compnay behind the network's The Office and The Biggest Loser, as well as ABC's Ugly Betty. Identity begins Monday, December 18, and runs at 8 p.m. every night through Friday, December 22.

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