Lingo (game show)

From Academic Kids

Lingo is an American television game show that GSN produced along with other companies. Versions of Lingo have also existed in other countries.


Broadcast history

The first US attempt at airing Lingo was in 1987, and the host was Michael Reagan, son of then President Ronald Reagan. The show was produced in Canada for syndication in the US. This version of the show has become somewhat controversial, with allegations that the cash-strapped producers didn't pay some winning contestants their prizes. Despite the show's checkered run, versions of Lingo were subsequently produced in Spain, Quebec and, most notably, The Netherlands.

On August 5, 2002, Game Show Network started airing the first episodes of its version of Lingo. The first 20 episodes were recorded in The Netherlands, on the set of its Dutch counterpart; subsequent episodes were produced in the US. Two more seasons began in December of 2002 and December of 2003, respectively. All of these were hosted by Chuck Woolery.

GSN held a tournament of champions with particularly successful contestants from its second and third seasons. The network has now confirmed that it will air a fourth season of the show beginning in July, 2005. Internet sources report that Woolery will return as host, but Stacey Hayes will not co-host the new episodes. GSN reruns Lingo extensively on its current schedule.

Like any TV show Lingo has its detractors. But reviews of the show have generally been positive. Fans of the show say the cleverly designed gameplay offers much play-along value for the viewer, Woolery maintains a friendly atmosphere with touches of humor, and the competition often generates real suspense. Unfriendly critics have derided the show's paltry prizes, sometimes anticlimactic bonus round, and the introduction of Stacey Hayes as co-host in the third season.

How the game is played

Two teams of two players, compete against the other team. Each team tries to guess mystery words of five letters. The members of the team take turns guessing their mystery word, by stating the word and then spelling it. For each guess, the team is notified of the correctness of each letter in their guess. A red square represents a letter in the correct place. A yellow circle represents a letter not in the correct position but is in the mystery word. A correct guess is worth 25 points. The team has five guesses at the word, and if the team does not guess correctly, the opposing team is given the word and a bonus letter. This will also happen if any of the following situations are met: team runs out of time, guess is spelt wrong, guess isn't of length five, guess isn't a word or it's a proper noun.

Lingo board

The board has twenty-five numbers in five rows, akin to bingo. One team's board has only odd numbers, while the other board has only even numbers. Ten numbers are marked off for each team at the start of the game. A team that guesses a word correctly proceeds to draw two balls. The corresponding numbers are marked off. If a team has marked five numbers in a row, in a column, or diagonally, it is a Lingo, and 50 points are awarded. Then, a new Lingo card is assigned and the other team starts on a puzzle. However, if a team draws a red ball (often called a stopper, perhaps owing to Chuck's Scrabble experience), control is passed to the other team for the next puzzle.

The second round

After time runs out for the first round, the second round begins. In round two, point values are doubled, meaning a correct guess is worth 50 points, and a Lingo 100. Also, "question mark" balls are added, and they can represent a number of the team's choice. After the second round is over, the team with the most points advances to Bonus Lingo.

Bonus Lingo

In Bonus Lingo, the contestants try to guess as many words as possible within two minutes. For each correct guess, the team gets a chance to pull out a ball at the end of the round.

In the first season, thirteen numbers were marked off the card, and a Lingo would mean that the team would win a prize package that was comprised of a digital camera, a bookstore gift card, a watch, and a pocket PC. Win or lose, the team won $100 for each ball.

The bonus round for the second and third seasons was different. The teams could now use bonus letters. One bonus letter was given for winning the game and one for each Lingo attained during the game. Also, the draw was changed. Twelve numbers were marked off in such a way that one number, if drawn, could provide an instant Lingo. If that ball was pulled on the first try, the team won $5,000 and a trip to Jamaica, which was replaced in the third season with a casino vacation. If the team reached Lingo in more than one pull, the prize was $5,000. If there was no Lingo, $100 per ball was awarded.


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