05Apr2011
Rules to GSN’s Updated “Lingo” Leaked Thumbnail

Rules to GSN’s Updated “Lingo” Leaked

UPDATES: We added some new information from a new report in comments, which has been bolded.  We also removed an editorial piece about the potential for a slow front game, as we got information about how many words are being played, which is only slightly fewer than the former version.

The always helpful Hollywood Junket leaked the rules to the new version of Lingo, GSN’s hit word guessing game now hosted by comedian Bill Engvall.  The former version, originally hosted by Chuck Woolery, was as simple as can be.  Guess five lettered words and get a bingo to earn points, and win the game and you answer words for two minutes to earn balls and win the jackpot.  Its simplicity could have harmed it.  It made few changes, ratings remained stagnant despite new episodes, and it faded.  Changes were made to the new edition as promised.

The game still has two teams of two compete against each other.  At the start of the show each team pulls a Lingo ball, and the highest numbered team starts the game.  The game still gives you the first letter of a five letter word and makes you guess new words, showing you if you have a letter in the right or wrong place.  A big change is that Bill Engvall will now give you a hint as to what the word could be, much like the old Chuck Woolery hosted game show Scrabble.

According to Hollywood Junket, answering the word correctly gives you money.  Round one words are worth $100, $200 in round two, and $500 in round three.  Three words are played on round one, four in round two, and three in round three, according to a new audience report.  Lingo balls are on a large rack behind contestants. Getting the word also lets you draw two Lingo balls and hope to achieve a Lingo.  Getting a Lingo gives you the the amount a word is worth in a round.  So a Lingo in round one is worth $100, $200 in round two, and $500 in round three.  Red “stoppers” are still in each hopper, passing control to the other team.  They’ve finally added prize balls, a welcome change, giving you a bonus prize.

The winning team plays Bonus Lingo and attempts to solve up to five bonus words without the extra clues in 90 seconds.  Two free letters are given in each word, so you only need to fill in three letters.  The first correct word matches the team’s bank and each new right word after that doubles the bonus pot.  So if a team has $1,000; the first right answer gives them $1,000 in their bank and doubles it for each new word.  Getting five words will win the team the new top prize of $100,000.  No bonus letters will be given except on the first word. The team keeps whatever they won even if they don’t get the $100,000.

It’s a mixed bag for me.  I applaud them for finally awarding money in the front game, finally including cash balls, and finally making your skill at solving words, what the game is built around, the determining factor as to how much money you win.  I do have a few concerns, though, and it mostly all rests in the end game.

First off, it’s not  impossibly hard to solve one or two words in 60 seconds.  Not has hard as beating the mob on 1 VS 100 for half the top prize.  I wonder about the word difficulty.  They are either underestimating how quickly very good teams can solve words, or the words have gotten very hard.  I also wonder why they got rid of one half of the focus of the point of the show (according to the report), getting a bingo, from the big exciting end game, but there we are.

I love when shows change and try to better themselves, like what Millionaire did this season.  But Millionaire had a serious problem and some of the changes helped it.  Lingo had a slight repetition format and I don’t think these changes really help it.  I don’t think the changes necessarily hurt the show, but it doesn’t bring it to the next level.  However, though, the game, for the most part, is the same and they did make some changes people were asking for such as money in the front game, a prize increase, and prize balls, so I give them credit for trying to do something.  Something just seems “off” about Bonus Lingo and the amount of down time the show will have.  We’ll find out when we actually see the full, final product this June on GSN.

UPDATES: We added some new information from a new report in comments, which has been bolded.  We also removed an editorial piece about the potential for a slow front game, as we got information about how many words are being played, which is only slightly fewer than the former version.

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Alex Davis

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Alex Davis is an award winning writer and producer based out of Pittsburgh, PA, who works out of New York, Los Angeles, and London. Alex is the head writer and editor for BuzzerBlog and is the president and head of development of 5Hole Productions, specializing in unscripted formats for television and internet play.

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Discussion

22 responses to "Rules to GSN’s Updated “Lingo” Leaked"

  • jhshifris says:

    So, they are playing for money instead of points like Chuck’s version did.

  • David says:

    You raise a good point about the eliminating the “getting a bingo” portion of the bonus round (if it’s true, of course); the show is called “Lingo” for a reason, and without it in the bonus game, it’s not “Lingo”. Of course, this is preliminary, and we’ll see in June what’s really up.

  • sVybDy says:

    I’m a little worried about the hints. They’ll have to be awfully vague or good teams will blast right through the main game.

    As for the new bonus round, getting 10 in 2:00 was a pipe dream for all but the very best teams, so getting 5 in 1:00 should be equally difficult. It could be even more difficult if there aren’t any bonus letters, or if you don’t get two letters to start each word.

    Between the shortened timer and the removal of the “bingo” portion of the bonus round, the end game will move much faster, potentially leaving more time for the front game. It doesn’t sound like a terrible change in my book.

  • LaJuan says:

    I hope this change is not true b/c the endgame was one of my favorite parts of the show.

  • Chiclets says:

    I just attended a taping of Lingo today. Let me clear a few things up. Many times, I’d guess at least 5 in the 3 episodes I saw taped, the teams can get the word just off of the clue and first letter (I won’t spoil by posting examples). The first round consists of 3 words. The second, 4, and the third, back to 3. So only 10 words total are used in the main game. You may wonder what occupies all the other time. Well, at the beginning of the show, and before each round Bill spends at least a minute or two with each team. The Lingo Balls are on a rack behind the contestants in four rows of five consisting of 16 numbers, 2 stoppers, 1 mystery/wild, and 1 prize ball. The bonus round is actually 5 words in 90 seconds. The first word matches the team’s bank, each thereafter doubles until all five words are solved for $100,000. So if a team wins $2,000 in the main game, and gets 4 words in the bonus, they win $18,000 ($2,000 doubled three times to $16,000, plus the original $2,000). There are no bonus letters in the bonus round, except on the first word. Progressive Insurance gives the team a third letter on that first word. When I heard about the bonus round prize and how it was won, I was in shock. When I was on Woolery’s Lingo, my partner and I had 5 right within 60 seconds, let alone 90. Now some things I really liked: The set – The set was very big, and reminded me somewhat of Million Dollar Password, in that it was almost like a runway. It worked for me. My big prediction,though, is that people are going to be very impressed with Bill Engvall. As game show fans we’re usually skeptical when a new host takes over an established host’s game, but I have to say that I thought Bill was great! Being that it’s still in its beginning stages, he had some nervous tendencies, but was really great in keeping the game moving by telling the teams about their guesses (“You found the R, but it’s in the wrong place,” etc.) even more so than Chuck did. The theme music was also changed to a drumbeat-driven rock which was easily clap-along-to-able ™. So overall, the hosting is great, and the game is still fun, though somewhat less challenging. I will be interested to see the reviews, once it premieres.

  • Chiclets says:

    I just attended a taping of Lingo today. Let me clear a few things up. Many times, I’d guess at least 5 in the 3 episodes I saw taped, the teams can get the word just off of the clue and first letter (I won’t spoil by posting examples). The first round consists of 3 words. The second, 4, and the third, back to 3. So only 10 words total are used in the main game. You may wonder what occupies all the other time. Well, at the beginning of the show, and before each round Bill spends at least a minute or two with each team. The Lingo Balls are on a rack behind the contestants in four rows of five consisting of 16 numbers, 2 stoppers, 1 mystery/wild, and 1 prize ball. The bonus round is actually 5 words (no clues) in 90 seconds. The first word matches the team’s bank, each thereafter doubles until all five words are solved for $100,000. So if a team wins $2,000 in the main game, and gets 4 words in the bonus, they win $18,000 ($2,000 doubled three times to $16,000, plus the original $2,000). There are no bonus letters in the bonus round, except on the first word. Progressive Insurance gives the team a third letter on that first word. When I heard about the bonus round prize and how it was won, I was in shock. When I was on Woolery’s Lingo, my partner and I had 5 right within 60 seconds, let alone 90. Now some things I really liked: The set – The set was very big, and reminded me somewhat of Million Dollar Password, in that it was almost like a runway. It worked for me. My big prediction,though, is that people are going to be very impressed with Bill Engvall. As game show fans we’re usually skeptical when a new host takes over an established host’s game, but I have to say that I thought Bill was great! Being that it’s still in its beginning stages, he had some nervous tendencies, but was really great in keeping the game moving by telling the teams about their guesses (“You found the R, but it’s in the wrong place,” etc.) even more so than Chuck did. The theme music was also changed to a drumbeat-driven rock which was easily clap-along-to-able ™. So overall, the hosting is great, and the game is still fun, though somewhat less challenging. I will be interested to see the reviews, once it premieres.

    • DeVares says:

      You’ve been to a taping, so I would assume there will be a studio audience, something the Woolery version lacked. All in all, I can’t wait to see the finished product.

  • The Banker's Nephew says:

    Sound interesting. I wonder if will *be* as interesting on TV. I don’t get the balls-on-racks thing. What was wrong with pulling balls out of a hopper?

  • Chris Parsley says:

    I still believe the contestants will pull from hopper, just that now they can kill a little more time by having the balls fall in to the hopper instead of being there at the start.

    • Chiclets says:

      Each ball is nestled in a little cup on the rack, number side down. They just reached back and selected a ball off of the rack, and only one teammate selects the balls. I kept having a vision of “Lingo” meets “Pokemon!”

  • ????? says:

    They didn’t need to change anything about this show, as the WOolery reruns apparently still get good ratings. WOnder if Woolery reruns will remain on the schedle when this premiere. I say award the cash for the front game, but play the bonus round as before. Play the bonus round as on Woolery’s show, and award $100K if a team gets ten words in two minutes AND gets the Lingo on the first ball. Award $5K for the usual Lingo in the bonus, but $10K or $20K for getting the first ball Lingo otherwise($10K or $20K for a team getting all ten words but not Lingoing on the first ball)

  • Steve says:

    I’ve been a big fan of the show since the 80s, and this is the first time since the Reagan era that the top prize has been this high.

    I did have a thought on what another commenter said. What if you took a page from “Body Language” and modified it a bit? Remember, their bonus round payouts varied on how many words the contestant got right in 60 seconds. Get 7 words in 60 seconds, plus 3 in 20 seconds netted $7000, for example.

    Let’s say you put two minutes on the clock and get 7 words. Still worth $700. Under Woolery Era rules, a lingo was worth $5000. With this, it would be $7000. And with the bonus jackpot for a first ball lingo, it would be worth 100X (or $70,000 in this example) instead of $10,000 or $41,000.

    Just my $.02, YMMV

  • Scott says:

    The only issue I have with this updated format is the huge top prize. I mean…$100,000 for guessing 5 words in 90 seconds?

    Chuck’s version of Lingo often gave out $5,000 as the top prize, aside from the progressive jackpot which was occasionally won. The new top prize…just seems…a bit high…

    Think about this for a second. GSN’s 1 VS 100 had a daily top prize of $50,000 (which was never won, by the way) and it was very difficult to get that prize, being that you had to eliminate all 100 mob members. By comparison, like Alex said, winning the $100,000 on this new Lingo seems a lot easier.

    Personally, I think they should’ve kept the top prize to $25,000 or $50,000 since Lingo isn’t known for giving out tons of cash, unlike a primetime game show like 1 VS 100.

    By them doing this for Lingo, if 1 VS 100 returns but without a daily $100,000 top prize, we’ll all be unhappy.

  • Tony DuMont says:

    What about the No Lingo Round from 1987? It got very suspenseful, a lot more than the Woolery version. But I don’t think we need to give hints for the words. Perhaps a toss-up would decide who goes first in each round. For a tiebreaker, we could just have one word back and forth between teams, and the first to solve it wins the game.

  • Kevin C. says:

    First off with the new top prize of $100,000; I hope they actually pay their contestants who win that prize (unlike the 80s versions).

    I think the top prize is too easy to win. Even “Russian Roulette” with its top prize of $100,000 (required both skill in the questions and the luck in not dropping).

    Here’s how I would do the prize structure.

    Each word is worth $1,000 in Bonus Lingo. 90 seconds to get as many words as possible. After 90 seconds, they are given 1 draw of a numbered ball per word guessed. If they earn a lingo, then they win double the amount earned (i.e. 5 words and a lingo = $10,000). If they receive a lingo on the first pick, then they win 5 times the amount (i.e. 5 words and a first ball lingo = $35,000).

    If they guess 7 words correctly in 90 seconds, then they win $25,000 automatically, with one ball picked to earn a lingo. Earning a lingo wins $50,000.

    If they guess 10 words correctly in 90 seconds, then they win $50,000 automatically, with one ball picked to earn a lingo. Earning a lingo wins $100,000.

    I do like the idea of playing for cash/prizes in the front game.

  • Marc Power says:

    I don’t like the picking the ball from a rack, seems to me teams drawing from a vat in from of them was a symbol of the show. otherwise its fine for me anyway.

  • CarShark says:

    It’s sounds…horrible, frankly. My fear is that the clues will give away the shop immediately or that they will have incredibly thick contestants. The possible saviors Having 10 words in a front game seems a it low. By the end, they were getting three done in the first segment and five in the second and third. 3-4-3 makes me think there’s too much chit-chat going on.

    The bonus round, however, manages to be even worse. The whole format is supposed to be a mix of word Mastermind and bingo. Why would you take half of that away? Why not let that determine the amount of the prize or something else?

    To be honest, I don’t know if Chiclets has posted here often before, but that report is just unbelievable. I’m fully expecting this to be a late April Fools’ prank.

    • Chiclets says:

      I kinda wish it were a joke, because, like most people here, I am a die hard game show fan. I was also a contestant on the Chuck Woolery “Lingo.” ( That’s why this version perturbed me a bit – I was on the first team to get all ten words in Bonus Lingo, and we had at least 5 before the first minute was up!). The big problem is that GSN doesn’t want to cater to the hardcore fans. They want to be more mainstream, and in today’s marketplace, it seems that requires dumbing things down. I will admit, some of the clues were more cryptic than others, but overall, the clues make it easier to guess the words. There is definitely a lot of chit-chat, but IMO, they are trying highlight the players’ relationships – again, as GSN is pushing for. I may go back for another taping to see if they have changed anything since this one, and if so, I’ll let everyone know!

      • Roy C Pollitt says:

        I doubt if I will watch this version. Reason Number 1 — I don’t care for the changes to the rules and content of the game. Reason Number 2 — I am a big fan of Chuck Woolery, and, as far as I am concerned, Chuck “owns” LINGO.

  • Dom says:

    How much for a Lingo in each round?

  • James says:

    I notice when the game is over, they take away the losing team’s cash. Don’t they get a consolation prize or something. I would hate to travel from Winter Haven, FL to go on Lingo, lose and don’t get anything.

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