Lingo was a game show in which contestant pairs unravel five-letter words. Three versions aired, from 1987-88 in syndication, and from 2002-07 and during the summer of 2011 on GSN.
Each of two teams are given a "Lingo" board, comprised of 25 numbered balls on a 5x5 grid. They are spotted ten numbers to be covered up. The first team is shown a separate word grid and is spotted the first letter of a five-letter word. They must guess the word and spell it. The spelled word is printed out; letters in the word in their proper spot are lit up in red while letters in the word but out of place are lit up as yellow circles. The team has five chances to identify the word. If they do not guess the word, give a word less or more than five letters or give a word not acceptable by dictionary standards, the other team is spotted an extra letter in an attempt to guess the word. Doing so scores 25 points.
The team correctly identifying a word pulls two numbered balls from their hopper in an attempt to cover them on their Lingo board and create a "Lingo" (up, down, diagonally) for 50 additional points. There are three red balls--"stoppers"--which end the team's turn, and a new grid is played. Once a team gets a "Lingo," they are issued a new board and ten numbers covered.
In round two, three question mark balls are thrown in as wild cards, and the teams can use them to knock off any number on their board. Correctly guessed words are now worth 100 points with a "Lingo" worth 150 points.
The winning team plays the bonus round for $5000 and a vacation package. In two minutes they must guess as many five-letter words as they can, being spotted two letters for each. They may use bonus letters to assist them--each are acquired by winning the game and for the number of Lingos they score. For each word they get right, they earn a ball to create a lingo. Ten numbers are struck on their bonus Lingo board with one number shown to create the Lingo for $5000 and the vacation. If they miss it, they can draw the remaining number of balls to try and create a Lingo for $2500. Missing that, they earn $100 for each word they got right.
In season three of the GSN show, progressive jackpots were introduced. It started at $10,000 for a Lingo on the first draw and went up $1000 each day it was not won. A Lingo upon drawing the other balls was worth $5000.
The original Lingo has a different scoring system (cash prizes) and a different end game called "No Lingo." In that end game, they wagered a spotted $500 to guess five-letter words in an attempt to draw a gold ball from their hopper.
A new season on GSN began June 6, 2011 with a new host, Bill Engvall. In this edition, at the start of the show, whoever draws a higher number Lingo ball goes first. Each word puzzle is worth $100 and a clue is given for each word to be identified. The clues for some words are a bit racy and has garnered the show a content rating of TV-14. The previous edition with Chuck Woolery was TV-G. The top prize for the winners to shoot for is $100,000.
- At a Glance: Additional information about the series