Michael Reagan (1987-1988)
Ralph Andrews (1988)
Dusty Martell (1987-1988)
Margaux Mackenzie (1988)
Syndicated 9/28/1987–3/25/1988
Ralph Andrews Productions
Bernstein-Hovis Productions
CCR Video Corporation
ABR Entertainment

"MICHAEL: Can you guess this five letter word beginning with the letter (insert letter)? DUSTY: (insert guess) MICHAEL: That's not it, but the squares around the letters (insert letters) are in the word and in the right position. The circles mean the (insert letters) are in the word but in a different position. Try again. DUSTY: (insert guess) MICHAEL: That's right! Hi, I'm Mike Reagan. DUSTY: And I'm Dusty Martell. MICHAEL: And that's how you play television's most challenging new game show. BOTH: LINGO!"

A game which is played a lot like bingo, except in order to mark your card, you have to guess a five-letter word within five turns to have a chance.


Two teams of two contestants competed in a game of guessing five letter words & making bingo or in this case, "lingo".

Main GameEdit

At the start of each game, both teams received their lingo cards, each one had seven numbers marked off at the outset. The challengers' card consisted of odd numbers with each one covered by a red circle, and the champions' card consisted of even numbers with each one covered by a blue circle.

Now the team in control (with the challengers going first), was shown the first letter of a five letter mystery word behind their card (generated by the show's Amiga computer). All the team has to do is to guess the word, then spell it out (players on the controlling team take turns while doing that). After each guess, the word was analyzed using red squares & yellow circles around the letters; a red square means that the letter is correct and in the right position, while a yellow circle means that the letter is correct but in the wrong position, wrong letters of course are letters with nothing around them.

The team lost control if they don't guess the word in five turns, guess a word that doesn't fit (shorter or longer than five letters), is not a real word, misspell a word, guess a word that can only be a proper noun, or just plain run out of time. If anyone of those things happen, the opposing team gets a shot at the word. When stealing, a free letter was given (in this version it was referred to as a clue letter), but if there's only one blank space left, no free letter was given, but the team did get a five second conference (conferring was generally not allowed except in this situation).

Once the word was guessed, the team who solved that word won that word; and if the team in control guessed the word on the first try, they won $1,000.

The team with a correct guess, also earned the right to pull out two lingo balls out of a hopper in front of them. Eighteen of the balls were printed with the remaining numbers on the lingo card, while three of them were red balls. If and when a contestant on the controlling team pulled out a number ball, the number was marked off the board; but if a red ball was pulled, the team lost their turn. But if they didn't pull out a red ball, and if a lingo was not yet achieved, the team took control of the next word.

In addition to the number balls and the red balls, also in the teams' hoppers were prize balls. When pulled out, the team was credited with the prize and got a free draw. When the show started, there were three prize balls; pulling out one ball was worth $250 in traveler's checks, pulling out another also played for a trip, and there was also one special ball called the jackpot ball, which played for a Lingo Jackpot which started at $1,000 and grew by $500 for every game in which the jackpot was not won. Later there were only two prize balls in the hopper; one was worth a trip, the other was the jackpot ball. And finally, offering a trip was no more, but the jackpot was still in play. To win the jackpot that time around, the team must pull out both prize balls. Prizes pulled out by the team in control was theirs if they win the game.

The first team to make lingo (five in a row) wins the game and $250 plus all the prizes credited.

No Lingo (Bonus Round)Edit

The winning team played a bonus round called No Lingo, so called because the object of the game was to not lingo and win a grand cash prize. To start the winning team was shown a lingo card with the even numbers, and sixteen numbers instead of seven were crossed off & arranged in a star shape with the center number (usually the free space spot in regular bingo) left uncovered. The winning team was given house money to start, and then was shown a five letter mystery word but with two letters revealed at the start (one was as usual the first, and the other was in anyone of the remaining four spaces). As always, the team had five chances to guess the word. Conferring was always allowed in this round. Each chance increased the danger of making lingo, because if they guessed the word, they receive the number of draws according to how many chances it took to guess the word, and missing the word entirely earned seven pulls. The hopper in front of the team consisted of all the bingo even numbers (2 though 74) printed on the balls, plus one very special ball, "The Gold Ball". On each draw, if the number they drew appeared on the board, that number was covered up, but if the number pulled out was a number not showing on the board, nothing happens they just simply drew again. If the winning team survived all the pulls without making a lingo, they doubled their cash, and if they pulled out the gold ball, their money was doubled instantly, plus the gold ball was put back into the hopper (unlike the number balls which were always discarded when pulled out).

After each successful round, the winning team can choose to either take the money and quit or continue playing knowing that if at anytime a lingo was formed, they lose the money (the winning team even got that option at the start of the No Lingo round, and no team refused to take the challenge). Five words were played in this round, so if the winning team guessed and/or got passed all five words and avoid lingo, they win the maximum grand cash prize. The first trip to No Lingo gave the winning team $500 to start, so winning the No Lingo round was worth $16,000. The second attempt gave the team $1,000 to start making the grand prize $32,000. And making it to No Lingo the third and final time gave the winning team $2,000 to start, for a possible grand total of $64,000. Winning teams stayed on the show until they won three times or defeated once; so the winning team could win up to $112,000 in No Lingo alone.

Format ChangeEdit

In later months of the show, the team that won the main game received money according to how they lingoed. Lingoing vertically or horizontally was worth $500, a lingo that went diagonally won $1,000, and achieving a Double Lingo (two lines that were made using the same number) was worth $2,000. That money became the base amount for No Lingo; so Lingoing vertically or horizontally made the grand prize $16,000, diagonal lingos made the grand prize $32,000, and a Double Lingo went for a $64,000 payoff.

Additionally, there was no limit to how many games a team can win. They simply kept on playing until they lost twice.


Though this version was taped in Canada, it aired in the United States.

This version of Lingo died due to the fact that the show was low on dollars and not many contestants were paid because of it. This version did, however, give way to several foreign versions until at last, fourteen years later, Lingo made its American return.


Ralph Andrews

See AlsoEdit

Lingo (QC) - French language version of Lingo for Quebec