|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2010)|
|Created by||Andrew Glassman|
|Presented by||Patrick Duffy (S1)
|Starring||Crystal Wallasch (S1)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||105|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Original run||March 31, 2008 – January 2, 2009|
|Preceded by||National Bingo Night|
Bingo America is an American game show airing on Game Show Network that follows two contestants as they try to compete to win up to $100,000, as well as letting at-home viewers print bingo cards at GSN.com that allow them to play along with the show to win money.
Created and produced by veteran television producer Andrew Glassman, the show was originally hosted by Patrick Duffy and Crystal Wallasch. When its second season premiered on October 6, 2008, they were replaced by Richard Karn and Diane Mizota, respectively.
Two contestants compete. On each turn, a Bingo ball comes out of the hopper and a question is asked. Each ball has a number from 1 to 75 and a letter in the word "BINGO" printed on it. If the question is answered correctly, the player earns the letter from that ball and the number on the ball is added in dollars to the bank, which starts each day at $500 (e.g., if G-50 comes out, the pot increases by $50). If the letter is a duplicate already earned by the player, no extra letters are earned. The first player that spells out BINGO from the earned letters wins the game.
Two regular games are played. If a player wins both games, they win the match and receive all the money in the bank. The winner then plays the Bingo Bonus Board.
If time runs short during a game they go to the 50/50 round. In the 50/50 round the remaining questions of that game are asked in a multiple-choice fashion, with two possible answers given. If a player answers incorrectly at this point, credit for the question (and the given letter, if applicable) is automatically given to his or her opponent, but no money will be added to the bank for that question (in the earliest-taped episodes, money was still added to the bank even if a player got a question by default).
For the sponsored weeks of the show's run, a Free-Space Ball with the sponsors’ logo acts as a wild card in the regular game. The player who answers a question correctly when that ball is rolled out can choose any letter, and $100 is added to the bank. Sponsors for season 1 included MoneyGram, Maxwell House, and Quilted Northern, whilst sponsors for season 2 include MoneyGram, Raisin Bran Crunch, and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!.
If the match is tied after two games, a five-question tie-breaker game is played. The first question's answer begins with a B, the second question's answer starts with I, and so on. The first to answer three questions correctly wins the money in the bank and goes on to play the Bingo Bonus Board for a chance at $100,000.
Bingo Bonus Board
The winner of the main game plays the Bingo Bonus Board, which used two different formats. In the first season of the show, each number on the Bingo Bonus Board represented a cash amount or a prize, ranging anywhere from a junk prize (labeled "FUN", which could be either a supply of Pink's hot dogs or a pet rock), up to a grand prize of $100,000 cash. Every prize was repeated at least twice on the board. The player chose one number at a time, and won the first prize to be revealed twice.
Marine John Stefan was the only contestant to win $100,000 under this format, and finished with a grand total of $101,447 on the April 11, 2008 episode.
In the second season, 55 of the 75 spaces concealed cash values, while 20 hid "wrecking balls." The contestant started with the "B" row (the only row without wrecking balls) and selected a number in that row. After each selection, the player could leave the game with the money already won or risk their winnings and continue with a selection in the next row. If a wrecking ball was chosen, the game ended and the player lost the money accumulated in the bonus round.
Originally, there was just one wrecking ball in the I row, three in the N row, six on the G row and ten on the O row; this was later changed to two on the I row, four on the N row, six on the G row and eight on the O row (a few other episodes had a 1-2-5-12 format).
Contestants who made five successful picks kept all of their accumulated bonus money and activated the Bingo Sphere one more time for the Superball. If one of the contestant's five chosen bonus numbers matched the one on the Superball, their bonus round winnings were augmented to $100,000.
John Hanlin was the only player to win the top prize under this format on October 22, 2008. Hanlin's grand total was $101,331.
Audience and home viewer gameplay
During the second season, audience members play a more active role in the show as each audience member is given a corresponding Bingo ball number T-shirt that is connected to one of the two in-show contestants. If an audience members' designated number is called and the in-show contestant answers the corresponding trivia question correctly, the audience member joins that contestant's team (shown by putting on either a red cap or blue cap, depending on the contestant's color.) If that contestant goes on to win the round, the audience member receives a copy of the Bingo America DVD Game along with $25. The audience participation aspect of Bingo America debuted during the April 18, 2008 episode of Season One.
At-home viewers are also allowed to play along with the show by printing out bingo cards available at GSN.com. GSN characterizes the play-at-home portion as an "instant win sweepstakes". Once the taping of the show is complete and all of the randomly drawn numbers have been recorded, a computer generates thousands of bingo cards. In all, 100 winning cards are created that viewers can then download and print for the broadcast of the show a few weeks later. To win, players mark every number on their card that is announced during the show. The host repeats the numbers throughout the show and when a player gets a "Bingo", they are directed to GSN.com to claim their prize.
All winning players earn $50 except for select promotional "Winner Wednesdays" where the amount increases for some lucky winners. In Season One, GSN held a Tax Day promotion that raised the prize amount to $100. GSN also awarded $100 to lucky winners on the second night of the show as a way of giving back to fans after GSN.com experienced unexpectedly high traffic during the show's second airing.
At-home viewers can earn an instant win if the in-show contestant selects both of their "Bingo Bonus Numbers" during the "Bingo Bonus Round." The Superball from season 2 applies to the Bonus Numbers, as well, if it is not a winning number.
GSN does not place winning numbers on its website after the airing of the episode, unlike its predecessor, National Bingo Night.
- National Bingo Night (U.S. game show) (original version)
- National Bingo Night (for list of all versions)