TV Review: National Bingo Night

Join us as we explore the first ever attempt to bring bingo to television!

National Bingo Night

Synopsis

Originally an American game show on ABC, National Bingo Night premiered in 2007. It received a mixed critical reception, with a 3 ½ star rating from TV.com. Viewers seemed to either love or hate the programme, a bit like Marmite. The show was soon acquired by GSN where it continued for several more seasons. Later expanding with spin-offs in Australia and India, this short-lived series was eventually cancelled in early 2009.

The rules of the game show were quite unique in that contestants were playing against ‘the house’ (the audience). Episodes were an hour long and divided into three rounds. During these rounds, contestants would participate in stunt games as well as take guesses on the next ball to be drawn from an over-sized bingo drum prop, such as black or red,  higher or lower number in number, or other casino related factors.

If the contestant successfully completed the stunt before anyone in the studio audience called bingo, then the contestant wins one of various prizes, including a holiday, a new car or $50,000 cash. If not, then the audience member who shouted bingo would instead win $5,000.

ProsNational Bingo Night pool table

Including the audience – This show does a brilliant job getting spectators involved. Not only does everyone play, but even at-home viewers have a chance to win some money with GSN website’s printable bingo cards!

Playing the DVD – Set up your very own bingo hall at home with the show’s own interactive DVD, part of a huge series of GSN merchandise.

 

National Bingo Night StageCons

All games are winner-takes-all – This means the non-winning contestants go home empty-handed, but hey, the world can’t be perfect. At least they got their 5 minutes of fame!

Not enough bingo – While the first version of the game show was all about bingo, the remake on GSN mainly just used bingo in the background. We disapprove! A show about bingo, should attempt to actually use bingo.

Scandal!

Over-sized bingo drum

We’ve been yakking on and on about the American version, but it’s actually the Australian show that’s more infamous. Why? Scandal of course! It ran for just 6 episodes before being exposed as rigged! They were busted for cutting out certain bingo balls – with two pieces of evidence to back up the claim.

1. A professional, legit bookie managed to correctly predict the numbers that would be called based off previous episodes. You know what that means? They weren’t using a random number generator!

2. Footage broadcast to thousands of viewers quite clearly showed that the balls called and displayed by the hostess did not at all match those coming down from the bingo tube! Talk about shooting yourself in the foot with that one.

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