How many episodes were made? Edit
345. There were 20 episodes in Season 1 and 65 episodes in the following five seasons.
Was there a pilot episode? Edit
No. In 2002, producer Phil Gurin told C21 Media that shooting 20 episodes in the Netherlands with Chuck Woolery and American contestants is a superior business tactic than producing a pilot episode because the show is "guranteed a month of eyeballs." This production strategy ended up working to Gurin's advantage, as the Season 1 episodes of Lingo had garned Game Show Network some of its highest ratings up to that point, resulting in the show being renewed for a bigger-budget second season.
The blatantly low production values of this trial run is likely the reason why GSN has only reran a Season 1 episode once since 2005.
How was the hopper reloaded after a team forms a Lingo? Edit
According to a post by Tournament of Champions finalist Josh on The Game Show Forum, a staffer or stagehand removed the tupperware container with the numbers that corresponded to the old Lingo board and attached a new one containing the numbers that would correspond to the contestants' next Lingo board. The contestants were required to turn their backs as this happened.
Why was there such a long gap between Season 3 and Season 4? Edit
According to this site, which may or may not be credible, Chuck was reportedly unhappy with all the hosting priorities that Stacey had during Season 3 and threatened to quit unless he had more hosting duties. The gap was for the sole purpose of allowing Stacey's contract to expire, after which Chuck signed for more seasons. It is rumored that Chuck was partly responsible for selecting Shandi to become the new co-host in Season 4.
It probably didn't help that the interaction between Chuck and Stacey during the show had bordered on flirting at times, which possibly contributed to Chuck's infamous divorce with longtime wife Teri Nelson in 2004.
Gameplay Elements Edit
What happened if a contestant drew a number that was already marked off due to a ? ball? Edit
The contestant simply discarded it and drew again. This was always edited out of the broadcast.
Were the red balls and ? balls restocked after a team got a new Lingo board? Edit
The three red balls (two in Seasons 5 and 6) were always restocked after a Lingo. The three ? balls were only used once, and if a team formed a Lingo before drawing all three, the ? balls that hadn't been drawn yet were carried over into their next hopper.
Did a contestant ever draw a ? ball and opt not to use it on a Lingo-forming number when at least one was available? Edit
It is known to have occurred at least once: On the third-aired (but fourth-produced) episode of Hawaii Week in Season 4 (#3049), contestant Rob drew a ? ball and used it on 41, even though 3 and 45 would have given his team a Lingo. This was clearly done unintentionally, as Rob and his teammate Bishop appeared to realize their error once Chuck recapped the scores afterwards.
What happened if both teams were unable to correctly guess a word within six guesses? Edit
The word was thrown out, with the correct answer being revealed on an extended line a la Bonus Lingo, and a new word was played, with the team who started the previous word beginning with the new one as well. Although this is only known to have been shown on-air twice, occurring on August 9, 2005 (#3003) and on August 10, 2005 (#3004), a blooper montage uploaded to YouTube by Wink Martindale in October 2018 confirmed that the rule was always in place, but to allow more time for gameplay, the thrown-out words were edited out prior to Season 4 (although the practice of showing the thrown-out words on-air was evidently short-lived). This led to an oddity on July 13, 2003 (#1076) where Chuck said "That's the second time you spelled that, Todd" to contestant Todd after he guessed CHAMP in Round 2, even though he hadn't guessed it before in the broadcast, as well as another oddity on the Extreme Dodgeball special from September 27, 2005 (#3054) where contestant Zach Selwyn commented "We've already done an A!" when the first letter was an A in Round 1, even though a word beginning with A hadn't been used yet in the broadcast.
Additionally, words could be thrown out for various other reasons. These include technical difficulties, with one known unaired example occurring on #3049, or, in an unaired incident from February 28, 2003 (#1021) that was later shown and documented on the second episode of Chuck Woolery: Naturally Stoned, the staff being unable to determine if a contestant's guess was a real word.
What happened if Round 1 ended in a tie? Edit
The red team got to play first in Round 2 because the yellow team had begun Round 1.
Chuck never acknowledged this rule in the first two seasons, as he simply said that "[Red Team Member #1] and [Red Team Member #2] are gonna go first," but he began to address the rule in Season 3 whenever it occurred.
What happened if Round 2 ended in a tie? Edit
A seven-letter tiebreaker round was played. In this round, a seven-letter word was first revealed with only the first and seventh letters showing. After five seconds, the second letter in the word was added. After another five seconds, the sixth letter in the word was added. After the next five seconds, the third letter in the word was added, and so on. To win the round, one of the contestants needed to hit their buzzer on the podium and submit the correct word. The team that won the round advanced to Bonus Lingo.
This round was only played when time was running extremely short, and as a result, it was only played three times.
Interestingly enough, the round went through numerous rule changes on each of its three playings. On the first playing on the first January 24, 2003 show (#1023), the first and seventh letters were immediately revealed, the contestants did not have to spell out the words, and an incorrect guess by a contestant temporarily locked out their entire team, thus giving their opponents an extra letter and a free guess. On the second playing on the second August 2, 2005 show (#3007), the first and seventh letters were still immediately revealed, but the contestants must now spell out the words. Due to the round ending after only one guess on this episode, it is unknown if any other rules had been changed by this point. On the third and final playing on May 18, 2006 (#5034), the contestants still had to spell out the words, but the seventh letter was now revealed five seconds after the first letter and the teams no longer appeared to be locked out after a incorrect guess.
In case you're curious, the answers for all three tiebreakers were CURRENT on the first January 24, 2003 show (#1023), FLOWERS on the second August 2, 2005 show (#3007), and COLLEGE on May 18, 2006 (#5034).