GSN's ready to have a ball with 'Bingo'

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GSN is launching "Bingo America," a new 40-episode half-hour interactive game show series to be hosted by Patrick Duffy.

"Bingo," which hails from Andrew Glassman, the creator/executive producer of ABC's "National Bingo Night," will debut March 31 and air weeknights at 7, with repeats on the weekends at 4:30 p.m.

"Bingo" incorporates elements of a quiz show into the bingo gameplay, with contestants asked to answer trivia questions to "earn" letters when the bingo balls come out.

The show will award cash prizes to the on-air players as well as to viewers.

Viewers will be able to download up to 10 bingo cards a day on GSN.com and then play along with the broadcast. Additionally, viewers will have another chance to cash in during the show's final round, the Bonus Game, where anyone whose "bonus numbers" on their downloaded cards match the numbers selected on-air becomes an instant winner. Fans also will be able to receive "bonus numbers" via text messaging.

"Andrew and his team have created something unique that truly works for all kinds of GSN viewers — traditional game show fans and engaged viewers who want to sit forward and play along for real prizes," GSN senior vp programming Jamie Roberts said.

Glassman said "Bingo America" will be very different from "National Bingo Night," which also allowed viewers to download cards and play along.

"It is based around the same premise of interactivity," he said, "but it is completely different and custom designed for a nightly half-hour strip."

"National Bingo Night" aired in the summer as a weekly one-hour series.

Glassman said that from the get-go, his plan had been "to find multiple outlets" for bingo-themed game shows.

"It has such a broad appeal that there is a smart, fast-paced, nightly format to be had," he said.

The future of "National Bingo Night" at ABC is up in the air. In July, the network picked up the show for a second season, despite low ratings, because of the popularity of its interactive component. There had been a plan for "Bingo" to return as a five-night strip during the week of Dec. 17, but ABC opted to air the new game show "Duel" that week.

There are no immediate plans to bring back the show, but ABC has the option to do so.

Duffy, best known for his roles on "Dallas" and "Step by Step," admits he is a fan of game shows, "especially the classics."

Since "bingo is such a family pastime," Glassman said he was looking for a TV star who is associated with playing good-guy characters.

"Patrick embodies everything we wished for — not only is he television's marquee good-guy leading man, he is also playful and has a great sense of humor," Glassman said.

Production on "Bingo America," which Glassman exec produces through his Glassman Media, starts this week.

Kimberly Nordyke in Las Vegas contributed to this report.
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