As Wordle began to take off over the holidays – with more and more people sharing their yellow, green and gray riddles on social media – several TV fans pointed out that Wordle was very, very familiar.
It’s basically a version of Jargona game show created in 1987, hosted by Michael Regan, the son of the former President of the United States.
The central game involved guessing five-letter words with only five chances. Unlike Wordle, the first letter was provided by the show, but like Wordle, letters that were in the word but in the wrong position were highlighted.
The title, Jargoncomes from how the show combined this pun with bingo, as teams fired balls to try and create bingo lines on a grid of numbers.
Jargon was revived by GSN in 2002, with host Chuck Woolery, and again in 2011, with hosting Bill Engvall.
And now it’s being revived again, this time with RuPaul Charles as host and executive producer.
RuPaul previously appeared on CBS as a judge on Mark Burnett’s disastrous cloning attempt America’s Got Talent, The best in the worldin 2019, and hosted Logo’s Gay Game Show To Play With RuPaulaired from 2016 to 2017.
Was Wordle just Lingo or is it the new Lingo Wordle?
CBS appeared to acknowledge the connection to Wordle in a press release, which quoted CBS executive Mitch Graham as saying:
“We give you a letter, and you can guess the rest! The word game craze is sweeping the nation, and LINGO will provide a fast-paced, fun and addictive show for the whole family. RuPaul’s flair and quick wit, coupled with the ability for viewers to play at home, make for a timely show with broad appeal that we’re excited to join our lineup of networks.
Wordle was recently acquired by New York Times for millions of dollars, in the “lowest seven figures”.
The game show format is owned by All3Media International, which relaunched the show in the UK last year on ITV.
This version had no bingo elements at all. Here is how All3Media describes the format in its catalog:
Do you know your Lingo? “Lingo” is the fast-paced word game that keeps innovating for new audiences, with its mix of skill, tension, humor and the chance to win big cash prizes. Teams compete in a battle to fill in the blanks and find words. Over a series of convincing rounds, the prize money increases, but so does the risk – miss the right word and your opponent can step in and steal a win. The team that won the most money in the first few rounds goes to the End Game and has the chance to increase their winnings, but if they can’t find the words, they could go home with nothing. It’s the perfect family game show, with plenty of play options for the home audience. Lingo was produced for 30-minute and 60-minute time slots. This incredibly flexible format can be adapted to any audience, time slot or budget and is perfect for cross-platform play.
The production companies of the CBS version of Jargon are Objective Media Group America, which produced the TBS shows The cubeand British production company Triple Brew Media, which produced the ITV version.