Bingo On Television


Since the early days of television, many different networks have taken a stab at television bingo programs, with very little success. That is, there was little success until recently. While early attempts at interactive television bingo games were usually scrapped pretty quickly, there have been a few more recent efforts that have begun to really catch on. In both the United States and the United Kingdom, television bingo is gaining in popularity.

In the UK, Gala TV offers players a chance to play televised bingo nearly all day and night long. Beginning in October of 2006, the Gala Bingo brand began broadcasting live, interactive bingo games on their own Gala TV network. The network features blocks of live bingo games for players who subscribe to the Sky TV services, airing on channel 861. Everything is done through the Sky TV remote, allowing players to kick back and enjoy their game of bingo from home. Gala TV features special guest callers such as Sharon Osbourne to keep these games exciting and players coming back.

Bingo Night Live, on ITV in the UK, debuted on June 4, 2008. This newest program joins other live UK television bingo games that have been popping up over the past few years. BingoJoy runs on Sky channels 158,168 and 200, daily in one to three hour long blocks. BigBoxBingo airs on Fridays on Sky channel 867, with an hour of bingo from 6:30 to 7:30 pm. Programs like these are steadily gaining in popularity and other companies are planning their own versions of televised bingo for the near future.

In the US, the popularity of television bingo games has been a little slower in drawing an audience, however there has been some success seen. In April of 2007, ABC broadcasting company introduced the US to its National Bingo Night program, which seemed to draw some interest in the initial weeks, but could not compete with more popular programming in its timeslot. The show was on the air for six weeks and was then scrapped from the lineup.

The US-based Game Show Network, which is an exclusively cable and satellite television offering, picked up on the National Bingo Night idea, made a few changes and improvements, and ran with it. Their Bingo America program televised its first episode in March of 2008 and has been met with tremendous success. The game is a bit different from its UK counterparts, as the in-studio contestants compete to earn their bingo calls by answering quiz questions, while the home audience plays along, marking their printable cards. The show can been seen on the Game Show Network (GSN) weekdays from 7pm EST and on weekends at 4:30pm EST.

Televised bingo is gaining popularity in both countries, with the viewership growing on a regular basis. There are many reasons why these shows have become so popular, but it can be no coincidence that the popularity has synchronized with the increase of players participating in online bingo. As many of the UK programs are sponsored by online bingo rooms, the partnership of these two gaming outlets will likely help each other to continue to grow.

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