When “Bingo!” was imported to the U.S. from Europe about 80 years ago, the 500-year-old game of chance was called “beano” and was played with numbered discs drawn from cigar boxes. In the latest twist, viewers of a new game show hosted by Patrick Duffy of “Dallas” fame can win cash at home playing along with cards downloaded from the Game Show Network’s Web site.
“It’s a very strange way to do a game show because it involves people who watch between their toes at home,” Duffy told TODAY’s Al Roker on Monday. “It allows people in their homes to play the game. They can actually get a card, download at gsn.com, and play along. If they win, they get 50 bucks.”
Every weeknight starting tonight, an in-studio contestant will have a chance to win $100,000 and other prizes if they can successfully answer questions to earn Bingo balls. Al Roker correclty answered “Macarena” to a sample question about the 1990s dance craze started by the Los Del Rios song, and was awarded the O-62 ball.
Duffy, a diverse actor who rose to stardom playing Bobby Ewing on the long-running primetime drama “Dallas,” said the viewers playing at home will love the interactive format and the chance to win real money.
“That’s really where the game, I think, gets its energy—knowing that all of those people at home are playing along,” Duffy said. “A lot of money passes hands. And at the very end we eliminate a bunch of people, and one person gets a chance to win $100,000 every show. It’s very cool.”
Roker noted that Duffy’s new career as a game show host is a long way from his character on “Dallas.” Duffy joked that he cannot touch “the girls” on his game show, and quickly pointed out that he was joking for the benefit of his wife, Carlyn.
Duffy originally planned to be an architect, but a high school drama teacher pushed him toward the arts. In 1976, Duffy landed the role of Mark Harris in the TV series “The Man from Atlantis,” but he is best known for his role on “Dallas,” which ran from 1978-1991.
In 1991, shortly after “Dallas” ended, Duffy starred alongside Suzanne Somers as Frank Lambert on the ABC hit series, “Step by Step.” In 2006, he joined the daytime drama, “The Bold and the Beautiful” as Stephen Logan Sr.
Duffy’s sons are both following his footsteps. Conor Duffy, is an actor. Padraic Duffy, a playwright, wrote a new musical called “Beaverquest,” which Patrick Duffy shamelessly plugged by wearing a bright yellow promotional tee-shirt beneath his blazer.