Born Lucky

Hosted by Bob Goen

Born Lucky


“Born Lucky” was an American television game show that captivated audiences during its run on Lifetime from October 5, 1992, to April 2, 1993. Hosted by Bob Goen and featuring Jonathan Coleman as the announcer, the show offered contestants a unique blend of skill-based challenges and bidding dynamics, all set in the lively backdrop of various shopping malls. Drawing inspiration from the 1989 British game show of the same name hosted by Jeremy Beadle, “Born Lucky” became known for its inventive format, engaging gameplay, and the opportunity for contestants to win $2,000 for a shopping spree at the mall.


The genesis of “Born Lucky” can be traced to the evolving landscape of game shows in the early 1990s. The show emerged as a fresh take on the traditional game show format by incorporating elements of skill-based challenges, bidding strategies, and the excitement of shopping sprees. The decision to set the show in shopping malls added a dynamic and visually appealing element, creating a unique blend of entertainment and competition. Inspired by the success of its British predecessor, the American adaptation sought to capture the spirit of discovery, luck, and skill.

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The gameplay of “Born Lucky” unfolded in three distinctive rounds, each designed to test different aspects of the contestants’ abilities.

The initial phase featured four contestants engaging in a variety of stunts at shopping malls. Stunts ranged from following intricate sequences of commands to navigating mazes with magnets held in their mouths. Each stunt consisted of multiple parts, with contestants earning $10 or $20 for successful completion. The top two scorers advanced to the next round. Regardless of their performance, contestants were rewarded with a prize chosen blindly from a set of cards.

Born Lucky

In the challenge round, the remaining two contestants engaged in a bidding war to determine who would attempt a given stunt. Stunts were set against the ticking clock, with time limits of 30, 45, or 60 seconds. The contestant who successfully completed the stunt within the allotted time won the round, while the opponent moved on.

The winning contestant from the challenge round faced the ultimate opportunity in the bonus round. This round involved a series of five additional stunts to be completed within 90 seconds. The contestant could pass on one stunt, but if time permitted, they had to return to complete the remaining stunt for the coveted $2,000 cash prize. Alternatively, if time constraints prevented the completion of all stunts, the contestant received $100 for each accomplished stunt.

The unique combination of skill-based challenges, bidding strategy, and the chance for a lucrative shopping spree set “Born Lucky” apart from traditional game shows. The format’s success lay in its ability to maintain suspense, offer unexpected twists, and create a dynamic viewing experience.

Legacy and Impact:

While “Born Lucky” had a relatively brief original run, its legacy endures in the annals of game show history.

The show showcased an innovative format that combined elements of skill-based challenges and bidding dynamics, contributing to the evolution of game show concepts.

“Born Lucky” found a second life in television reruns, airing on Lifetime from July 5 to December 31, 1993, and later on PAX TV in 2000.

The choice to set competitions in shopping malls added a visually vibrant and engaging element, contributing to the show’s appeal.

The show played a role in establishing a sub-genre of game shows centered around shopping sprees, influencing subsequent programs.

The inventive format and diverse challenges of “Born Lucky” inspired future game shows to experiment with combining skill-based competitions with unique settings, showcasing the lasting influence of the show’s creative approach.

In conclusion, “Born Lucky” left an indelible mark on the game show landscape, offering a distinctive blend of entertainment, skill-based challenges, and the allure of shopping sprees. Hosted by Bob Goen, the show’s legacy is evident in its innovative format, enduring reruns, and influence on subsequent game shows that continue to explore the boundaries of creativity in the genre.