Based on the game of charades, and somewhat of a revival of the 1975 Goodson-Todman game show "Showoffs," Body Language replaced Tattletales on the CBS daytime schedule on June 4, 1984. Tom Kennedy hosted as two teams, consisting of a contestant and a celebrity player, played charades to solve a word puzzle to win money.

One team at a time during the main game would play the word puzzle. While one person from the team stood behind the podium (the guesser), the other would act out or give gestures (without speaking) to five words or phrases (that appeared in front of the podium) in 60 seconds. At anytime a contestant could pass on a word and go back to it if time remained.

At the end of 60 seconds, the words or phrases correctly guessed would appear in the corresponding blank spaces in the word puzzle. The word puzzle contained a sentence or question with blank spaces that described a person, place, or thing. There were seven blank spaces in the word puzzle (with two blank spaces that contained words that were left unacted). The person acting as the guesser would have the first attempt at the puzzle. A correct guess would win the contestant money. An incorrect guess would give a player from the other team a chance to solve the puzzle, with a word from a blank space revealed. If the other team guessed the puzzle, they would win the money. The two teams alternated guesses until a correct answer was given. If neither team correctly guessed the puzzle after all seven blank spaces were revealed, the teams' actors would receive one guess each. However, if the actor mentioned the word they were trying to act out during or after the end of 60 seconds, the other team would have the first chance to solve the word puzzle.

The game had two rounds with each team playing once per round. In the first round, the celebrites acted while the contestant guessed. The word puzzle was worth $100. In the second round, the contestants acted while the celebrites guessed with the word puzzles valued at $250. The first team to reach $500 won the game. During the second year of the show, a $500 bonus (not applied toward the score of the game) was awarded to the contestant that correctly guessed all five words within 60 seconds in round two.

If neither team reached $500 after two rounds, two contestants played a playoff word puzzle worth $250. Contestants took turns revealing one of the seven blank spaces until a contestant gave a correct answer. The champion contestant had the option to start or have their opponent start.

Vicki Lawrence helps a confused Tom Kennedy in this hilarious moment!
The winning team played the bonus round, or "The Sweepstakes," in which the celebrity acted out ten words or phrases in 60 seconds. Each correct word was worth $100. At the end of the 60 seconds, a 20 second round was played for a chance to win ten times the amount earned in the first part of the bonus round. The contestant would have to guess three words in 20 seconds. One word guessed won the contestant $1,000, and two words guessed won $2,000, and three words won the contestant ten times the amount won in the first part of the bonus round or a maximum jackpot of $10,000.

On June 10, 1985, the contestant received the option to decide which team member acted and which guessed during the bonus round. Winning contestants returned the next day to play again up to five games without a loss, or until their winnings reached $25,000.

Originally, the losing contestant did not return, but beginning on September 24, 1984, players remained on the show until they lost two games. Additionally, the winnings limit was later increased to $50,000.

Body Language aired at the 4:00pm (eastern) slot on CBS, which ultimately doomed the show. Many local CBS affilates preempted the network feed at that time slot in favor of syndicated programming. In some markets, the local affiliate would tape-delay the show for the next morning, but the ratings didn't compare to the other network daytime shows. CBS canceled Body Language on January 3, 1986, replacing it with a revival of Card Sharks. Additionally, the network switched Card Sharks' timeslot with Press Your Luck's. At the 4:00pm slot, Press Your Luck received the same fate as Body Language did. CBS canceled Press Your Luck in June of 1986 and gave the 4:00pm slot back to the affiliates.

During the run of Body Language, Tom Kennedy hosted another Mark Goodson show, a syndicated version of The Price Is Right. Both shows ended their run in 1986, and Kennedy ended his legendary career as a game show host.


Tom Kennedy

Johnny Olson
Gene Wood
Bob Hilton

Premiere Guests
Vicki Lawrence
Jamie Farr

June 04, 1984
January 03, 1986
(398 Episodes)


September 1984


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