I love quiz shows. Grew up on ’em, really. As a preschooler, I played at my mother’s feet while she watched Jeopardy!. In my teen years, when my friends were doing their homework with music in the background, I often did mine to the sound of bells, buzzers and hysterical housewives. You might ask, “Was concentration a problem?” No. Actually I was very good at Concentration. Also Family Feud, The Joker’s Wild, High Rollers and The Price Is Right.
Seriously, though, aren’t game shows a blast? Have you ever dreamt of being a contestant (or actually done it)? How about hosting one? I can’t imagine too many jobs cooler than chatting with enthusiastic strangers and giving away lots of money.
As much as I enjoy quiz shows in general, Jeopardy! is my favorite. After all, how often can you watch 30 minutes of TV these days and walk away feeling smarter for the experience? It’s also a program the whole family can share together. In my home, we always sit up a little straighter when Alex Trebek introduces a Bible category. So you can imagine my reaction when GSN announced it was creating The American Bible Challenge, a game show based entirely on Scripture.
Have you seen it yet? It’s part quiz show, part heart-tugging reality TV as three-person teams play on behalf of their favorite charities. We get to know the contestants and their causes before host Jeff Foxworthy puts them to the test. The questions start out really easy (perfect for kids) and get more challenging as the show moves along. Meanwhile, the producers keep things light. Foxworthy’s good-ol’-boy humor gets an assist from fun categories such as “Word of the Lord or Lord of the Rings?” Viewers made the premiere the biggest GSN debut ever, and The American Bible Challenge ranked among the Top 5 cable shows in its time period. If you’ve seen the show, I’d love to know what you think. If you haven’t, it airs Thursday nights at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. CT).
OK, now I’m in the mood for a little Q&A. Are you ready to have your brain teased? Here are 10 questions (some more trivial than others) sure to test your knowledge of game shows, past and present:
1. Alex Trebek has made a comfortable living hosting Jeopardy!—a gig he’s held since 1984. But who was the show’s original host, further immortalized in a song parody by Weird Al Yankovic?
2. One of actress Kirstie Alley’s earliest TV appearances was in 1979 as a contestant on what Gene Rayburn-helmed, fill-in-the-blank quiz show? (Clips available on YouTube!)
3. Which Oscar-nominated film explored the genre’s most notorious scandal, a prime-time ruse in the late 1950s that involved contestants receiving the answers in advance?
4. What young actor, currently a regular on Focus on the Family’s popular audio drama Adventures in Odyssey, was a panelist on Jeff Foxworthy’s previous quiz show, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?
5. The classic series Beat the Clock involved contestants attempting to perform stunts in a specified amount of time. It no doubt inspired which modern hit, hosted by Guy Fieri?
6. Years ago, Focus on the Family founder Dr. James Dobson and his wife, Shirley, won an appliance on which game show that pulled its costumed contestants from the audience?
7. Steve Martin, Gilda Radner and John Belushi competed against the Coneheads in a Saturday Night Live send-up of what long-running quiz show?
8. Believe it or not, Wheel of Fortune existed before it starred Pat Sajak and Vanna White. What future Love Connection honcho hosted from 1975-1982, and who turned letters for him?
9. Can you guess which author and former Plugged In editor (listed on our website’s “About Us” page) was a bona fide Jeopardy! champion in the early ’90s?
10. What short-lived Fox series shredded people’s reputations by first interrogating them with a polygraph, then revisiting those incriminating questions on national TV as mortified loved ones looked on?
How did you do? Once you’re ready to check your answers, just click here.
I’ll admit, a few of those were pretty tough, even with the help of Wikipedia. C’mon, admit it, you peeked. That’s OK, it’s just for fun. No cash. No prizes. No case of Turtle Wax or year’s supply of Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco treat. It’s simply a chance to embrace a challenge and learn something new along the way. And isn’t that really what game shows are all about?