Jewish Journal


June 13, 2012

Does GSN’s ‘American Bible Challenge’ have a prayer?


Jeff Foxworthy, the host of the new GSN show “The American Bible Challenge,” didn’t think you could center a game show around answering Bible trivia. Not sure why not. There is all kinds of good trivia in the Bible, and much of it is a lot harder to recall than you would expect.

Quick: Name the Ten Commandments.

Without Wikipedia, most people can’t (accurately) answer that question. And that’s pretty easy compared to some Old Testament obscurities.

Whether this show will be entertaining, well, that’s another matter that probably depends on structure and the cast of contestants they find.

Rob Kerby at Beliefnet has a long piece looking at the story behind “The American Bible Challenge.” Here’s an excerpt:

the Game Show Network is looking to shake things up. They think they’ve found a vast, untapped market – those millions of viewers who couldn’t care less about pop music or sports trivia, but who can recite the all names of the ancient judges of Israel, can detail the major events in each chapter of the Book of Acts, and without blinking can rattle off the Seven Churches of Revelation’s Chapter 2.

After all, for decades Sunday schools, children’s church, Wednesday night youth groups, church camps and overnight retreats have featured “Bible Bowl,” “Bible Trivia” and “Sword Drill” contests and their many variations.

“A good game show can last for many, many, many decades,” says network executive Bob Boden. “Price is Right is a perfect example. Price is Right’s core skill and core play along value is about what things cost. And everybody, everybody relates to that. That’s a show that can go on forever. They’ve created a variety of game formats within the show — over 70 to date and each one of them is, in and of itself, compelling and engaging. Wheel of Fortune is a very simple game, a childhood game that everybody remembers, hangman, combined with a tremendous spectacle of shopping, winning money. In its current incarnation, big, big prizes for solving puzzles. It’s a show that will be on for quite a long time. Jeopardy is a show that very simply portrays human intelligence and everybody either wants to be smart or thinks they are smart or is enamored by people who are smart.

“And no matter how you watch Jeopardy, whatever of those three ways you watch it, or in a given episode, it could be all three. Family Feud is a show that you cannot help watching without yelling at the TV. You just can’t. Every time a question is asked you have an answer for it and you can’t believe that the people on the show didn’t give your answer.”

The American Bible Challenge has the same potential.

Check the rest out here, and show on GSN later this summer.

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