The American Bible Challenge
|The American Bible Challenge|
|Presented by||Jeff Foxworthy|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||27|
|Executive producer(s)||Tom Forman
|Running time||42–44 minutes|
Sony Pictures Television
|Original channel||Game Show Network|
|Original run||August 23, 2012– July 17, 2014|
The American Bible Challenge is a Biblical-themed American television game show created by Game Show Network. The series is hosted by Jeff Foxworthy, with Kirk Franklin joining Foxworthy as co-host and announcer in the second season. The series debuted on August 23, 2012.
The game involves three teams consisting of three contestants each answering questions to display their knowledge of the Bible. At the end of the main game, the teams utilize only their strongest contestants to answer questions by themselves without any assistance from their teammates. Once the main game is completed, the two highest-scoring teams compete in a final round with the scores being reset to zero. The remaining teams answer as many questions correctly as possible within one minute; the highest-scoring team from this round wins a $20,000 prize.
The show became GSN's highest rated original program in the history of the network. In 2014, The American Bible Challenge received two Daytime Emmy Award nominations, with the series receiving one for Outstanding Game Show, and Foxworthy receiving the other for Outstanding Game Show Host; however, both the show and Foxworthy lost to Jeopardy! and Steve Harvey (host of Family Feud) respectively.
To begin the game, a category is revealed, and the three teams of three contestants are asked multiple choice questions under that category, with each question having four possible answers. The contestant that buzzes in with the correct answer earns the respective team 100 points; an incorrect answer loses 100 points, and opens up the question to the other teams. Contestants must wait until after the host reads the entire question (including the choices) to buzz in.
Each team then participates in a physical stunt. These stunts involve teams answering questions about Bible characters, with the same set of choices given for each character. For example, in the game "Stick a Fork In It," the teams must use a spoon to catapult a fork into a glass to select their answer. Where teams compete individually, each team is given 60 seconds; occasional games where teams compete at the same time are either untimed (with the first team to complete the game winning) or played in 90 seconds. In all cases, the team that wins the stunt receives 200 points; in case of a tie, each of the teams involved in the tie receives the points. The next round, entitled "Kirk's Righteous Remix", features Grammy Award-winner Kirk Franklin and the choir singing songs relating to various books of the Bible. Each team is then given one question based on an announced subject worth 300 points; no penalty is assessed for an incorrect answer.
The teams then set their strongest respective contestants aside for the final round of main gameplay, entitled "The Chosen Three". These contestants move to an area behind the teams, and cannot participate in this round. The host then asks each team, in turn, a question based on an announced category. Each question in this round is worth 500 points, with no penalty assessed for an incorrect answer. Only the two contestants standing at the podium may confer and answer the question. Two questions are asked to each team in this round. In the "Chosen Three" round, the contestants who were set aside from the previous round stand alone at their podiums, with their teammates standing in the area behind them. The host asks each contestant, in turn, a question with six possible answers, three of which are correct. The contestants then make three selections without conferring with the rest of their respective teams. Each individual correct answer is worth 1,000 points, thus, a total of 3,000 points are available to each team in this round. The two teams with the highest total scores advance to the final round, while the third-place team is eliminated and leaves with $2,500 for their charity.
The Final Revelation
Before this game, entitled "The Final Revelation", scores from the previous rounds are discarded. The host announces the category for the final round, and gives each team a copy of the Bible. The teams then move to a backstage area, and are permitted 10 minutes to study the Bible for information based on that category. In Season 2, while backstage, the teams also have the option to use the YouVersion App of the Bible on an electronic tablet along with the copy of the Bible.
After the 10 minutes are up, the first team comes on-stage, while the second team is placed in a sound-proof booth. The host then asks the team questions from the announced category. Each question is given, in rotation, to one player, who cannot confer with teammates. Both teams play the same set of questions. Each team has a total of 60 seconds to answer as many questions as possible, and the team that answers more questions correctly wins $20,000 for their charity; the runners-up win $5,000 for their charity. Teams that win this round advance to a semi-final game; the winners of that episode advance to the season finale, where team that wins this round wins $100,000 for their charity in addition to all winnings from previous episodes.
Immediately following the first round in season 2, each team had a chance to earn 25 additional points. Before the show, a question was asked to 100 You-Version App users (e.g. "Would you rather fast for 40 days or eat manna for 40 years?"). A question with 3 possible choices was then asked about the percentage of people who answered (e.g. "What percentage said they would rather fast for 40 days than eat manna for 40 years?"). During the break, each team wrote their answer on a tablet computer, and each team that submitted the correct answer earned 25 points. This round was removed from the game in the third season and replaced with another opening round-style game played for ± 100 points a question.
The series began development with production staff approaching Troy Schmidt, a pastor at First Baptist Church in Windermere, Florida, to work as both a writer and a consultant for the show. One of Schmidt's initial roles was to be an "on-camera Bible expert" for the series, one of many aspects of the pilot episode that was rejected by test audiences. GSN was then forced to bring in many new staff members during a six-week period and made various changes to the show's format.
After these changes were made, the test audience became more appreciative of the series, and GSN announced its development to the public at an upfront presentation in New York City on March 21, 2012 for the network's upcoming programming. By this time, a pilot episode had already been shot with American stand-up comedian and television personality Jeff Foxworthy providing the hosting duties for the show. When first asked if he was interested in hosting the show, Foxworthy was hesitant, but was "sold" on hosting the show when he learned that the contestants would be playing for charity rather than on their own behalf. Casting for the series was held in various cities from May to June 2012. On July 7, 2012, GSN confirmed the premiere date of the show as August 23, 2012, alongside the premiere of Beat the Chefs.
The first season of The American Bible Challenge premiered its first of nine episodes August 23, 2012 to an audience of 1.730 million viewers, breaking all previous viewership records for GSN. On October 18, 2012, Team "Judson's Legacy", consisting of married couple Drake and Christina Levasheff of Irvine, California as well as their friend Dean Bobar, were crowned champions of the inaugural season's tournament, winning a total of $140,000 for their charity in honor of the Levasheff's son, Judson, who died of late-onset Krabbe disease, a leukodystrophy. The first season garnered over 13 million total viewers on GSN.
A second nine-episode season of the series was officially announced on October 9, 2012. It was advertised that auditions would be held nationwide in November and December, and that the season would also feature the addition of Franklin to the series. The second season premiered March 21 on GSN and debuted to 1.152 million viewers. On May 23, 2013, Team "Wagner Warriors", consisting of brothers Joshua, Jesse and Daniel Wagner from Owasso and Tulsa, Oklahoma, were crowned champions of the second season, winning a total of $140,000 for Wagner Ministries International. A portion of their winnings was used for the team's involvement in the One Nation One Day nationwide Ministry Event in Honduras in July 2013.
On August 8, 2013, GSN officially announced plans to renew The American Bible Challenge for a third season, with both Foxworthy and Franklin returning as hosts. The third season once again consisted of nine episodes, which began airing May 22, 2014. On July 17, 2014, Team "Bible Belts", consisting of Jonathan King, Matt Phipps and Brad Harris from Otway, Ohio were crowned as the third season's champions, winning a total $140,000 for their charity, "Kicks For Jesus".
Despite breaking many ratings records for GSN, the series has received mixed reviews from critics. David Hinckley of the New York Daily News gave the series a positive review, saying, "Anyone who knows even a little about the Bible will be unable to resist playing along and matching answers with the teams on the screen". In addition, Rebecca Cusey of Patheos argued, "Those that take the Bible as the word of God will enjoy this show". Conversely, Hank Stuever of The Washington Post was critical of the series. Stuever called the show "just as dull as it sounds", and argued that "weariness" could be detected in Foxworthy's hosting.
The American Bible Challenge was also honored with two Emmy Award nominations at the 41st Daytime Emmy Awards in 2014. The series received a nomination for Outstanding Game Show, while Foxworthy received one for Outstanding Game Show Host. However, both the show and Foxworthy lost to Jeopardy! and Steve Harvey of Family Feud respectively.
The premiere episode of The American Bible Challenge debuted on August 23, 2012, breaking all previous viewership records for GSN. The show brought in over 2.3 million total viewers (1.73 million at 8:00pm, 571,000 at 11:00pm) for the night, which was by far the largest in the network's history.
In an effort to promote the show's second season, Schmidt released a study book entitled The American Bible Challenge: A Daily Reader, Volume 1. The book features nine weeks worth of study and questions previously seen on the show. Each day introduces a different lesson and passage of Scripture, with five questions being asked at the end of the day's lesson. In addition to the book, GSN released a mobile game for Facebook, iOS devices, and Android devices, with updates recently added for the series' third season. In 2014, a board game based on the series was released by Talicor.
- Schmidt, Troy (2013). The American Bible Challenge: A Daily Reader, Volume 1. Thomas Nelson, Inc. ISBN 978-0-8499-4755-1.
- The American Bible Challenge. Season 3. Episode 1. May 22, 2014. Game Show Network.
- The American Bible Challenge. Season 2. Episode 1. March 21, 2013. Game Show Network.
- Viviano, JoAnne (May 30, 2014). "Hilliard family to appear on The American Bible Challenge". The Columbus Dispatch. John F. Wolfe. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
- Genzlinger, Neil (December 11, 2012). "A Show Giveth, a Show Taketh: American Bible Challenge Vs. Take It All". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
- "GSN Announces Champions of The American Bible Challenge" (Press release). GSN Corporate. October 19, 2012. Retrieved July 3, 2014.
- Schmidt 2013, pp. xii
- Schmidt 2013, pp. xiii
- "GSN Unveils Its New Programming and Development Slate During Network Upfront Event in New York City" (Press release). GSN Corporate. March 21, 2012. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
- "GSN (Game Show Network) to Pilot The American Bible Challenge". GSN Corporate. January 30, 2012. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
- de Moraes, Lisa (March 21, 2012). "Jeff Foxworthy to host The American Bible Challenge". The Washington Post (Nash Holdings, LLC). Retrieved March 22, 2012.
- Schmidt 2013, pp. x
- Schmidt 2013, pp. xi
- "GSN Wants You for The American Bible Challenge" (Press release). GSN Corporate. May 14, 2012. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
- "GSN Announces Premiere Date for New Original Series" (Press release). GSN Corporate. July 2, 2012. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
- Bibel, Sara (August 24, 2012). "GSN's The American Bible Challenge Debuts as the Network's Number 1 Program of All Time Delivering 2.3 Million Total Viewers". TV by the Numbers. Zap2it. Retrieved August 26, 2012.
- Ward, David (November 16, 2012). "The American Bible Challenge: More than a game". The Deseret News. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
- Smith, Harry (February 13, 2013). "Comedian Jeff Foxworthy turns Bible verses into a hit game show". NBC's Rock Center with Brian Williams. Retrieved February 13, 2013.
- "GSN Renews Hit Original Series The American Bible Challenge for Second Season" (Press release). GSN Corporate. October 9, 2012. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
- "GSN is Now Casting for the Second Season of The American Bible Challenge" (Press release). GSN Corporate. October 31, 2012. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
- "Nine-Time Grammy Winner Kirk Franklin Joins The American Bible Challenge on GSN" (Press release). GSN Corporate. January 18, 2013. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
- "GSN Announces the Season Two Champions of The American Bible Challenge" (Press release). GSN Corporate. May 24, 2013. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
- "GSN Renews Hit Original Series The American Bible Challenge for Third Season" (Press release). GSN Corporate. August 8, 2013. Retrieved August 21, 2013.
- "Otway, Ohio Team Becomes Season Three Champions of GSN's The American Bible Challenge" (Press release). GSN Corporate. July 18, 2014. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
- Hinckley, David (August 23, 2012). "American Bible Challenge, Hosted by Jeff Foxworthy, puts God into Game Shows". New York Daily News. Daily News, L.P. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
- Cusey, Rebecca (August 19, 2012). "Review: Christians will Love The American Bible Challenge". Patheos. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
- Stuever, Hank (August 22, 2012). "On American Bible Challenge, God is in the Details". The Washington Post. Nash Holdings, LLC. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
- Associated Press (May 1, 2014). "Daytime Emmy Nominations Announced: The Young and the Restless leads with 26". New York Daily News. Daily News, L.P. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
- "The Winners for the 41st Annual Daytime Emmy® Awards" (PDF). National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. June 22, 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2014.
- "The American Bible Challenge: A Daily Reader, Volume 1". TheBlaze. March 20, 2013. Retrieved July 3, 2014.
- Bibel, Sara (September 7, 2012). "The American Bible Challenge Game Brings GSN's Record-Breaking Series to Social and Mobile Gamers". TV By the Numbers. Zap2it. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
- "The American Bible Challenge: Goodies". GSNTV. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
- "The American Bible Challenge". Talicor. Retrieved October 20, 2014.