Will Game Show Network win with Bible trivia?
Comedian Jeff Foxworthy is hosting a new prime-time quiz, the American Bible Challenge, on the Game Show Network. Will a contest based on the world's all-time bestseller draw the same audiences as The Price Is Right, Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune?
The Dallas shopping mall’s atrium was filled with excited hopefuls of all ages. They stood patiently in line, applications in hand, hoping to be the next nationwide TV game show winners.
But on this new show they wouldn’t be answering “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” trivia. Nor would they show off their “Price Is Right” knowledge or their “Don’t Forget the Lyrics” grip on pop music.
They were clutching Bibles, glancing over New Testament flash cards and hoping they would get to appear on what the Game Show Network is taking a big risk on – and what could be America’s next TV phenomenon. With full support from the network’s Sony Corporation owners, GSN is auditioning potential contestants nationwide and has signed on comedian Jeff Foxworthy to host the American Bible Challenge.
Is it a crazy idea? Well, in its 25th season Wheel of Fortune is just a dressed-up children’s game, yet it continues to draw record audiences year after year. The Price Is Right is in its 39th year – little more than a test of how well you’ve kept up with grocery prices – and it’s a money machine for its owners. And Jeopardy? For a quarter century, America has watched geeks and eggheads create correct questions to trivia answers. Yet each of those three shows earns millions in advertising dollars due to the millions of faithful viewers – daily regulars who schedule everything around Drew Carey, Alex Trebeck and Vanna White.
So, reasoned the corporate bigwigs at Sony and GSN, why not a game show built around the bestselling book of all time? More copies of the Bible are in print than any other written work. According to the New York Times, more than 40,000 Bibles are sold daily. Even more are given away daily by such groups as Gideons International and the American Bible Society. The Bible’s continuing sales numbers exceed those of even the most popular novels. Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games – none even come close. “If you want to get at the real best sellers,” said the manager of one of the largest bookstores in New York to a Times reporter, the standout champion of all time is the Bible.