The Bottom Line
Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? has been reinvented as a half hour, daytime game show. The changes to the game include replacing the money ladder with assigned dollar values for each question, a drop to three kids instead of five, and the requirement that each contestant must play the entire board of questions. The result? A familiar game show that has evolved from a drawn out, hour long snooze-fest into a tightly run quizzer that's much easier to digest.
- Jeff Foxworthy has always been a terrific host for this format.
- The game moves along much faster.
- Contestants now rely more on strategy to maximize their winnings.
- The contestants themselves are more diverse.
- The endgame is such that contestants may be scared to risk their winnings to play it out.
- There are only three 5th graders on hand, rather than five.
- The host, the kids, and the cheats are all still the same.
- The money ladder is gone - instead, each question is assigned a specific dollar amount, from $500 to $5000 each.
- Contestants must answer every question on the board, banking money for correct answers.
- If a question is answered incorrectly, the contestant's bank drops to zero. More cash is added with more correct answers.
- After the initial ten questions, the contestant is offered one last 5th grade question, and given the subject.
- If the contestant opts to try the last question, he risks losing all the money in his bank with an incorrect answer.
- A correct answer on the final question results in a win of ten times the money the contestant banked during the main game.
- If a contestant ends up with no cash, he still walks away with a $2,500 pre-paid credit card.
Guide Review - 'Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?' Moves to Daytime with a New Format
When Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? hit prime time in 2007, the show was a unique twist on the standard quiz show. The questions came straight from fifth grade textbooks, and viewers got a kick out of watching contestants flunk out on stuff that everyone should know.
After three seasons in prime time, the game started to lack a certain something. With a glut of celebrity episodes, a million dollar winner, and a bunch of contestants that just didn't seem to know how to play the game, we were stuck in a rut. Viewership dropped like a stone, and FOX decided to pull the show from its Friday night time slot.
Fortunately, the producers knew that the game itself had potential. On September 21st 2009, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? debuted in syndication as a half hour game show. Rather than a money ladder, the game now assigns money values to each question, starting at $500 for the 1st grade subjects and moving up to $5000 for the 5th grade questions. Contestants must play the entire board, accumulating money in their banks for each right answer. An incorrect answer drops the bank value to zero, but the contestants continue to play until all ten questions have been answered.
Jeff Foxworthy remains the host of the game, and there are now three 5th graders in each episode. The endgame is now a chance to multiply your earnings by ten, with a potential payout of $250,000.
The result of these changes is a sleeker game that moves along much more quickly. Since contestants can no longer walk away with their winnings, viewers are left guessing how they will fare. The play along at home factor is still very much in play, and the kids are still just as dynamic and entertaining as always.
Another positive about this version of the game is the contestants themselves. Rather than the usual prime time "over the top" personalities, we're now seeing a more diverse group of people. From karate instructors to small business owners, the intelligence level seems to have been bumped up a notch.
Even if you grew tired of the game in prime time - and let's face it, most of us did - give this new format a chance. You'll find that the best parts of the original game are still intact, but the manufactured drama and other filler has been stripped away. What we're left with is a fun game show that is easy to play along with, that's just familiar enough to easily get into.
You can catch Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? on local channels (check listings for stations and times), or watch it on CMT in prime time. MyNetwork TV also airs two episodes each Tuesday night, beginning at 8pm Eastern.