Host: Jeff Foxworthy
Executive Producer: Mark Burnett
Series Premiere: February 27th, 2007
Airs On: Thursday and Friday nights from 8-9 pm Eastern
Top Prize: $1,000,000
Catch Phrase: "I am not smarter than a 5th grader!"
Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? is a question-based game that challenges adults to think back and remember the lessons they were taught in elementary school. The game takes on a classroom theme, with host Jeff Foxworthy at the head of the class. Five fifth-graders are on hand to help contestants earn high marks and win big money.
The game is played out in a single round made up of ten questions, with only one contestant playing at a time. The atmosphere is relaxed and almost casual, even while the possibility of winning a million dollars hangs in the balance.
How it Works:
The game starts off with ten school subjects shown on the board, with two questions from each grade from one to five. The contestant may choose which questions to answer in any order, based on preference. Each correct answer earns the contestant some cash, with the amounts rising for each consecutive question.
The questions themselves are taken from actual textbooks used in classrooms around the country.
Contestants have the option of quitting the game at any time and taking the money they've earned so far, as long as they haven't locked in their answer to the current question. This remains true up to the final, million-dollar question, at which point the contestant may see the subject category, but not the question itself.
Five fifth-graders sit at school desks to start the game. The contestant selects one classmate to come up and stand at a podium next to her, to help out with answers during the game. All of the kids write down their own answers to each question as the game progresses to both help the contestant and add interest to the game.
After every two questions, the contestant must choose another classmate to come to "the front of the class" and take the podium.
Each contestant gets three "cheats" to be used during the course of the game. The first of these cheats is "Peek," which allows the contestant to see his chosen classmate's answer before locking in his own.
The second cheat is called "Copy," and it allows the contestant to copy his chosen classmate's answer. Using this cheat automatically locks in the answer, and therefore the contestant does not have to option to use another cheat or to walk away and take their winnings so far.
The final cheat is called "Save." If a contestant gets a question incorrect, the chosen classmate can save her as long as the classmate got the correct answer. Each of these three cheats can only be used once.
After clearing the board and answering all of the questions correctly, the contestant faces one final question. No cheats can be used on this question, and once the question itself is revealed the contestant cannot choose to walk away.
If, at any point during the game, the contestant chooses to quit the game, he or she must face the camera and admit, "I am not smarter than a 5th grader!"
Pros and Cons:
Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? has a fun concept, and the classroom theme ties everything together. Foxworthy is warm and funny, just as you'd expect him to be. The kids are bright and add authenticity to the show.
The show ambles along at a sometimes painfully slow pace, with Foxworthy giving contestants quite a long time to consider and then lock in their answers. This gives the show a very relaxed feel, which is sometimes refreshing and at other times frustrating.
Overall, the premise of using questions gleaned from elementary school to stump grown-ups is clever and entertaining. The show is great to play along with, and makes for perfect family viewing.