I recently viewed the pilot episode of GSN's new series The American Bible Challenge, an original one-hour game show hosted by comedian Jeff Foxworthy. It premieres Thursday (Aug. 23) at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
Now, I've only seen one episode, so I may be putting myself out of a limb by declaring that this is the best game show since Jeopardy. But I'll give you a few reasons why this show holds great promise.
First, I must confess, I'm not really a fan of those game shows where people come on down, bouncing around as if they had just discovered the cure for the common cold. My first reaction to such jubilation is always, "Calm down. Breathe. Get a life." But I admit that there have been quiz shows throughout the years that caught my imagination: Password, Match Game, and the aforementioned Jeopardy, just to name a few. I immediately became interested in this new series once I realized that the star of the program was to be the Bible. How cool is that?
The contestants compete based on their knowledge of the Bible. Utilizing current pop culture as well as historical references, questions are drawn from both the Old and New Testaments. And get this: the contestants aren't playing for their own reward, but for others. The money they win goes to their favorite charities.
I'm a fervent believer that we Christians should spend more time in Bible study than in front of the tube. But here's an opportunity where we can be entertained by TV and learn about the Bible at the same time.
As I watched the pilot episode, I quickly found myself enjoying every aspect of the program.
1. This is the first show on a non-Christian cable network that offers the Bible as the focal point of the program.
2. The contestants are playing for a church or charity.
3. There's a joyous atmosphere about the show (at least evidenced by the first episode) that even includes some spirited Gospel music.
4. And then there's the host, Jeff Foxworthy. Jeff, a Christian, is the largest-selling comedy recording artist in history and a multiple Grammy Award nominee. Most famous for his redneck jokes, Foxworthy bases his comedy on observation, as he explores the humor in everyday family interactions and human nature. While I sense Foxworthy and the producers are still feeling their way around this quiz show format, as host he radiates a charm, warmth and sincerity.
But, I guess the real reason I'm declaring this as the best game show since Jeopardy has to do with its presentation of Believers. Far too often Americans get a prejudiced portrait of people of faith via the media. On The American Bible Challenge, we learn of the contestants' compelling backgrounds. These fellow Believers are striving to help their fellow man, not just on this game show, but in their daily lives, and this gives the audience a view seldom seen by way of Hollywood cameras. Here, viewers get to see the human side as well as a revealing look at their religious beliefs. It is great to see Christians put their faith into practice.
The America Bible Challenge airs Thursday nights on GSN. For further information, visit GSN