Just as we’re saying goodbye (for now) to the iconic game show “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?”, another influential one is making a comeback – in a slightly new form. The revival of “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” kicks off on Monday June 10th on Nickelodeon.
Nick staple John Cena takes over for Jeff Foxworthy as host, and the cash prize has been downgraded from $1 million to $100,000. BUT it is the top cash prize in Nickelodeon game show history. There are also, of course, all new 5th graders.
The original “5th Grader” aired on FOX from February 2007 to September 2009. In the first “class” was Laura Marano, who had to leave the show midway through the first season to film episodes of FOX comedy “Back to You”, playing daughter Gracie to Pittsburgh TV anchors Chuck Darling (Kelsey Grammer) and Kelly Carr (Patricia Heaton). Marano then went on to the Disney Channel series “Austin & Ally” before shifting into a music career with hits like “Boombox” and “Me”. Most recently, Marano starred in the Netflix rom-com “The Perfect Date”.
“5th Grader” was nominated for the Outstanding Game Show Daytime Emmy in 2010. Foxworthy stuck with the show into two years of syndication, from 2009 to 2011. And he returned in Summer 2015 when FOX briefly brought it back in Primetime. Foxworthy actually received a Daytime Emmy nomination as host of a different program, Game Show Network’s popular “The American Bible Challenge”, in 2014.
I was in 3rd Grade when “5th Grader” began and was definitely “caught up in the craze”, playing board and mobile game versions with family members and friends. Will this generation of elementary school students do the same – on a more family friendly channel? And will they do so during the summer… when most kids don’t want to be thinking about school at all?