Television quiz shows surrounding The Bible have been done before, but have often ended up being low-budget affairs that don't end up being that memorable. But what happened when GSN decided to do one of its own? The result was the American Bible Challenge, hosted and produced by comedian and recently unemployed game show host Jeff Foxworthy (for those who don't know, he is a devout Christian) whose recent claims to fame have included assessing adults on their knowledge of grade school subjects.
The show uses a tournament format with teams playing for their respective charity; three teams of three compete in each episode through various rounds of trivia from the Good Book itself to earn progressively increasing values of points. The first round simply involves answering multiple-choice questions from a certain Bible story, while the second round involves answering questions in a novelty category; such as, for instance, "Did this quote come from The Bible or The Lord of the Rings?", analyzing a biblical figure's "Faithbook" page or tweets, and "CSI: Holy Land". For the third round, one contestant in each team is set aside, and the remaining two contestants of each team must answer two multiple-choice questions from a category (the first has 2 choices, the second has 3).
But what happens to the player that each team sets aside? Well, in round 4, they get to play Greed (a.k.a. The Chosen Three). Each player gets a question with 6 choices each; they must, on their own, choose the three correct answers. Each answer is worth a very important 100 points; very important as in only the top two scoring teams at the end of this round advance to the final round! Said round is known as "The Final Revelation"; the two teams get 10 minutes backstage to study the Bible on a revealed category. One team is put in isolation, while the other team gets 60 seconds to correctly answer as many questions in the specified category as possible. The second team then tries to beat their score using the exact same stack of questions; whoever gets more questions correct wins the game. The winner in each episode won $20,000 for their charity, and also advanced into a $100,000 tournament at the end of the season.
Surprisingly for such a niche program on a somewhat niche channel (and we mean that as in, GSN isn't strictly a religious channel either), the premiere of The American Bible Challenge garnered 2.3 million viewers, the largest audience in GSN's history. It also did well enough to earn a second and third season.
Game Show Tropes in use
- Carried by the Host: Jeff Foxworthy's trademark humor shines here just as well as it did on Fifth Grader, though the 2nd round is typically the sillier part of the show due to the themed categories. Also literally, as Foxworthy is also the producer.
- Consolation Prize: Teams eliminated before the final round win $2,500, while losing the Final Revelation earns $5,000.
- Game Show Host: Jeff Foxworthy
- A gospel choir serves as a house band
- Speed Round: The Final Revelation
This series provides examples of
- Every Episode Ending: "If you don't know your Bible, you don't have a prayer!"
- Getting Crap Past the Radar/Meaningful Name: Foxworthy was genuinely confused when he initially misheard the name of the team "Victorious Secret" as "Victoria's Secret"
- Punny Name: A lot of the games have these—Faithbook (Biblical characters' Facebook pages) My Tweet Lord (ditto Twitter tweets), TV God (instead of TV Guide) and so on.
- Rule of Symbolism:
- Each team's podium resembles a giant open bible.
- "The Chosen Three" references not only having 3 contestants and choosing 3 answers, but 3 shows up a lot in the Bible too
- Unexpected Gameplay Change: In what could have been considered a tease at GSN's then-upcoming revival of Minute to Win It, Season 2 started introducing rounds with physical challenges, including building a tower of books with the correct order of certain chapters, and a round that can only be described as Beer Pong meets You Don't Know Jack's "Dis or Dat" rounds (60 seconds, three cups, three answers shared by each question; answer as many questions as possible by trying to bounce a ping-pong ball into the cup for the right answer).