FOX Develops 'Smarter' Thursday Plan

Viewers anxious to discover if they are, in fact, smarter than a 5th grader will be able to find out on FOX starting at the end of February.

FOX announced on Wednesday (Jan. 31) that Mark Burnett's new game show "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" will begin a six-episode run starting at the end of February, as the network experiments with the quiz format in a number of time periods.

The network will air half-hour episodes starting at 9:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Feb. 27 and Wednesday, Feb. 28 in the cushy post-"American Idol" time periods. "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" will also get a post-"Idol" run with hour-long Thursday episodes on March 1 and March 8 at 9 p.m. The next two weeks, March 15 and March 22, FOX will let the show lead off the night at 8 p.m. If viewers stick around for those last two episodes, you can count on FOX bringing it back.

The show focuses on knowledge that most American adults had at one point, but may have forgotten. Grownups will be quizzed on subjects they would have studied in grade school, with questions coming from actual 1st grade through 5th grade math, science, history and geography text books. If the adults are stumped, there's some provision for them to cheat and ask actual grade-schoolers the answer.

"Whereas most game shows in an odd way measure how smart you are, our contestants are going to be measured about how dumb they are," FOX Entertainment President Peter Liguori boasted to reporters earlier this month. "These are going to be questions you might ask your kids, where they will rattle off an answer like that, but given how distant we are from a 5th grade education, actually wind up being a bit tougher. We've seen the show through a couple of run-throughs. It is very funny. When Mark Burnett wound up pitching this show to each network president, in fact, only one network president left the six questions with money, which I think is a real glaring indictment against the intelligence of the people who sit in front of you here, but it also shows the fun of the show."

In case you're curious, Liguori claims to have been the only network president to have come out on top.

The FOX press release offered a trio of sample questions:

  • In what state is Mount Rushmore located?
  • What are the colors of a rainbow?
  • What are the names of the five Great Lakes?

    So? Are you smarter than a 5th grader?