SANTA MONICA, Calif. The Scriptures took center stage on the GSN network with its Aug. 23 debut of "The American Bible Challenge," an original one-hour game show hosted by comedian Jeff Foxworthy.
The show debuted as the No. 1 program ever on GSN, breaking the previous record by more than half a million. The new series also ranked among the top five cable networks in total viewers, women 25 to 54 and viewers 25 to 54 in its time period.
"The best-selling book of all time is now GSN's most viewed program of all time, which proves that consumers are yearning for fun, family- friendly entertainment," said Amy Introcaso-Davis, executive vice president of programming and development for GSN. "We are incredibly proud of this show and are happy that it connected with so many viewers."
The show features 18 three-member teams who face off on their knowledge of the Bible as they earn money for charity. During the first six episodes, three teams will compete for the right to move on to semi-final and final competitions.
"It's just cool seeing people come and, within the course of an hour, win money to help change someone else's life," Foxworthy said on the game's website. "That's a neat thing to be a part of."
Foxworthy, who gained fame as the redneck comedian, is a committed Christian who serves as a small group leader at his church and volunteers with Young Life. He has also hosted a variety of shows including "The Jeff Foxworthy Show," "Blue Collar TV" and "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?"
The show uses current as well as historical references, and "questions will be drawn from the rich, dense narrative found in the world's best-selling book. The contestants will share their compelling back stories, and each team will be playing for a charitable organization."
Jonathan Bock, founder of Grace Hill Mediawhich is promoting the seriessaid it is vital that the Christian community continues to support the show, and by doing so it will encourage producers to invest in other Christian-themed programming. He likened it to getting your voice heard by voting. In addition to offering family friendly shows, the game offers a time for the gospel to be shared in primetime. It airs at 8 p.m. PDT Thursdays.
"How can we not enthusiastically support this show and make it a big hit?" said Bock, founder of the new As1 movement to bolster Christians as patrons of the arts. The group released a YouTube video Aug. 14 urging Christians to support the program.
California boasts eightnearly half of the teams. The teams and their charities are as follows: The Boys Next Door, Pasadena, Oasis USA, which works to end human trafficking; Team Drama Mamas, Sacramento, Locks of Love, which provides hairpieces to children suffering from long-term medical hair loss; Team Firefighters, Los Angeles, The Saint Baldrick's Foundation, a volunteer-driven charity that funds research to find cures for childhood cancers; The Food Fighters, Sacramento, Foodlink Inc., a hunger organization; Team Judson's Legacy, Orange County, Hunter's Hope, an organization that raises awareness of Krabbe Disease; Team Reborn, Los Angeles, the Black AIDS Institute, which focuses on AIDS in the black community; Team Sizzling Seeleys, Sacramento, Royal Family Kids Camp, for foster kids; and The Suburban Saints, Sacramento, City Crossroads, a nonprofit serving Sacramento.
Officials with the station, formerly known as the Game Show Network, said the show represents a "broader programming strategy of game-based series that reflect the core attributes of the brand." It has more than 75 million subscribers on its television network and online site.
The network said that "The American Bible Challenge" is the first of its "Shiny Floor Game" categorycontemporary studio-based game shows that focus on themes prevalent in pop culture. Its executive producers are RelativityREAL's Tom Forman of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" and Embassy Row's Michael Davies of "The Newlywed Game" and "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire." Nick Stuart and Maura Dunbar of Odyssey Networks are consulting producers.For more information, visit www.gsntv.com. The YouTube video can be seen by searching "The American Bible Challenge."