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'The American Bible Challenge' is Fun and Inspiring

By Fr. Randy Sly
8/26/2012 (5 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A Great Experience in Bible Facts and Trivia Comes to Network TV

Comedian and author, Jeff Foxworthy hosts this first-ever studio-based game in which contestants compete based on their knowledge of the Bible.  Utilizing current as well as historical references, questions will be drawn from the rich, dense narrative found in the world's best-selling book.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.

Highlights

By Fr. Randy Sly
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
8/26/2012 (5 years ago)

Published in TV

Keywords: American Bible Challenge, Jeff Foxworthy, Game Show Network, Bible, Odyssey,


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - When I was a Protestant pastor, one of the big events in the life of our Youth Group was the annual Bible Bowl competition. Teams from various churches would study hard and "scrimmage" against each other in preparation for the big event - Bible Bowl.

Bible bowl has now come to network TV with the arrival of The American Bible Challenge. The program, hosted by comedian Jeff Foxworthy, who is a committed Christian himself, is the first studio-based game show where contestants face-off concerning their knowledge of the Bible. TABC gives teams of three an opportunity to compete for cash prizes which are awarded to the ministry, charity or non-profit organization of their choice.

According to Maura Dunbar, Executive Vice-President and Chief Content Officer for Odyssey Networks, Foxworthy was the at the top of the wish list for the host. Dunbar, a production consultant for TABC, stated, 'In addition to being a fine comedian, he is well-established as a host for the show "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?' and knows how to work within a game show format. But, most importantly, he is a committed Christian."

"The authenticity of his walk of faith comes through in the show; he has a respect and love for the underlying content as well as a respect and a connection to it. That also allows him to forge a relationship with the contestants."

 When asked about his involvement in the show, Foxworthy stated, "I am excited to be hosting a show about the bestselling book of all time. It will be interesting to find out what people really know, and an opportunity to present the Bible in a fun and entertaining way."

One of the most refreshing characteristics of the show is the fact that the teams are playing for their favorite charity or ministry, not themselves. When they get excited about winning prize money, they are really celebrating the fact that a ministry is going to be financially blessed.

Dunbar stated that this is a concept that Odyssey has been trying to bring to network television for the past five years.

"The great people at Game Show Network saw that and the potential in a show like this. Nothing like this had been done before and they were willing to really take a risk."

Not only does the charity benefit from the winnings, but also each one is featured at the beginning of the program as the teams are introduced. In addition, while one team walks away the winner, everyone really wins as the other competing teams also take home funds that are donated to the charity or ministry.

The one episode I was able to watch featured contestants from the protestant Evangelical world. I asked Dunbar if they were going to include Catholic teams.

"We are the largest multi-faith media company in the country so we are all about inclusion. We talked about that as an important factor at the Game Show Network. While there are a number of denominational groups, I believe there is a Catholic team that is playing."

Leticia Velasquez, of Catholic Media Review, gives the show a strong endorsement.

"Jeff Foxworthy is a funny and engaging host to this contagiously cheerful show. His homespun humor is the perfect fit for a game show in which three teams who are winning money for their favorite charity answer increasingly difficult questions from both Old and New Testaments. My girls and I were shouting out answers to questions on Noah's Ark in the beginning, and scratching our heads at the obscure names in the final round on 'Women in the Bible.'

"The show features an exciting format and set, and a dynamic Gospel choir which opens and closes each segment with old favorites like 'Amazing Grace' and 'Amen.' Even though some teams earn less, in 'The American Bible Challenge' everyone, including the audience, come out winners!!"

The American Bible Challenge premieres on Thursday, August 23 at 8 pm ET / 7:00pm CT on the Game Show Network.

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Father Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online and a priest with the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter established by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, through the Apostolic Constitution "Anglicanorum Coetibus."

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