By Grelan Muse Sr.
Inside The Pew
Starting Thursday, May 22, the game show platform will once again be implanted with a dose of the good word. On this day, The American Bible Challenge returns to GSN (Game Show Network) at 8 p.m. EST with host Jeff Foxworthy and newly added co-host Kirk Franklin for another season of quality family entertainment.
The studio-based game features contestants competing against each other by answering questions drawn from the Bible. In addition, the contestants share back-stories about their lives, which is often very interesting and inspiring, and each team plays for their charity of choice.
“I think it’s the only game show ever that’s done that. I think that’s what makes it unique, and to me that’s a big part of the show,” Foxworthy said. “It’s one thing to talk about faith, but when you can see it, when we go in and show what these people are doing in their communities, to me that’s when faith gets interesting, when you can see it in action.”
The American Bible Challenge celebrates the Bible, its teachings, relevance, and place in American culture.
Foxworthy said the success of the show has caught him off guard. At the onset of the game show’s creation, he held the belief that it would have critics from the secular and faith community. In fact, there was no outcry over the show.
“It was such a pleasant surprise, here you’ve got a faith-based show, you’ve got a show about the Bible on a network that’s not a faith-based network and it’s the number one show in the 18-year history of the network. Who saw that coming?” he said.
The comedian lauded the addition of Franklin to the ensemble.
“I think in Season 2, bringing Kirk in was just such a great move. It added so much fun and modern-day relevance to what we were doing.”
Franklin told Inside The Pew at the beginning he didn’t know exactly what he would bring to the show. After learning more about The Challenge, he eventually found his place.
“So I got the call and started finding out more about it. I thought, ‘Okay, well maybe it’ll be cool to work with Jeff and see if there’s a space to try to create something new and try to be a part of something different, Franklin said.
“They allowed me to bring some ideas to the table, and they were really open to those ideas. They thought they were pretty fun. And so I hope I add something that’s kind of fun and entertaining and maybe just try to add a little part that just kind of makes it a little more fun, make it pop a little. I really hope I’m doing that.
Franklin said the show serves many purposes. The American Bible Challenge brings the Bible to life and it crosses racial and generational lines. The show garnered GSN’s highest delivery in its 17 year history; it ranked among the Top 5 cable networks in total viewers, women 25-54 and viewers 25-54 in its time period.
The Christian hip hop of Franklin and Foxworthy’s country influenced humor are solid in this medium.
“It is a great privilege to work with him,” Franklin told Inside The Pew of Foxworthy. “He does things to help other people, like feeding the homeless in Atlanta.”
“I love to watch Kirk. It’s fun for me to have somebody to bounce things off of, because when I ask him something it’s usually going to be a pretty funny answer that I did not see coming. He just brings a whole element of fun to the thing,” Foxworthy said.
The most important aspect Franklin and Foxworthy want to bring to the viewers is to show infiltrate the Word into the minds of the lost and encourage believers to re-connect with Bible.
“I had somebody say to me, “Well, we thought of the Bible as a book of rules and then I’m watching the show and I’m like, ‘well, maybe that’s not right,’” Foxworthy points out. And I said, “No, you know what it actually is? It’s the coolest love story ever written.
“That would be kind of my desire, to take people that maybe had never been exposed to it or had a preconceived notion of what it was about and to go, “You know what? It’s not that at all. It’s very personal. It’s the most personal relationship you ever have.”