I’ve never cared much for TV game shows. Sure, I’ve caught Pat Sajak on “Wheel of Fortune” and Alex Trebek on “Jeopardy” and Howie Mandel on “Deal or No Deal.” But neither those, nor any other such game shows, were must-see TV for me.
Then, last night, while flipping through channels, I happened upon “The American Bible Challenge,” which made its debut on GSN, the Game Show Network.
Hosted by popular comedian Jeff Foxworthy – whom I didn’t know was such a devoted Christ follower – the show pits three teams of three persons each in a competition in which the team that answers the most Bible trivia is the victor.
It’s exciting, said Foxworthy, “to be hosting a show about the best-selling book of all time.”
His new Bible-themed game show has great production values, with a set and lighting and dramatic background music on a par with such shows as “Deal of No Deal” and “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.”
But unlike “Deal” and “Millionaire,” and every other game show I’ve every seen, the contestants on “American Bible Challenge” compete not to enrich themselves personally, but to win cash for their designated faith-based charity.
There are other ways in which “ABC” – as I choose to refer to my favorite new game show – does things differently than garden-variety game shows.
Like going to each commercial break with praise and worship music, performed by a live choir. And like giving the competing teams 10-minutes of Bible study on the the topic of the “Final Revelation” round (last night, it was “Women of the Bible”), after which the victorious team is crowned.
I frankly don’t expect “ABC” – “Great Fun With the Good Book, it promises viewers” – to find much of an audience among those who don’t have a faith-life. They’ll continue to catch Sajak, and the still-lovely Vanna White. Or Mandel, and his bevy of suitcase-toting models.
But that’s okay. Because there are nearly 250 million Christians out there in viewerland – 43 percent of whom regularly attend church, according to a Gallup poll – who represent a huge potential audience for Foxworthy and “The American Bible Challenge.”
I’m praying that the new Bible-based game show proves successful. For it would further prove to TV executives that there is profit in producing positive, Godly programming.