Quick Reviews of "Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?" (2015) and "Bullseye" (FOX Version)

Early last week, FOX debuted two new game shows to add to the network’s summer primetime lineup: the return of Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? and the series premiere of the new competition series, Bullseye with hosts Kellan Lutz and comedian Godfrey. Today’s article will briefly review both new shows and whether or not both shows will be good enough to be renewed in 2016. If you have yet to see the premiere episodes of 5th Grader or Bullseye, click on the links to watch the full shows on FOX.com. First, we’ll take a look at Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?. Now in its fourth season, the revived series’ rules are essentially the same: a contestant must answer 10 questions correctly, which vary in difficulty from 1st grade to 5th grade. If they make through the first 10 questions, the contestant will have a chance to answer one final 6th grade question worth $1 million if correct,

When the original version aired on FOX in 2007, I didn’t care for Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader much. Once the show moved to syndication in 2009, I slowly, yet reluctantly, became a fan. While I was watching the premiere episode of FOX’s revival of 5th Grader, that fleeting feeling disappeared and I remembered why I disliked the show when it originally aired on the network eight years ago – it’s still nothing more than a dumb-downed version of Millionaire. The elements that make this show another Millionaire-ripoff are still there including the three “helps”, the million-dollar money ladder and the $25,000 guaranteed money milestone. To make matters worse, the “spoiler” teasers shown at the top of the show and prior to the commercial breaks and the canned audience applause and laughter audio tracks that have been edited into each episode have also been carried over into this version. At least when 5th Grader moved to syndication, the show became its own under the revised format featuring the Bonus 5th grade Question worth 10x the contestant’s bank. Although I still don’t care for the original primetime format, 5th Grader has a few redeeming qualities including the fun and light-hearted atmosphere, an excellent host in Jeff Foxworthy adding the right amount of suspense and drama in each game, the upgraded set, the excellent cast of classmates and the new features such as the 6th Grade Million Dollar Question and the creative profile pages created for each classmate highlighting some of their interests and favorite subjects.

Even with the improved set and new cast of smart students, 5th Grader is still the same game show that gives away hundreds of thousands of dollars for knowing the answers to elementary/early middle school questions. During the show’s first season, 5th Grader became an instant hit by averaging 12.7 million viewers per episode, including the March 1, 2007 “official” series premiere that attracted a staggering 26.6 million viewers. The revived series will be lucky if they received that many viewers throughout the whole season considering Tuesday’s episode averaged only 3.3 million viewers. I believe FOX’s revival of 5th Grader will be one-and-done by the season’s end. It just doesn’t have the same “wow” factor it did when it first hit the airwaves during the late 2000s.

Set Design- 9
Gameplay- 6
Show Flow- 6
Potential Viewer Ratings- 6
Play-Along Factor- 10
Host- 9
Overall Rating- 7.7

Quick Review of “Bullseye” 

The following night, FOX debuted its new competition game show, Bullseye. The show has eight contestants (four women and four men) compete in a series of three extreme elimination rounds to test their accuracy, agility and speed. The last contestant standing at the end of the third stunt wins $50,000. It’s as simple as that.

For the past few decades, FOX has been notoriously known for shamelessly ripping-off television formats which resulted in a watered-down and lackluster final product including It’s Your Chance of a Lifetime in 2000, The Chamber in 2002 and The Choice in 2012. After watching the premiere episode, Bullseye unfortunately falls in that category. This series is very similar to Fear Factor (sans the fear element) including the action-packed, adrenaline-filled stunts, the three round format, the $50,000 grand prize and even down to the host highlighting the winner’s accomplishments throughout the game at the end of the show. The only differences between this show and Fear Factor are the increased number of contestants competing in each show, the second round not involving gross challenges and the addition of the seemingly unnecessary co-host, even though Godfrey’s amiable and comical personality balances Kellan Lutz’s average hosting abilities.

I believe one of the only reason FOX introduced Bullseye to its network is to attract the fans who might be awaiting the return of ABC’s Wipeout with FOX having to actively compete against the show. With this in mind, I don’t see Bullseye becoming a summer staple for the network and will only last for one season.

Set Design- 10
Gameplay- 7
Show Flow- 6
Potential Viewer Ratings- 7
Play-Along Factor- 1
Hosts- 7
Overall Rating- 6.3

Stay tuned for new episodes of Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? and Bullseye every Tuesday at 8:00pm ET and every Wednesday at 9:00pm ET, respectively!
**All screenshots have been taken from the actual episodes of Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? and Bullseye. No ownership is implied.**
Additional Sources: Entertainment Weekly, LA Times

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