Rapid Review: Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader (2019 Nickelodeon Revival)

Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader returned this week with new episodes airing weekdays at 7:00pm ET on Nickelodeon.

Making its second comeback in four years, this 5th Grader reboot has contestants attempt to climb the money ladder from $250-$10,000 ($250-$500-$1,000-$2,500-$5,000-$10,000) by answering one 1st and 2nd grade question and two 3rd and 4th grade questions in the front game. Contestants move up the ladder with each correct answer and incorrect answers eliminate the contestants’ chances of winning the biggest money amount on the ladder. They may also use a Peek and Save cheats to respectively look at what the students answered and hope they answered correctly to keep them on the right track to big money.

At the end of the main game, contestants play the all-new bonus round where they will have 60 seconds to answer five 5th grade questions with an opportunity to ask a student for a Final Cheat on any question. The ladder progression is the same with the exception of the dollar values being replaced by multipliers (x2-x3-x4-x5-x10). A perfect game nets the contestant $100,000.

This version of Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader is quite remarkable for several reasons: similar to Lingo, Press Your Luck and Match Game, this is the third incarnation of the series; the introduction of a new format which includes a timed speed round, it features the largest prize on a Nickelodeon game show with a maximum of $100,000 at stake, it’s first time we will see exclusively adults compete on a Nickelodeon game show and it’s John Cena’s first time stepping into the ring as a game show host.

Out of 5th Grader’s three formats – the FOX version, the syndicated version and the current 2019 Nickelodeon version – the Nickelodeon version is my second favorite (outside of the syndicated version) because of the newly-added speed round which makes the game more interesting and slightly more intense and because it doesn’t come off as a Millionaire knockoff as in the original series when it debuted in 2007. It makes the seemingly simple elementary school-level questions that much more difficult under the pressures of the limited minute-long time constraint. This edition of 5th Grader also features brief profiles of students to give the viewers and contestants a little glimpse into their strongest subjects and fun facts about them that makes them unique.

As host, John Cena was a fantastic choice by Nickelodeon to front this reboot formerly emceed by Jeff Foxworthy. Even though I’m not a WWE fan, I am a fan of Cena because of his upbeat, vivacious and outgoing personality – which is perfect for a show like 5th Grader. He interacts incredibly well with the contestants and the resident students on the show and always finds ways to keep them engaged and interested in the game such as getting the kids to dance onstage and demonstrate their hobbies to the instrumental tune of Cena’s iconic theme music My Time Is Now.

This is another great revival of the once-popular primetime game show. This was a great move by the network to not only add this entertaining series to its weekday lineup for families to enjoy and opting for the half-hour format in lieu of an hourlong show, but also getting Cena involved with another Nickelodeon game show as he also serves as the executive producer of the U.S. adaptation of the messy obstacle game show Keep It Spotless, based off the 2015 ITV game show Spotless.

Rapid Review Score: 9/10

Prediction: Earns a passing grade for a second season

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