Checking in with Jeff Foxworthy
Jeff Foxworthy admits that if "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" had been relaunched without him, he "would be offended if anybody else hosted it. It's my baby."
After two previous runs with the Mark Burnett-produced game show -- on Fox (2007-09) and in syndication (2009-11) -- the country-flavored comedian takes it out for another Fox spin starting Tuesday, May 26. The premise remains the same: An adult contestant has to answer grade-school-level questions en route to a possible $1 million prize, with available assistance from several smart youngsters -- and also with frequent musings from amiable host Foxworthy.
"Out of everything I've ever done in television," he says, "people would come up to me every week in the grocery store or somewhere and go, ‘They need to bring the "5th Grader" show back.' You smile and say, ‘Thank you,' but you don't say, ‘That doesn't really happen. People don't bring shows back once they've taken them away.' And then they called me toward the end of last year and said, ‘If we brought this back, would you be interested in hosting?'
" Foxworthy says he and Burnett had tossed the idea around even earlier: "He would say to me, or I would say to him, ‘We need to bring "5th Grader" back.' It was such a great little, simple premise." Initially, Foxworthy scoffed at that premise, until Burnett fully described it ... and the comic replied that it was "brilliant. Everybody's going to think they can do it, and as we found out pretty quickly, not everybody can." "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" also gave Foxworthy a game show-hosting career that he parlayed into "The Great Bible Challenge" and "The American Baking Competition." He reasons, "I enjoy ‘Jeopardy!,' but there are some categories like art or literature where I don't have a chance. Everybody's got a chance in the ‘5th Grader' stuff, and that's what I think makes it fun to play along with at home."
Birthdate: Sept. 6, 1958
Birthplace and current residence: Atlanta
Marital status: Married; has two daughters
Comedy albums include: "The Idiots: Whirled Tour," "Have Your Loved Ones Spayed or Neutered," "Big Funny," "Totally Committed," "Crank It Up: The Music Album," "Games Rednecks Play," "You Might Be a Redneck If ..." Books include: "You Might Be a Redneck If ... ," "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem!," "The Redneck Grill," "Redneck Extreme Mobile Home Makeover," "Jeff Foxworthy's Redneck Dictionary: Words You Thought You Knew the Meaning Of," "Jeff Foxworthy's Redneck Dictionary II: More Words You Thought You Knew the Meaning Of," "Jeff Foxworthy's Redneck Dictionary III: Learning to Talk More Gooder Fastly," "Rednecks in College," "Dirt on My Shirt," "Silly Street," "Hide!!!," "How to Really Stink at Golf," "How to Really Stink at Work: A Guide to Making Yourself Fire-Proof While Having the Most Fun Possible"