Jeff Foxworthy returns with a third season of the American Bible Challenge Thursday May 22nd at 8/7 c on the Game Show Network. The quiz show, which also features gospel music star Kirk Franklin, has been a surprise hit for the network.
Foxworthy talked to us about the changes they've made for the new shows and his respect for the USO.
So are you surprised you're in a third season of American Bible Challenge? Explain the show to our readers who may not know anything about the first two seasons.
Hey, any show that has me on it, I'm surprised there’s a third season. Because early in my career, I did a bunch of them that didn’t last that long. I think they probably approached me initially because of the success of Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader and they said, “Hey, would you be interested in doing a show, kind of like that, but about the Bible?” And you have to go away and think about it. I'm like, I don’t know how I feel about a game show about the Bible. And the thing that I settled on, I went back to them and I said, okay, I'll do it, but nobody can keep the money, because the only people Jesus got sideways with were the Pharisees that had all this head knowledge and no heart knowledge.
Whatever people win, they’ve got to turn around and love on somebody else with it. And they were like, “Okay, we'll do it that way.” And I think it's the only game show ever where people do that. You know, they win 20 grand; they're not buying themselves a motorcycle. They're feeding somebody or taking care of somebody sick in their community. And to me, now you’ve taken faith and – which sometimes in talking about it, can get boring to people – but boy, when people can see it in action, it kind of gets interesting. Hopefully, that’s what we've done.
Do you think that changes the attitudes for the contestants when they're playing? Do they have a better time?
I think so. That’s one of the things that we really worked on this year. As we tell these stories, let's make them more personal. Instead of just playing for something big and nebulous, like the American Cancer Society, let's go find somebody in your community with cancer. Let's go love on them. Somebody that can't pay their bills or needs some money. We made a conscious effort to do that this year. Even if you didn’t have a big interest in faith, when you see somebody doing something like that, you can't help but be attracted to it. I don’t know what they got in their life, but I kind of want some of that.
One of the things that we always try to do on the show is to be diverse. If you're on the outside and you have a preconceived notion about what a Christian looks like, we have nuns playing next to biker gangs playing next to rodeo cowboys. And so it's always been important for us to do that.
Have you changed the way the game is played for the upcoming season?
Yeah, we have more questions. Last year, GSN wanted to add more physical games, which was actually kind of funny watching nuns flip spoons into a glass, which is something usually a drunken sailor would know how to do, and I was kind of tickled to see that nuns knew how to do it. But this year, we've tried to add more questions; people said they wanted more of that. Tried to make these stories more personal and I think we did a better job with that. I’ts kind of cool that it just keeps on going and it's done so well. The fact that it's a show about the Bible that’s the #1 show on a network, that’s not a faith-based network, is pretty cool. So I guess we're doing something right.
Well, talk a little bit about your work with the USO, because I know our members are very interested in that.
I love them and what they do. I always have the greatest respect for the military. When we were doing the Blue Collar Tour, any time we were in a town that had a base near it or a hospital near it, that’s what we would do during the day. I don’t know how many times we've been through Walter Reed, just spent the day there. To me, what the USO does is provide a way for people who don’t know another way to do it to say, “Thank you.”