Fifth Grader on Tap for Fall 2009

Twentieth Television and Mark Burnett Productions are expected to announce that Fox’s popular primetime game show, Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader, will be available to TV stations for fall 2009, sources said.

Twentieth Television wouldn’t confirm, but a spokesman said, “We’re always happy to bring great programming to syndication.” Sources close to the situation said primetime host Jeff Foxworthy is expected to sign on as host of the syndicated version.

In the game, a contestant attempts to correctly answer questions from first- through fifth-grade-level textbooks. As the questions get harder, the money gets bigger, with question No. 11 worth $1 million. Contestants can ask school-age cast members for help on any question, but upon withdrawing or giving a wrong answer, the player must admit that she or he is, in fact, not smarter than a fifth grader.

Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader began as a three-night special on Fox Feb. 27, 2007, then ran on Thursday nights through the end of that season. The show has continued to air on Thursdays in the United States, and it’s also been picked up in many countries across the globe.

Fifth Grader joins a potentially crowded field in fall 2009. Harpo Productions and Sony Pictures Television are selling Dr. Oz, starring Dr. Mehmet Oz, and Program Partners is pitching Marie, featuring Marie Osmond.

Several other shows are in development, including projects featuring former teen queen Valerie Bertinelli, former Cheers star Kirstie Alley, Food Network star Paula Deen, talk-show host Montel Williams, evangelical pastor T.D. Jakes and Dancing with the Stars sweetheart Marisa Jaret Winokur.

Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.