Jeff Foxworthy is happy to share the wealth when it comes to television successes about the Bible.
The country-flavored comedian and author returns to Game Show Network to launch Season 2 of “The American Bible Challenge” Thursday (March 21), after the show’s debut set a channel ratings record last August. He realizes the contest has had something of a primer this time in History Channel’s current, widely watched Sunday series “The Bible,” and he thinks that’s good for all concerned.
“If you’ve got faith, you’ve got to believe these things weren’t written for people just 2,000 or 3,000 years ago,” the easygoing Foxworthy reasons to Zap2it. “The same basic message of how to treat your fellow man, your kids, your wife, your money — it still applies. We’re still human beings.
“Somebody said to me once, ‘The Bible is just a book of rules.’ Well, no, it’s not really. It’s a love story, the one about the Prodigal Son. You’ve got one son who does everything wrong and one son who does everything right, and the father goes, ‘I love you both. And I love you both the same.’ That’s really the message.”
Despite the big start ‘The American Bible Challenge” had, Foxworthy maintains he isn’t thinking about its new round’s ratings: “I try to not do that. It’s kind of like reading reviews of yourself. I always tell Larry the Cable Guy, ‘You’re never as good as they say you are, and you’re never as bad as they say you are.’
“The nice thing is that it was received the way we intended. We wanted to be able to have fun with it, because in the faith community, I think that’s one of our biggest Achilles’ heels … that we lose that. And if you’re only talking about faith, no matter what your faith is, people get bored pretty quick; with this show, you get to see it in action, and it’s interesting.”
Foxworthy’s busy schedule has permitted him to see only one episode of “The Bible,” whose executive producers include Mark Burnett, Foxworthy’s boss for the run of the game show “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?”
“I thought Mark did a great job with it. I remember him talking to me about it on the early end of it. He said his kids were rolling their eyes at the old [depictions of biblical stories], so he said, ‘OK. Let me see if I can tell this in a more modern way.’ He certainly didn’t lack the passion for it. People have taken a few shots at it, but that’s OK.”
After his success presiding over “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?,” both on FOX and in syndication (with repeats also running currently on GSN), Foxworthy has become a host for all seasons — and contests. He’ll also guide “The American Baking Competition” when CBS’ version of a popular British show premieres Wednesday, May 29.
“It’s crazy,” Foxworthy muses in the midst of a month when he says he has only “one day off,” also because of live-performance dates. “I said to my wife, ‘Do you know how lucky I am?’ Comics usually don’t have long careers; you’re popular for two or three years, then it’s on to the next one.
“I’ve been able to do that for almost 30 years … and the fact that people still think I’m funny enough to come and listen, and then to get to do other fun, creative things that you never even thought of? That’s way cool.”