Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader, Actor?
Thursday, March 8, 2007
Fox's new prime time game show Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader was an almost instant hit benefiting from a hot American Idol lead in and a concept too decadent to resists: grown ups from various fields and back grounds would go up against 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th grade questions for a chance to win a million dollars. Joining them are 'Classmates', normal grade school children who would act as partners for their adult counterpart. The instant ratings influx for Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader brought the show a lot of attention; and with that, a lot of questions, and now its first scandal.
Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader's first problems were reminiscent of those that 'Who wants to be a millionaire' suffered. Moderately intellectual people found the questions remarkably easy, which caused an influx of potential contestants who found, to their dismay, that the doors were closed on the program. So where were the contestants coming from?
The Orlando Sentinel is on a never ending quest to discover the same about Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader. It seems there simply is no way to sign up for the show, which means all the folks chomping at the bit for some easy money are out of the loop. Another nasty angle has popped up since they began their campaign to uncover just how Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader contestants are selected. It seems the show's claim that the 'classmates' are just normal kids has proven to be false. In fact, some of them have been identified as actors.
The first child to be exposed as a ringer is Laura Marano. Known only as Laura on Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader, Laura is actually a veteran child actor with four years of gigs such as Without a Trace, and The Sarah Silverman program. Just an average fifth grader, indeed!
The fact that Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader's 'normal kids' are stocked with at least one veteran actor, and there is no apparent application process for Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader raises concerns amongst viewers who are anxious at securing a shot at the prize.
Of course, this fact may not be so surprising to many. One would be hard pressed to find a gaggle of fifth graders that could behave appropriately and in an entertaining fashion, but could it also be considered that child actors may have an intellectual advantage since many of them receive one on one tutors? As silly as it may seem, a controversy is born.
- Jon Lachonis, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image courtesy FOX)