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"Are You Smarter"--The Scandal - February 26

Last week I detailed how I think "Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader" would be a hit. This week, the plot thickens as Fox is in the middle of a potential scandal.

On February 5, on "We Love to Interrupt" Gordon Pepper interviewed a 5th grader who was involved in the auditioning and casting process. The student detailed the deceptive advertisement in Craigslist and the casting of kid actors in the roles of "real 5th graders."

The parent has now told me that a child who made the show was given help on an audition test by his mother. This parent and her child pointed out the cheating to staff of the show, who didn't seem to care.

Now, this bothers on me on many levels. The Communications Act of 1960 was passed to prevent of the rigging of game shows. And what this is maybe not be rigging per se, but it smacks of casting for the sake of casting, rules and intelligence be damned.

If what the parent has told me is true (and I trust this person wholeheartedly), then this is a black eye for Fox and Mark Burnett. This smells really bad. What does it say when a network such as Fox would ignore basic game show casting rules and just cast a kid (who is an actor) based on looks and the child not legitimately obtaining correct answers? What does it say for any casting director? Doesn’t it taint all the shows who do follow the rules?

Burnett and Fox should be ashamed of themselves. The only thing that would make this right would be if the kid was pulled from the show immediately. And the show should be pulled and boycotted if the kid is not. Because if this goes unchecked, this will be a black day for game shows and game show casting.

And you don't need to be smarter than a 5th grader to realize that.

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