Game Shows Wiki
Mac McGarry 1961-2011
Hillary Howard 2011-present
Old It's Academic.jpg
WRC NBC 4 1961-Present
Altman Productions

The longest running televised high school quiz bowl show. This version from Washington D.C. is the original that has spawned many other versions in areas of the United States.


Each contest is composed of five rounds. Round 1 is a category round with eight questions, all centered around a theme (e.g., "the letter B" or "famous paintings"). Questions do not appear on the players' monitors but do appear for the viewing audience.

In Round 2, each team is individually asked five questions worth 20 points each.

Round 3 is a toss-up visual round. The monitor displays an image and the host provides a question accompanying the image. Teams receive 10 points for each correct answer and lose 10 for each incorrect answer. Eight questions are used.

In Round 4, the captain of each team introduces the sponsors and administrators. There are three question packets from which to choose. The team to the immediate left of the team that is supposed to answer chooses which packet the answering team will use. Eight questions are given to each team, with 20 points for a correct answer and no penalties. A 25 point bonus is given if a team correctly answers all eight questions, for a total of 185 points in this round.

Round 5 features toss-up questions, each worth +/-20 points. Visual questions are worth +/-30 points. The number of questions varies depending on the time left in the game. The game ends when the buzzer sounds.

Discontinued rounds[]

Prior to the adoption of the current format, there were several other formats of play.

Category round[]

The "very fast" category round consisted of questions pertaining to the same category. In some cases, the question was the same throughout the round: teams were given different items, and had to answer the common question on the basis of each item (e.g., given a state, name either senator from that state). In other cases, all the answers in the category round shared an announced characteristic in common (e.g., geographical locations whose names begin and end with "A"). Teams used their buzzers in this round, earning 10 points for a correct answer, but losing 10 points for wrong answers.

Timed round[]

In all forms, a team individually answers questions from a packet within a time limit. In one form, at the beginning of the game, teams get one minute to answer questions for 20 points each. In this form, teams are not penalized for wrong answers, in order to help the teams in "building score". In another form, teams have one and a half minutes to answer questions for 20 points each. However, 20 points are deducted for a wrong answer. Teams may pass a question, losing 10 points; however, the other two teams may buzz-in to answer the passed questions (with a few exceptions) for plus or minus 20 points after the time runs out for the team's turn. Every question that is fully read must be answered or passed within a reasonable time. However, if a question is not finished when time expires, the team may reject it without penalty or answer the question at their own risk. In this form, getting all 10 questions (later 8) correct originally earned the team a 50-point bonus, later reduced to 25.


1963 - "Down, Down the Field" by C. Harold Lewis

1980 - "Freestyle" by DeWolf Music (Previously used on SCTV)

19?? - Present - "The Race" by Yello

19?? - Present - "T.L.C." by Mother Father Sister Brother

2017 - Present - "Just Let Go" by Network Music

Normally, a local high school band plays music during the closing credits. However, if no band is there, then the above theme is used instead.


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