Game Show Network Ventures Into Faith-Based Territory

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

master Minds long shotBrooke Burns (center) hosting the game show “Master Minds”The Game Show Network (GSN) has taken another step connecting with faith-based TV viewers by shouldering a major sponsorship of the new podcast by Christian music maven Bill Gaither.

"More Than The Music," hosted by the Grammy-winning artist, debuted online April 20. It features interviews by the Grammy-winning artist of figures whom he has collaborated with or been inspired by in his long career.

And in previous moves - over the last several months the TV network has welcomed church-affiliated contestants and inserted Bible and similarly-themed questions throughout its original programming line-up.

SPRINKLING IN CONTENT

"I love it when the Bible questions come up," said Brooke Burns, host of GSN's "Master Minds" game show (airing weekdays at 4pm and 8:30pm Eastern).
"I feel like I get a little edge there - my dad was an elder in our church and we did the Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday night Bible study gamut," recalled Burns.

On "Master Minds," contestants clash with "masters" - including "Jeopardy" super-champion Ken Jennings - in a battle of knowledge for a right to advance to a one-on-one final round.

On team panel shows such as "America Says" and "Common Knowledge," the contestant group-foursomes have included church choir members, youth leaders and Bible study groups.

THE GAITHER RELATIONSHIP

Church Bunch A church group competes during the game show “America Says”Bill Gaither's new podcast features a variety of guests such as country artist Larry Gatlin, former NBA player and coach Paul Westphal and newscaster Mort Crim. (listen to episodes at https://gaithermusic.lnk.to/podcast).

The overlap of "family-friendly" audiences creates a natural association between GSN and the Gaither group, according to both organizations.

"The collaboration is a great fit," said Gaither in a recent news release. "Game Show Network is dedicated to creating family-friendly, fun programming that's right for everyone."

Burns agrees. "I have two high schoolers and a 3 year old at home," she said. "The point is that everyone can be in the same room at the same time with the TV on and it won't be offensive to anyone."

Over the coming weeks more details of the new relationship will be announced.

Eight years ago GSN was the network which produced "The American Bible Challenge" with host Jeff Foxworthy. In its debut year it was the most popular program in the network's history.

BROOKE'S SOJOURN

Burns grew up in the Dallas, TX area and studied ballet for more than a decade. "Although I liked game shows growing up, I never thought I'd be in front of a camera. I just thought I'd be a ballet teacher," she recalled.

     
 

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An ACL injury turned her from ballet to modeling, which in turn led to acting opportunities.

Her exposure as a film actress was buoyed by a role in the 2001 film "Shallow Hal," starring Jack Black and Gwyneth Paltrow. She has appeared in numerous movies and TV shows, and over the last five years has starred in a number of Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. But Burns has anchored her career with game show hosting.

"I got into (hosting) because when I became a mom I realized that a lot of acting is very long days and out-of-state travel," she said. "But with 'Master Minds,' we shoot six shows in one day and then I get to be a full time mom for a while.

"Really it's been a perfect fit for me. I genuinely love people and I have so much fun hosting...more fun than I have acting."

SPIRITUALLY SPEAKING

When Burns first moved to Los Angeles she became involved in a Bible study with others connected to the entertainment industry. Now married and a mom, she and her husband are involved in an area church.

She said her faith plays a role in her life – both inside and outside of her profession. "I think (faith) should live and breathe inside of you no matter where you are, whether you're on stage or at a restaurant," she said.

Burns often reflects on her Christian upbringing and the values and principles instilled by her parents. "My dad used to always say, 'Whether you like them or not, they work...You're blessed to be a blessing.'"

What is Brooke's toughest job as a game show host? She equates it to her experience studying ballet. "If you put in the hard work (and) learn and memorize the technique and the steps; then once you're on stage you have fun and live in the moment," she reasoned. "You just have to trust that."
     
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Author Information
Terry DeBoer
About:
Terry is journalist who writes for newspapers, magazines, newsletters and websites. His most frequented “beat” is arts and entertainment. He is married with two children and lives in Grand Rapids.

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