Combining the sophistication of an academic quiz show with the innovation and spunk of a television game show is UMTV’s newest creation, “UM IQ,” where different undergraduate groups are put to the test and battle it out for a “spiffy prize”.
Born of a concept introduced by broadcast journalism professor Sanjeev Chatterjee, UM IQ producers Rachel Brill and Kathryn Smithyman teamed up to make it all happen. Having started in August, the producers and crew worked steadily throughout the semester until last Friday, when the preliminary round of games of four episodes was taped. “This whole program is just like a full-scale game show but on a much smaller scale,” said UM IQ host Joshua Johnson. “I know that if we did this twice, it would be just as difficult; but it’s been worth it.”
The show starts off with two teams of four, one in a green section, and one in an orange section. The host, an electric Johnson, poses a toss-up question, based on UM trivia. The team who answers it goes first goes first.
Both teams will have pre-determined their specialist, the one player who is an expert in a given subject area, and a generalist, one player who is strongest in general trivia knowledge.
“The rapid fire round and quiz round are pretty generic, but I think what makes the show unique is the in-depth question in the beginning,” said UM IQ producer Smithyman.
The specialist is then put on the spot in an in-depth question round, in which he or she interacts one-on-one with a faculty member pertaining to the relevant subject area. Notepad in hand, the specialist listens to the professor on the monitor and is given a minute to formulate a free response. The teacher then grades that response and gives as many points as were deserved.
The next round consists of a quiz round, in which Johnson asks questions on four subject areas, and the first team who buzzes in has a chance to answer. If the first team does not answer correctly, the second has the opportunity to do so. Points are totaled up after each round.
In the third and final round, the generalist must undergo “rapid fire” as he or she sits in a hot seat, and the room fills with fog. Josh then bombards the generalist with “rapid fire” questions, and the player may either pass or play each one.
After a stressful round, points are added up, the winner is determined, and Johnson announces the player’s “spiffy prize”.
“I saw a flyer for the show and said ‘what the heck, I’ll give it a try’,” said junior Gabe Leighton, who competed on the Hecht team.
Designed to incorporate two teams playing each other, UM IQ will feature eight teams in their preliminary episodes, four of which will go on to compete in the finals.
The competition includes Greeks versus Eaton, the apartment area versus Stanford, Mahoney versus Pearson, and the commuters versus Hecht.
Thanks to Provost Luis Glaser, each member of the winning team in the finals will receive a $1,000 credit at the UM Bookstore, and each member of the runner-up team will receive $250 for the same purposes.
“I see “UM IQ” continuing far into the future,” said Smithyman. “And I can’t wait to see what it will look like in a year or two.”
Episodes are set to air next semester on UMTV.