FOX believes the children are the future.

Fresh off the successful return of "MasterChef Junior" and the swift cancellation of "Utopia," FOX has learned a valuable lesson.

FOX announced on Thursday (November 6) afternoon that "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" will be making a triumphant return to the network. 

With that in mind, we'd like to suggest to FOX that the network's $50 million investment in facilities for "Utopia" could be at least partially recouped by purchasing the format rights for "Kid Nation" and depositing a group of tykes out in the California desert. Or don't but the "Kid Nation" format. "Utopia Juniors" sells itself.

But back to "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?"...

Produced by Mark Burnett and hosted by Jeff Foxworthy, "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" premiered on FOX in 2007 and the essentially self-explanatory format ran through 2009, with 80 episodes. The series also had a run in syndication.

Both Burnett and Foxworthy are set to return for the rebooted series.

"'Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?' shares so much DNA with the FOX brand that it feels only natural to return it to the schedule – it’s smart, witty, irreverent and it turns the adult/child power dynamic upside-down," blurbs Simon Andreae, Executive Vice President, Alternative Programming, Fox Broadcasting Company. "All of the core components of the classic format will be there, but we are also adding new twists that make it fresher and more fun for viewers."

Adds Burnett, "I have loved this competition from our first show and the timing couldn't be better for '5th Grader' to return to FOX, as there is nothing like it on television. Kids today are smarter than ever and the adults who try to take them on will have an even harder task ahead of them."

If FOX is feeling eager about pint-sized programming and the network is friendly again with Mark Burnett, maybe it might be time to find some use for those unaired episodes of "Our Little Genius"?

Or maybe we need the rebirth of "American Juniors," the "American Idol" spinoff that gave the world "Pretty Little Liars" star Lucy Hale, an artist bigger than anybody launched by "The Voice"?

Oh and one last suggestion for FOX: "Firefly Junior." You're welcome.


A long-time member of the TCA Board and a longer-time blogger of "American Idol," Dan Fienberg writes about TV, except for when he writes about movies or sometimes writes about the Red Sox. But never music. He would sound stupid talking about music.