Trivia shows and brackets are both quite popular, and ESPN is now combining the two. A new Bracket Genius quiz show series from ESPN and Intersport will debut Wednesday (March 15) at 6:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2 with a half-hour episode describing the format and showing behind-the-scenes footage of the competitors. After that, opening-round matchups will air Wednesday, March 22 and Sunday, March 26, at 5 and 5:30 p.m. Eastern both days, with each producing one winner from four competing teams. Trey Wingo will host the series for ESPN.
This is much more than just a couple of episodes, though. Two bonus round episodes (which will see the four championship-contending teams compete for extra cash prizes of up to $25,000 per episode) will air on Monday, March 27, and the four teams will face off for the championship and its $100,000 prize in a full-hour episode on Tuesday, April 4. And what about the show itself? Here are some more details, from Intersport’s release:
Bracket Genius will pit university academic teams, consisting of three undergraduate students, against one another in a bracket-style competition for the chance to have their team crowned the inaugural Bracket Genius Champion and share the prize of $100,000. The final 16 universities represented on the hardwood will match up in the same head-to-head games on Bracket Genius where the winner advances by answering questions spanning history, geography, politics, literature, science, pop culture, the arts and sports in a race to score as many points as possible against the clock and their opponent.
As for Wingo, he sounds excited:
“I’m excited to be a part of the show and channel my inner Wink Martindale,” said Wingo. “This show, like all the best things in life, is all about the kids.”
We’ll see how this works out, but Wingo certainly seems like a good fit for the job; he’s demonstrated a great mix of serious competence and light-hearted humor over his ESPN career. And the concept isn’t bad; people like quiz shows, people like university tie-ins, and people like brackets, especially around March Madness.
A lot may depend on the execution here, though. If Wingo and company can make this engaging and fresh, it might be good content for ESPN2 during a pretty slow sports time (at least, slow for them considering their lack of NCAA tournament rights). If it feels like every other quiz show, though, it may wear out its welcome. This may be worth keeping an eye on, especially for the response.