MAKE THE GRADE
Broadcast history: Nickelodeon October 2, 1989 - December 29, 1991
Host(s): Lew Schneider, Robb Edward Morris
Announcer(s): Maria Milito
Three kids competed. The player in control picked a square of the board, a seven by seven grid with seven categories and grade levels. The categories were based on school classes (Phys. Ed, Home Ec., etc) and one was dubbed an "elective" and could be anything. The grade levels went from "elementary" to 12th grade. A question was asked and whoever buzzed in with the correct answer got the corresponding grade level and category lit up on their board. Besides questions, wild cards were on the board. These included "take" squares where you could take an opponent's square. "Lose" where you lost a square. "Free" where the square was given to you and "fire drill" where a stunt was played. The winner of the stunt had their choice of desk, the second winner got second choice and third winner got third choice. The first player to light up their board completely won $500 and a trip to the bonus round.
The bonus round, called the "Honors Round" consisted on seven questions. To begin, the player selected one of three subjects. Then, in seven sub-categories similar to those on the board, they were asked questions in the subject. They had forty-five seconds to answer seven. The first six earned them $100 and the seventh the grand prize). In the earlier part of season one, it was $1,000. From the second half and on, it was a trip.
In the Schneider era if there was no time for a full game at the end of the show, the day's winner played the "University Round" A series of questions from previous games not used were asked. The first was for $50, the second $100, third $200, fourth $500 and the fifth and final question, $1000. The player could stop and take the money at any time.
Host Lew Schneider is a comedy writer who currently writes on "Everybody Loves Raymond"
The show's first era with Schneider, circa 1989-1990, taped in New York. The Morris shows and Lew Schneider's last couple of episodes were taped with an audience at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.
Robb Edward Morris is an actor who appeared on "Swamp Thing" among other shows and is still active in theatre.
If time was short in Florida, Robb went into the audience and asked questions from previous games for t-shirts and other goodies.
Despite having the technology, the "Make the Grade" board ran solely on solaris, or "flippy cards"
As with most kids games, this was one short-lived. It was interesting, especially since it was the only kids game to really focus on the questions rather than physical activity. The "Fire Drill" does bring some excitement, but perhaps takes away from the actual competition, especially when a dummy in third place throws a ball into a basket and wins because of it.
Cast - 1.0
Bells and Whistles - 1.5
Game - 2.0
Prize - 1.0
Tilt - 2.0
[ 07.5 ]
Lew Schneider was an okay host, who ad-libbed from time to time and kept the game moving. Robb, on the other hand, made stupid remarks, fumbled over the rules and couldn't improvise anything to save his life. I suspect Lew left for some reason, rather than Robb being a preferred choice over Lew.