1 9 6 1 – Current (USA)
1 9 6 8 – 1 9 7 8 (Australia)
2 0 0 1 – 2 0 1 6 (Australia)
A number of televised student quiz shows for high school students throughout the United States and internationally have been named It’s Academic.
The version of the show on NBC-owned WRC-TV in Washington DC has been on the air since 7 October 1961 and is recognised by the Guinness World Records as the longest-running quiz program in television history.
The concept was created for WRC by Sophie Altman, who continued as the executive producer until her death in 2008. Mac McGarry hosted the Washington show from the beginning until June 2011 when Hillary Howard (a Washington news anchor) took over.
The show features three high school teams of three players each competing over five rounds. Each team starts with 100 points. Round 1 is a category round with eight themed questions (“famous paintings”, for example). Teams receive 10 points for each correct answer and lose 10 for each incorrect answer.
In Round 2, each team is individually asked five questions and receive 20 points each for a correct answer, but do not lose points for an incorrect answer. Round 3 is a visual round where an image is displayed and questions asked about the image. Teams receive 20 points for each correct answer and lose 20 for each incorrect answer.
During Round 4, teams select from three question packs with 20 points for a correct answer and no penalties. A 25-point bonus is given if a team correctly answers all eight questions. Round 5 features quick-fire questions, each worth 20 points (with 20 points deducted for an incorrect answer). The game ends when the buzzer sounds.
An Australian version of the show aired on Network 10 and the Seven Network from 1968 to 1975 and was revived by Seven’s Perth affiliate in 2001. Seven took the show national in 2005. A New Zealand version was also screened by TVNZ in the 1980s, with Lockwood Smith and John Hayden as hosts.
The UK has a similar series – University Challenge – which began in 1962.