NBC Revives ‘College Bowl’ Quiz Show With Host Peyton Manning

Brian Steinberg
·3-min read

School may be out in summer, but not this year. “College Bowl,” the quiz show that challenged college students and aired on broadcast TV for more than a decade, is poised to make a comeback on NBC as a series starting in June.

Football great Peyton Manning will host the program, which aired on radio stations in the 1950s before moving to CBS and then NBC between 1959 and 1970, and will be assisted by his brother, Cooper Manning. In each show, teams of three representing some of the nation’s top schools must work together to answer questions on a wide variety of subjects. The top two schools advance to the final, where they compete head-to-head for the Capital One College Bowl trophy and a scholarship to put toward their education. Participating schools include University of Alabama, Auburn University, Columbia University, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, Ole Miss, Morehouse College, University of Tennessee, University of Southern California, UCLA, University of Virginia and Xavier of Louisiana.

More from Variety

NBCUniversal will team up with financial-services company Capital One in a pact that gives the large advertiser a significant role in promoting the contest — and a big presence in the program. “By bringing in Capital One to curate the in-show and out-of-show advertising experience, from student scholarships to the Champion trophy to social moments and more, we’ve created a next-level, premium viewing experience for our consumers,” says Peter Lazarus, executive vice president of advertising sales and partnerships at NBCUniversal, in a prepared statement.

TV networks have long given advertisers a heightened presence in sports broadcasts and reality series. Now they are ceding new ground in game shows. PepsiCo recently helped produce “Cherries Wild,” a quiz program on the Fox broadcast network, in a bid to call attention to cherry-flavored Pepsi Wild Cherry cola. The program was hosted by actor Jason Biggs and included a three-story-tall slot machines as part of its set. The concept is just the latest to tie commercials and content in the same package. As consumers find more ways to avoid watching commercials — including viewing their favorite programs via streaming, where ads are often reduced — advertisers are seeking ways to embed themselves in the programming.

Capital One is known for its marketing slogan, “What’s in your wallet?” As part of its “College Bowl” relationship it may help answer the question for the competing students, to whom it will . The provide tuition assistance. The company will provide a total of $1 million in scholarships to participants. “We’re excited to be a part of the reboot of this classic quiz show that brings our customers and viewers alike entertainment they can enjoy with family and friends this summer,” said Byron Daub, vice president of sponsorships and experiential marketing at Capital One, in a statement.

The series is produced by Universal Television Alternative Studio, a division of Universal Studio Group, and Village Roadshow Television. “Capital One College Bowl” is executive produced by Peyton Manning, Cooper Manning, Eli Manning, Richard Reid via Richard Reid Productions, Inc., and Mark Itkin via his Tough Lamb Media. David Friedman serves as showrunner for the series. Reid has been involved with College Bowl for decades.

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.