FOX has pulled the Mark Burnett-produced game show “Our Little Genius” from its schedule less than a week before its January 13 premiere date.
“I recently discovered that there was an issue with how some information was relayed to contestants during the pre-production of ‘Our Little Genius,'” Burnett says in FOX’s cryptic statement. “As a result, I am not comfortable delivering the episodes without re-shooting them. I believe my series must always be beyond reproach, so I have requested that FOX not air these episodes.”
That suggests that “Our Little Genius” has not been cancelled, just pushed for reshooting for reasons unknown. Parsing Burnett’s quote offers several possibilities.
FOX adds, “Mark Burnett is one of the pre-eminent producers of unscripted programming on television. Even though we were incredibly pleased with the quality of ‘Our Little Genius,’ we respect and appreciate his due diligence and the decision to pull these episodes. We agree there can be no question about the integrity of our shows. While these episodes will not air, the families who participated in the show will receive their winnings, and we are grateful for their participation.”
The network statement offers no specifics regarding what appears to have been an ethical gaffe in production on the series, which is hosted by Kevin Pollack. On “Our Little Genius,” child geniuses were meant to put their knowledge to the test with cash prizes on the line. It’s unclear what went wrong with the first batch of episodes, when the show will reshoot or when FOX will be able to reschedule the premiere.
In the short term, FOX has extended next Wednesday’s “American Idol” to 90 minutes and will air an encore of this Sunday’s 450th episode of “The Simpsons.” The following week, FOX will air an encore of the pilot for “Human Target.”