‘College Bowl,’ Now & Then

After 51 years adrift, College Bowl — a game show, not a football game — returns to NBC as a weekly series today, June 22.

Unlike the long-running General Electric College Bowl, which ran for a half-hour on weekend afternoons for 12 seasons (1959-1970), first on CBS and then NBC, the new 10-episode Capital One College Bowl will run for an hour in prime time, 10 pm ET/PT on Tuesdays. Each episode will also stream on Peacock starting the following day.

Capital One College Bowl is hosted by two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Peyton Manning, with brother Cooper Manning (Fox’s The Manning Hour) serving as “sidekick.” Both brothers are also executive producers, along with third sibling, two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Eli Manning.

The new series will feature three-student teams from the 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.

The original series, which won a 1961 Peabody Award and a a 1963 Emmy for best “Panel, Quiz or Audience Participation” show, featured four-student teams.

First hosted by Allen Ludden and then Robert Earle, a truly historic event occurred in 1966 when (spoiler alert!) Georgia’s tiny all-female Agnes Scott College upset the high-and-mighty and then-all-male Princeton University. Here’s the episode in its entirety:

College Bowl actually began on NBC Radio in 1953, and has absolutely nothing to do with a 1950-1951 ABC TV series, The College Bowl. That musical comedy starred Chico Marx, with a young Andy Williams in the cast. The following episode includes what may be another historic TV moment : an opening commercial featuring “a subject I don’t believe you’ve ever heard a woman discuss before on television.” We won’t spoil this one:

(Top image source: YouTube video)

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