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The Quiz With Balls


Saturday Night Live great Jay Pharoah hosts Fox’s wet ’n’ wacky new trivia battle

Summer fun is about to begin with a brand-new game show that either sends contestants home with cold hard cash or straight into the pool to cool off. The Quiz With Balls is a trivia game show hosted by former Saturday Night Live star Jay Pharoah, who presents duelling family teams with multiple-choice questions that they must answer correctly if they want to stay dry.

“Dry,” you say? Allow us to explain: contestants stand on the edge of a platform overlooking a pool beneath. Behind them is a ramp with a giant yellow ball at the top, waiting to be released once they lock in their answers. Anticipation builds as balls roll toward the players, stopping just short of their backs if they got it right, or sending them flying into the water below if they didn’t. (If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be shrunk down to size and placed at the end of the Powerball lottery ramp, The Quiz With Balls is for you!)

Each episode, two families face off, with a whopping $100,000 for the team that rings in the most correct answers. The questions become more challenging as the game goes on and the clans bank money for each correct answer. Once the last contestant is left standing high and dry on the winning team, they are invited to play the final round for a chance to win the grand prize.

These shenanigans spring from the mind of Dutch media mogul John de Mol, creator of the original international versions of popular reality competitions The Voice, Big Brother and Deal or No Deal. The Quiz With Balls quickly became a hit when it aired in the Netherlands last summer, prompting a special set of winterized episodes and interest in a U.S. version of the game show. But this new American take on the format supersizes the grand prize pot by nearly four times.

The host, Pharoah, is known for his spot-on impressions from his 2010 to 2016 run as a cast member on Saturday Night Live. After that, the comedian led shortlived sitcom White Famous, starred in Netflix’s 2021 romantic comedy Resort to Love and appeared in the 2022 comedy horror film The Blackening.

As you might expect, Pharoah had a little fun with the game show’s cheeky name in an announcement of the series from Fox, saying: “When I got hit up about hosting an epic faceoff between big brains and even bigger balls, I was like . . . ‘I got this,’” before playfully clarifying, “then I found out it was a game show series on Fox and thought . . . even better!”

The Quiz With Balls isn’t the first game show that Pharoah has hosted, though it may well be the silliest. The funnyman emceed two seasons of Nickelodeon’s Unfiltered, where celebrities hidden behind animated characters slipped clues about themselves to panellists trying to identify them.

Fox Entertainment’s president of unscripted programming, Allison Wallach, praised Pharoah in a press release, saying: “No matter the stage or show, Jay’s singular brand of humour and comedic timing elevates everything he does. With him at the helm of The Quiz With Balls, viewers of all ages are assured an exciting and hilarious hour of fun playing along with Jay and our family contestants.”

The Quiz With Balls premieres Tuesday, May 28, on Fox

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