Although ‘Our Little Genius’ was supposed to premiere in January, producer, Mark Burnett and Fox, decided a week before its premiere to halt the debut. Now their reasons for doing so are being investigated by the Federal Communications Commission.
At the time of pulling the plug, Burnett said in a statement that there “was an issue with how some information was relayed” to the young geniuses during preproduction. “As a result, I am not comfortable delivering the episodes without re-shooting them,” said the famous producer who also produces ‘Survivor‘ and ‘The Apprentice.’ “I believe my series must always be beyond reproach, so I have requested Fox not air these episodes.”
Was he being a dignified producer by pulling the show or covering up some mistakes he may have made? It turns out that the January statement came weeks after a letter from one of the child’s parents reached the F.C.C.
According to the New York Times, the letter alleges that their child was primed and prodded a few days before their scheduled taping of the show. The letter claims that a member of the production staff reviewed specific topics and questions with the child that they should be prepared to answer.
When the child went to tape the show on December 8th, the parents raised their concerns about prepped questions with lawyers for the show and consequently, the child’s appearance on the trivia show was canceled.
The F.C.C. will neither confirm nor deny their investigation into ‘Our Little Genius’ which has never actually aired. But the newspaper points out that the Commissions Act of 1934 makes it illegal for anyone to give, with the intent to deceive the viewing public, assistance that will affect the outcome of a “purportedly bona fide contest of intellectual knowledge or intellectual skill.”
When the NY Times reached out to the network, a spokesperson for Fox said they could not comment on these allegations. Executive producer Mark Burnett was unavailable to comment as well.