|Make the Grade|
|Format||Children's game show|
|Presented by||Lew Schneider (1989-1990)
Robb Edward Morris (1991)
|Narrated by||Maria Milito|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||160|
|Original run||October 2, 1989 – December 29, 1991|
Make the Grade premiered on Nickelodeon on October 2, 1989 and ended on December 29, 1991. Reruns of Make the Grade aired Nickelodeon Games and Sports from January 2, 2000 to April 2, 2004.
The first two seasons were hosted by Lew Schneider, with the first season taped in a small New York studio with no live audience. For the next two seasons, the show moved to the newly opened Nickelodeon Studios in Orlando, Florida, with Robb Edward Morris taking Schneider's place as host for the final season. New York-based disc jockey Maria Milito was the announcer for the entire run.
Three contestants – each situated at either a red, green, or blue desk – competed to answer trivia questions and acquire squares on a 7x7 game board. The category icons and grade levels lit up on the front of each desk when a question was answered correctly. Grade levels, which ranged from elementary school and grades 7 through 12, ran along the top of the board; six subjects plus a "special elective" ran down the left. The contestants' goal was to answer one question from each grade level and one question from each category.
Most squares contained questions. If a contestant answered the question correctly, he earned that square for his desk and control of the board. If incorrect, the other two had a chance to answer once the host re-reads the question. Additionally, several squares contained "wild card" panels that could ultimately alter the outcome of the game. The wild cards were:
Like other Nickelodeon game shows before it, Make the Grade allowed contestants to participate in (sometimes messy) challenge stunts called "Fire Drills." Fire Drills took place when a contestant selected a square with the Fire wild card. All three contestants participate.
The goal of each Fire Drill was to complete the challenge first, thereby earning first choice at the three desks. Although a contestant can answer many questions correctly, the earned squares belonged to the desk. When the Fire Drill was completed, the first place contestant picked whichever desk he or she desired, usually the one with the most grade levels and subjects completed. The second place contestant got his/her choice of the remaining two desks, and third place took the last desk left.
Because of this structure, a contestant could do poorly in answering questions but successfully complete Fire Drills to win the game (in extreme situations, a contestant completed their card and won the game with one correct answer).
After two trivia rounds, the first contestant to light up their desk, or the contestant with the most squares in as many grade levels and subjects as possible, won $500 and goes on to the Honors Round. The other two contestants received $50 and a consolation prize.
In this round, the winner is offered their choice of three question categories. Each category contains questions from each of the seven subjects in the main game. The contestant has 45 seconds to answer one question correctly from all seven subjects.
Each subject contained only one question and the contestant was only able to give one answer to each question. Each correct answer won $100, and getting all seven questions right augmented the bonus round total to $1,000.
The bonus round is played as before, however missing or passing a question moves to the next subject, and a contestant is able to return to the subject missed with new questions if time permitted. Each of the first six correct answers wins $100, and the seventh correct answer wins a trip to Universal Studios Florida.
In second season episodes where the game finished early (and there was additional time to fill), a special University Round was played. A series of five questions are asked, for $50, $100, $200, $500, and $1,000, respectively. The contestant can stop and take the money at any time.
In the first season, extra time was filled with clips of host Schneider going to malls and asking questions, and during the third season, studio audience members were asked questions to win T-shirts. On a few episodes, a contestant won the game so early that they started another game with a second set of contestants, playing the second game in abbreviated time.