Mike Yarish, Fox
Host Jeff Foxworthy waits as Billy Bush seems stumped on "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?"

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Jeff Foxworthy would like to see one of his old Blue Collar Comedy Tour pals as a celebrity contestant on "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?"

"I really want Larry the Cable Guy to do this," Foxworthy told TV critics a few months ago. "Now our problem is we will have to find out what to do with the other 58 minutes on the show, because I've hung around Larry for 20 years. He's not lasting long."

"Smarter" is doing another celebrity episode tonight (7 p.m., Ch. 13), with "Access Hollywood" host Billy Bush competing for charity.

(He's sort of a celebrity.)

Foxworthy, however, is pretty much unimpressed with the idea that celebrities are any better at answering the quiz show's questions than anybody else.

"I'll be totally candid with you. ... I get amused, as a comedian sometimes, how much credibility that the media gives to celebrities on important social or political issues. Because I've spent the last 25 years hanging out with these people, and I'm thinking, 'Well, I don't know why their opinion is any more important than Sue at the florist shop."'

He does, however, enjoy the celebrity episodes of "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" for one big reason — "to actually reveal to the world how smart some of these people really are. I don't know that we would see a lot of them go very far."

Which is not to say that all celebrities would fail to answer many questions and win much money for their chosen charity.

"Some of them would," Foxworthy said. "I mean, obviously, there's some smart people in this industry.

"But because you're a celebrity, I don't know why your opinion means more than the average person on the street."

LATE-NIGHT HOSTS Jay Leno and Jimmy Kimmel are making much of their appearances on each other's shows tonight.

Kimmel will be a guest on "Tonight" (10:35 p.m., Ch. 5); Leno will be a guest on "Live With Jimmy Kimmel" (12:05 a.m., Ch. 4).

"There are only three or five people in the world that know how tough this job is," Leno said in a prepared statement. "Jimmy is one of them. It will be fun to discuss who's a good guest, who's a difficult guest and everything else that comes with sitting behind these desks."

(Don't hold your breath waiting for Leno to diss any past guests. Kimmel might, however.)

"If Jay and I can come together and guest on each other's shows, then surely there is hope for peace in the Middle East," Kimmel joked (also in a prepared statement).

What neither host mentions is something else Leno and Kimmel currently share — difficulty booking guests. Both shows are being picketed by the Writers Guild of America, and most actors (including the stars late-night talk shows use to build ratings) won't cross the picket lines.

About the biggest star Leno can get on his show is, well, Kimmel. And about the biggest star Kimmel can get on his show is, well, Leno.

Conan O'Brien is having the same problem. And it must be said, all three of them went back to work to preserve the jobs of the hundreds of nonwriters who work on their shows — jobs that were threatened by their respective networks, which own "Tonight," "Late Night" and "Live."

There are no such problems over on CBS, where David Letterman's Worldwide Pants production company negotiated a separate deal with the WGA — meaning both the "Late Show" and "The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson" don't have picket lines for actors to worry about crossing.


E-mail: [email protected]