Long-running high school quiz show ‘It’s Academic’ gets new sponsors

There’s Saturday morning cartoons, but for the D.C. area, there’s also “It’s Academic,” which has been showcasing smart kids from local high schools for more than 60 years. And with new sponsors, it hopes to keep on doing just that.

D.C. philanthropist David M. Rubenstein is the show’s new title sponsor and Virginia-based MITRE is the Platinum sponsor.

“Mr. Rubenstein and MITRE’s sponsorship make possible another season of Washington’s beloved high school quiz television show broadcast on WRC- TV (NBC 4),” a news release said.

The show has been in search of a new sponsor after earlier this year, Giant, which has sponsored the show for more than 50 years, said that it is shifting its sponsorships to food insecurity causes.

Producer Robin Trepanier, whose grandmother started the show in 1961, said the new sponsors align with the show’s mission of educating and investing in young people.

“They’re sending a message, too, about how they value education. That’s what we’re all about,” Trepanier said.

Rubenstein said in a statement that he remembered watching the show growing up.

“I realized how I had better study harder if I was going to get anywhere. Valuable lesson then and now,” Rubenstein said.

Trepanier said that what’s so nice about the show is how it gives a chance to showcase teenagers who work so hard in school.

“Usually those accolades are saved for the athletes, and this shows kids who have worked so hard in school, are so serious about their education. And it’s just wonderful to be able to show them off,” Trepanier said.

The show has experienced some struggles over the last years. In 2019, it was looking for a new studio when the studio where it has been filmed for decades had to be renovated.

And then the coronavirus pandemic struck.

“We had to restructure the show because you couldn’t have competitive rounds anymore,” Trepanier said. But the show was able to transition really well to Zoom.

“It’s Academic” has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-running television quiz show in the world.

“I just hope we’re able to keep going for another 61 years,” Trepanier said.

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

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