Justin Landry (first season)
Nobu and Mio Adilman (rest of run)
Michie Mee (most of run)
Sabrina Jalees (final season)
CBC: 2001–2004 (aired on both radio and television)

SmartAsk was a more risque version of Reach for the Top.

Qualifying for the ShowEdit

In order to qualify, schools had to send in an entry to the CBC on a specific topic announced for on the show's website. 124 schools were chosen at random. For the first season, 125 schools were chosen; this is because the winners of the previous season would receive an automatic place in the next tournament as defending champions. 122 of these schools would each play with another school from their province or region on radio, while the teams from the territories automatically advanced to the television show. These 64 winning schools would then compete in a single-elimination tournament, with one match each day (Monday through Friday) and it ended with the championships, which happens on a three-day weekend (Friday through Sunday). The championship games were only played after the first twelve weeks were finished airing.


The game had four different formats: one for the radio version, and one for each season of the television version. In any case, there were three or four players on each team: three of them competed on air, and the fourth one (if necessary for that team) was used as an alternate.

Radio GameplayEdit

These games aired every Friday from September to November of the school year, generally lasting 15 minutes in length. There were three rounds.

The First Two RoundsEdit

The host would ask a question, but contestants could only buzz in after he finished reading it; this was called, "no preemptive buzzing" or NPB. Players who did so would lose their shot at answering the question. Each category was centered on a certain school subject, and each category contained either three or four questions. The last category of the second round was general knowledge. There was no penalty for a wrong answer, and if a player was wrong, the captain of the other team would get a chance to answer and steal. In this show, the rounds were much shorter, giving the final round more importance. In between these rounds, the host interviewed the team captains.


Questions were worth 10 points in the first round, and 20 in the second round.

Final Round: Lightning RoundEdit

Questions in this round were worth 30 points and were all pot luck. Unlike the first two rounds, only one player can attempt each question and a wrong answer deducted 30 points. Plus, contestants can buzz in while a question is being read. The lightning round lasted for 90 seconds. Even though this round wasn't longer than on television, the earlier rounds were shorter making this round more important in determining the winner.

The Alberta league had their own version of this round. Each team was asked questions for 30 seconds, still earning 30 points for correct answers, and losing 30 points for wrong answers; passing was allowed, and the question would become a push (the score would remain unchanged).

Season One GameplayEdit

The game was played in four rounds.

The First Three RoundsEdit

These were NPB rounds; unlike the radio series, however, teams who buzzed in early would not be able to buzz in again for 1.5 seconds (similar to Jeopardy!). As the game went on, the questions increased in difficulty. Each round consisted of three categories, each containing anywhere from three to six questions. The categories had humourous names, relating to the category in some way.


Question values in each round were as follows:

  • Round 1 – 20 points
  • Round 2 – 50 points
  • Round 3 – 100 points

Final Round: Lightning RoundEdit

This had the exact same rules as the radio show, except the questions in this round were worth 50 points each, up or down. The length varied, although teams were not told how long it would be.

Player InterviewsEdit

Each team was interviewed at a specific point in the game: before the third and fourth rounds, and the contestants stayed in their seats.

Season Two GameplayEdit

For this season, the game was played in five rounds.

The First Two RoundsEdit

These were NPB rounds; however, there were differences.

Round 1Edit

The questions were worth 20 points in this round, but the round went in the following order:

  • Two Categories
  • Video Question
  • One Category

Each category consisted of either three or four questions. The last category was known as "Mio's Moment" given by Mio wearing an embarrassing costume.

Round 2Edit

The questions in this round were worth 50 points each and and there were two categories, again each containing either three or four questions.

Round 3: Dawg Eat DawgEdit

This round was played similar to the Final Jeopardy! Round on Jeopardy!, except the teams had to bet on members of the opposing team, not themselves. The teams were given a category, and they each chose one member of the opposing team to answer; the bet had to be a positive integer and a multiple of 10. The chosen players were asked the question and had five seconds to write their answer on their chalkboard and then they showed it to the host. An incorrect answer meant the opposing team's wager was added to their score; a correct answer, however, meant the opposing team would lose their bet.

This was usually the most difficult question of the game.

Round 4: The Dirty Half DozenEdit

Each of the six players was asked one question. A correct answer scored 100 points for their team; an incorrect answer, however, meant that the player above or below them (depending on the team) would get a chance to answer for 50 points. It was possible for one player to score 150 points for their team.

These questions were the next-hardest after the Dawg Eat Dawg question.

Final Round: Lightning RoundEdit

This round was played exactly the same way as in the first season, except the contestants were now told how long it would last (anywhere from one to two minutes in most games, three minutes in the final game); unless they measured the amount of time themselves, however, they would not know how much time was left.

Player InterviewsEdit

Each contestant was interviewed individually before the second round, except this time, they were interviewed at center stage, and since there were two hosts, they took turns asking questions to the contestant.

Season Three GameplayEdit

Just like in the previous season, the game was played in five rounds.

The First Two RoundsEdit

Played exactly the same as the previous season, except the video question was renamed "Nobu Nation" after host Nobu, and Mio's costumes weren't as embarrassing as the Speedo he wore in most episodes of the previous season.

Round 3: Smart and SmartererEdit

This was the replacement for the Dawg Eat Dawg round, and it was moderated by the new hostess, Sabrina Jalees. The teams were given a category or theme (this time, however, their names were cryptic clues to their content). Each team chose their best player for the category, and those players would go to a special podium at center stage. They would then play a 45-second lightning round, where each question was worth 50 points, up or down.

Round 4: The Dirty Half DozenEdit

Played exactly the same as the previous season, except the questions were not as difficult; the differences in difficulty were almost always noticed, however.

Final Round: Lightning RoundEdit

For this season, this round was overhauled. The time was extended to an average range of two to three minutes, and it was played in two halves. For the first half, questions were worth 50 points, up or down; this was doubled for the second half to 100 points. The teams were still how long this round would last, and they were also told when the point values doubled.

For the championship games of this season, the time was displayed on a monitor facing the players; this monitor also showed the player set, so that the players would always know the score.

Player InterviewsEdit

Just like in the previous season, each contestant was interviewed individually before the second round, but because the podium for the third round was at center stage, the contestants were interviewed in front of the contestant podium.

YouTube LinksEdit

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