Double Dare (1986 game show): Wikis


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Double Dare
Double Dare logo, later adapted for other versions of the show until 1993.
Format Children's game show
Created by Geoffrey Darby
Dee LaDuke
Michael Klinghoffer
Robert Mittenthal
Presented by Marc Summers (1986-1993)
Narrated by Harvey (1986-1991)
Doc Holliday (1992-1993)
Country of origin  United States
No. of episodes 525 (1986-1993)[1]
Location(s) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1986-1987, 1988-1989)
Manhattan, New York (1987)
Orlando, Florida (1989-1992)
Running time 23 minutes
Original channel Nickelodeon
Picture format NTSC (480i)
1080i (6 episodes)
Original run October 6, 1986 – February 1993
External links
Official website

Double Dare is a children's game show, originally hosted by Marc Summers, that aired on Nickelodeon. The show combines trivia questions with occasionally messy "physical challenges". It is often credited with putting the then-fledgling network on the map, and ranked #29 in TV Guide's list of the 50 Greatest Game Shows of All Time.

The show originated from the WHYY-TV studios in Philadelphia in 1986. In 1987, the show temporarily moved to New York City for a special weekend edition called Super Sloppy Double Dare. The show returned to Philadelphia in 1988; by then Viacom syndicated the show to independent stations & affiliates of the young Fox network. In 1989, more episodes of Super Sloppy Double Dare were made. Tapings began in Philadelphia, but later that year was moved to Universal Studios in Orlando. The show moved to Nickelodeon Studios in 1990, where it then became Family Double Dare, and it remained that until its cancellation in 1992. The final episodes aired in 1993.

Reebok was a major sponsor of the show throughout its run, and every contestant and stage crew member (including Summers) wore a pair of the company's shoes.




Main game

The show typically begins as a cold open with Marc Summers saying, "On your mark, get set, GO!" As the teams raced to complete a toss-up challenge, the announcer would quickly explain the challenge, then introduce the show. Only when one team completed it would the announcer then introduce Marc Summers.

Two teams of two kids each competed for cash and prizes. Originally, both teams wore red uniforms, but after it began in 1988, one team would wear red and the other, blue.

Host Marc Summers typically explained the rules of the game as follows:

I'm going to ask you a question, and if you don't know the answer, or think the other team hasn't got a clue, you can dare them to answer it for double the dollars. But be careful, because they can always double dare you back for four times the amount, and then you'll either have to answer the question or take the physical challenge.

Each round began with a toss-up challenge in which both teams competed. The winner received $20 USD and control of the round. Summers would begin the round by asking trivia questions to the team that won control in the toss-up challenge. A correct answer would earn money and maintain control of the round; an incorrect response would give the other team control and, if a Dare or Double Dare was in play, the money as well.


Double Dare and Super Sloppy Double Dare
Round Toss-Up Normal Question Dare Double Dare
1 $20 $10 $20 $40
2 $40 $20 $40 $80
Family Double Dare (1988)
Round Toss-Up Normal Question Dare Double Dare
1 $50 $25 $50 $100
2 $100 $50 $100 $200
Family Double Dare (1990-1993) and Double Dare 2000
Round Toss-Up Normal Question Dare Double Dare
1 $25 $25 $50 $100
2 $50 $50 $100 $200

Physical challenges

Physical challenges were stunts, usually messy, that a team had to perform in a specified time, usually 20 or 30 seconds, although occasionally 10 or 15 seconds. All physical challenges on Double Dare 2000 were 30 seconds in length, unless a time reduction was in play.

Some physical challenges involved players having to dump a bucket of liquid on themselves, for example milk as pictured above.

Most challenges involved filling a container past a line with one of a variety of substances: water, uncooked rice, green slime, whipped cream, and "a milk-like substance", to name a few. Others involved catching a certain number of items before time ran out. For example, during "Pie in the Pants," a contestant had to catch 3 or 4 pies in a pair of oversized clown pants within the specified time limit.

Completing the stunt won the team money and control of the game; otherwise the money and control went to the opposing team.

Double Dare 2000 introduced the "Triple Dare Challenge." Available only in round two, this allowed a team to make their physical challenge more difficult in exchange for triple the dare amount ($300) and a bonus prize. Sometimes this included reducing the time limit (turning a 30-second challenge into a 20-second one), adding an extra item to the stunt (catching 5 pies instead of 4), or increasing the overall difficulty of the stunt (blindfolding the players). If the team did not successfully complete the challenge, the money, the bonus prize, and control of the game went to their opponents.

Obstacle course

The team with the highest score at the end of round two went on to the final challenge of the game, the obstacle course. Regardless of the outcome, both teams keep the money they have obtained with $100 being the house minimum ($200 on Double Dare 2000 and $500 on the FOX version of Family Double Dare). If a tie occurs at the end of the game, both teams advance to the obstacle course, which only occurred once on "Double Dare 2000".

The course consisted of eight obstacles which had to be completed within 60 seconds (61 seconds on NBA Allstar Double Dare, 65 seconds on the Christmas episode of the original Double Dare, and 99 seconds in a course run by Summers and Harvey[2]). Each obstacle had an orange flag either at the end of or hidden within it. One team member would start at the first obstacle and upon completion, pass its flag to his partner, who would then move on to the second obstacle. The team would continue to alternate like this until they completed the course or until time ran out, whichever came first.

The team won a prize for each obstacle completed, escalating in value up to a grand prize for completing the entire course. In the original and Super Sloppy versions, the grand prize was usually a vacation or a scholarship to United States Space Camp, and each member of the team got identical prizes. In FOX Family Double Dare, as well as the first season of the Nickelodeon run, the grand prize was a car. In 1992, the prize was changed back to a vacation; however, the family that won the tournament held that season had the chance to run the Obstacle Course for a car (see below).

In the FOX run of Family Double Dare, the prize for the seventh obstacle was a cash jackpot that began at $2,000 and increased by $500 for each consecutive episode it was not claimed.


Super Sloppy Double Dare (1987)

The format of Super Sloppy Double Dare copied that of the original program. Launched in 1987, it aired on the weekends on Nickelodeon. This incarnation featured a home viewer contest during physical challenges, with Summers taking a postcard from a large plastic box behind his lectern. The viewer would receive a prize if the team won the physical challenge, and a T-shirt (regardless of the outcome). This version was filmed at Unitel Studios in New York.

Super Sloppy Double Dare (1989)

To compete with other children's game shows at the time, the format returned to the air (minus the home viewer contest) in February 1989 with the physical challenges and obstacle course mostly designed to make the biggest mess possible. This newly revamped Super Sloppy Double Dare filmed from WHYY's Forum Theatre for approximately the first 50 episodes which were the final syndicated episodes, eventually to moving to Universal Studios in Florida to film the approximately 50 remaining episodes of this version, which aired when the show returned to Nickelodeon in the fall of 1989. Many special "theme shows" were taped during the 1989 run, including "Salute to Baseball", "Backwards Day", "Marc vs. Harvey" (with guest host Jim J. Bullock), and many more.

Since there were two different locations for this one version, there were noticeable set changes between the Philadelphia and Orlando-taped episodes:

In Philadelphia, the timer always displayed "00" when not in use (as typical of the original Double Dare). The background behind the center stage was colored blue-to-red vertically. In Orlando, the timer displayed the "Super Sloppy Double Dare" logo when not in use, and turned around to show the timer's digits when needed for a physical challenge/obstacle course. Also, the contestants' lectern triangles were not lit in the center (this would also mark the last time the lecterns contained the colored triangles for any version of the show). Finally, the background ran horizontally in various colors.

Family Double Dare

Family Double Dare (1988) logo

Family Double Dare premiered on Fox on April 3, 1988, and moved to its regular Saturday night slot that week. This version featured two teams of four: two kids with two parents. The same rules used for the regular version of Double Dare applied, but more money was at stake. (See Scoring above.)

Family Double Dare ended its Fox run in July 1988 after 13 episodes. After the first order of episodes were produced, Fox insisted upon producing specials, such as WWF Wrestlers vs. Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Since Viacom (unlike the "kids" version, which was produced by Nickelodeon and syndicated by Viacom, the Fox version was co-produced by Nickelodeon & Viacom's own production arms) wanted to keep it a kid-related show, they refused the idea. When an argument struck between the two stations, Nickelodeon walked out on Fox, ending its production. Nickelodeon resumed production in 1990, and finally canceled it in 1992.

The final season of the Nickelodeon run ended with a Tournament of Champions. The two teams with the highest scores of the season, along with the two teams with the fastest obstacle course times, were invited back to participate in the special hour-long final episode in a battle of "Brains vs. Brawn". The two "Brains" (high scoring teams) played each other in one eight-minute round of Double Dare sans the Obstacle Course; an eight-minute round with the "Brawns" (fastest obstacle course completion times) team immediately followed. The winning families from these two games then faced each other in a final full-length game (labeled "Brains vs. Brawn") to determine the grand champion, who won a large trophy and the right to run the Obstacle Course one final time for a car. The winning family, whose team moniker was "Granite Toast", indeed won the car at the end of the show.Family Double Dare reruns continued up to February 1999 on Nickelodeon. From Feb 1999 until November 1, 2005 Family Double Dare was on Nick GaS daily.

Celebrity Double Dare

A 1988 pilot, Celebrity Double Dare was produced by Ron Greenberg and featured celebrity team captains to adult contestants; it was hosted by Bruce Jenner, with Bob Hilton announcing. The format was also slightly different: questions had two possible answers, with each team member giving one, and teams did not keep control after correctly answering a question. The obstacle course was basically the same, except the players hit a buzzer after completing each obstacle rather than grabbing a flag, and a new car was the grand prize (and they had to hit seven buzzers in 90 seconds). The team that made it to the obstacle course on this version won the grand prize. This version was never picked up.

Super Special Double Dare

Super Special Double Dare is a short series of special Double Dare episodes featuring celebrities, sport teams or cast members from other Nickelodeon shows. These episodes used two teams of four contestants, with all winnings going to charity. One Special was NBA All Star Double Dare and the other was just entitled Super Special Double Dare with the Girls from Clarissa/Welcome Freshmen vs. the boys. 2 civilian kids were also on each team. On NBA All Star Double Dare the time on the Obstacle Course was 61 seconds, and the team that made it to the obstacle course won the grand prize.

Double Dare 2000

Double Dare 2000
Format Children's game show
Created by Geoffrey Darby
Dee LaDuke
Michael Klinghoffer
Robert Mittenthal
Presented by Jason Harris
Narrated by Tiffany Phillips
Country of origin  United States
No. of episodes 65
Location(s) Orlando, Florida
Running time 23 minutes
Original channel Nickelodeon
Picture format NTSC (480i)
1080i (5 episodes)
Original run January 22, 2000 – September 10, 2000
External links
Official website

Double Dare 2000 was the revived version of the show, which premiered on January 24, 2000. Jason Harris hosted this version of the show; original host Marc Summers was the executive consultant. Double Dare 2000 followed the Family Double Dare format with a revamped set and bigger physical challenges. It also featured the new "Triple Dare Challenge" option in round two (which would be worth $300 and an additional prize), introduced "goooze", and referred to the obstacle course as the "Slopstacle Course". Five episodes were shot in high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 16:9 as a promotion for sponsor Sony. Double Dare 2000 was canceled in December 2000. During the "back to" and "up next" bumpers of Double Dare 2000 on Nick GAS, the show's tagline is The Mess For The New Millennium. Nick GAS went off-air at the end of 2007, currently broadcasting only a small selection of Double Dare 2000 episodes on TurboNick, an internet exclusive.

Set changes

Throughout the show's run, the set maintained a basic structure. The main part of the game was played on a stage with the host's lectern at center and a timer mounted above. The contestant lecterns with scoreboards behind them were set at an angle on either side of the host. Space was provided in front of all the lecterns for physical challenges, and the obstacle course had space in front of that. Over time, aesthetic changes were made to the set, including:

The glass screen behind Summers was introduced in 1988
  • A glass block wall with lights behind them, similar to those behind the contestants' lecterns, was installed behind the host's lectern in 1988. This first appeared on the Fox run of Family Double Dare, was used during the 2nd half of syndicated run of Double Dare, and remained throughout the run until 1993.
  • From 1986-1987, a blue triangle was on the front of both contestant lecterns. When the show entered syndication in 1988, the triangle on the Red team's lectern changed to match their respective color. On both the Fox and Nickelodeon versions of Family Double Dare and Super Special Double Dare, the show's logo appeared in the place of a triangle on the contestant lecterns.
  • From 1986-1988 the physical challenge floor was on the same level as the lecterns, but was set two steps below the lecterns during the 1989 run of Super Sloppy Double Dare. Episodes taped in Philadelphia had the physical challenge floor on the same level as the obstacle course. When the show moved to Orlando, the physical challenge and obstacle course floors became separated by one step as two different floors, essentially creating a stage with three different levels.
  • The original 3-digit triangular scoreboards were tall and featured a vane-style dollar sign underneath the score and were both red. Eventually, the encircled "DD" logo replaced the dollar sign and the scoreboards were slightly shortened, which allowed the contestants and the score to be visible in the same shot. The blue scoreboard was added during the first Super Sloppy Double Dare run and returned at the beginning of the syndicated run of Double Dare to match their respective color. A rectangular, 4-digit scoreboard was introduced in the Fox run of Family Double Dare to accommodate potential scores of $1,000 or more. Nickelodeon's Family Double Dare initially used the 3-digit scoreboards until a team won the game with $1,050 (only "050" ended up appearing on the scoreboard).
  • The timer rotated on the Fox version of Family Double Dare and in the 1992 season of the Nickelodeon run of Family Double Dare and the Orlando episodes of Super Sloppy Double Dare. When not in use, the timer displayed the series logo (earlier, it displayed "00").

The Fox run of Family Double Dare made a few set changes never seen on other versions:

  • The timer had no chase lights around the digits.
  • The set's chase lights were covered.
  • The familiar yellow/purple checkerboard scheme was removed entirely; a confetti scheme replaced it.
  • The host and contestant lecterns were all plain yellow, except for the top portions which remained light blue.

Double Dare 2000 featured some notable changes to the set:

  • A four-panel video screen was set behind the host's lectern, and was used to display the show logo and the timer.
  • The scoreboards were oval-shaped and used light-emitting diodes (LEDs). In early episodes, the studio lights drowned out the LEDs, particularly on the blue team's side. This made the numbers hard to read on screen.
  • There were no chase lights on the set. Instead, a wall with randomly placed lights was used behind the host lectern.
  • The contestant lecterns were asymmetrical.


All of the original Double Dare music was composed by Edd Kalehoff (who earlier composed the theme for the 1976-1977 version of Goodson-Todman's Double Dare) and was basically the same throughout the show's run with some minor changes to the music.

From 1986-1988, the music had a synth lead. From 1988 - starting with FOX Family Double Dare and the 2nd half of the syndicated run of Double Dare through the end of the run - all music was remixed with a horn lead (however, the 1986 variation theme was used for the opening from 1988-1990).

For Double Dare 2000, the music was composed by Rick Witkowski with a surfer feel for the show; however, the theme song had the same melody from the original.

Episode status

All versions and episodes of Double Dare still exist and have been seen on Nick GAS. One episode of the FOX version of Family Double Dare aired on Nick GAS. However, for the final two years of the channel's existence, the only version of Double Dare to air was Double Dare 2000.

With the conversion of the Nick GAS channel to "the N" format on December 31, 2007, Double Dare and all of its revivals are no longer reran on the network. Current ownership of the series is split between Viacom (all original episodes from 1986-1987, the 1987 "Super Sloppy" version, and all episodes from 1989-1993 [1987-1989 episodes were reruns]) & CBS Television Distribution (entire syndicated run). The FOX version is co-owned by the two companies.

Double Dare: The Inside Scoop

The Inside Scoop, a 1988 release under the "Nick Video" brand, explained the conception of Double Dare and featured clips from its early years. Included are Summers' host audition, and clips of the original pilot with Geoffrey Darby as host and a very basic set.

The video also includes unused footage from the very first episode taped of the series, which aired September 18, 1986. Four successive re-takes were needed on the first item of the Obstacle Course, aptly titled "Nightmare"; while the object was simple — finding the flag hidden within a giant pillow — the flag itself was not in the pillow at all for the first two takes. For the third take, not only did the clock not start, but one of the show's cameramen accidentally fell, blocking the contestants' progress. The fourth take is the one seen in the episode as aired.[3]


Double Dare's popularity led to a variety of products made available for sale.

Games and toys

  • Double Dare home game (tie-in with first version of Super Sloppy Double Dare), 1987
  • Double Dare LCD handheld games ("Pie in the Pants," "Balloon Buster," and "Flying Sundaes"), 1988
  • Double Dare jigsaw puzzle, 1988
  • Double Dare computer game (C64, IBM, ZX Spectrum and Apple versions), 1989
  • Wet 'n Wild Double Dare home game (tie-in with second version of Super Sloppy Double Dare), 1989
  • Double Dare yo-yo, 1989
  • Super Sloppy Double Dare pinball machine, 1989
  • Double Dare video game (NES), 1990
  • Double Dare 2000: the Game (tie-in with Double Dare 2000), 2001
  • Goooze, a gooey substance replicating the slime used on the show.


  • T-shirts, available in retail stores and on Double Dare Live Tour stops
  • belt buckles
  • painter's caps, available on Double Dare Live Tour stops
  • pajamas

Home videos

  • Double Dare: The Messiest Moments, 1988
  • Double Dare: The Inside Scoop, 1988
  • How to Throw a Double Dare Party, 1989
  • Double Dare: Super Sloppiest Moments, 1994


  • The Double Dare Game Book, by Daniella Burr, 1988
  • The All-New Double Dare Game Book, by Daniella Burr, 1989

School supplies

  • Double Dare lunchbox, featuring the Dueling D's on the Sundae Slide, 1988
  • Double Dare folders, 1988


  • Marc Summers (host 1986-1993; producer 1992-1993; executive consultant 2000)
  • John Harvey ("Harvey," announcer, 1986-1992)
  • Robin Marella (stage assistant, 1986-1993)
  • Dave Shikiar (stage assistant, 1986-1989)
  • Greg Lee (contestant coordinator, 1986-1991)
  • Doc Holliday (announcer, 1992-1993)
  • Jason Harris (host, 2000)
  • Tiffany Phillips (announcer, 2000)
  • Edd Kalehoff (composer, 1986-1993)
  • Rick Witkowski (composer, 2000)
  • Brad Barat (talent scout, 1986-1991)

International versions

On all international versions of the show (except for Brazil, Canada, and India), teams play for points rather than cash due to specific laws stating that contestants under the age of 18 can't win money on a game show.


A French language version hosted by Gilles Payer, called Double Défi, aired on TVA in Quebec from 1989-1991. The set was identical to the US show.

The Netherlands

A Dutch language version called DD Show was broadcast by TROS. Host: Norbert Netten.


The German version Drops! was broadcast by Sat.1 from April 1991 to the end of 1992 every Sunday and every Saturday morning in 1993.

The show's title was an acronym which was explained by an off-voice in every show intro: "D wie denken, R wie raten, O wie O, P wie Preise, S wie Sieg" (translated - "D like thinking, R like guessing, O like the letter O, P like prizes, S like victory").

United Kingdom

A BBC version was part of a Saturday-morning block of programming called Going Live with Peter Simon as host and Nick Wilton as announcer. Peter became famous on this show for constantly falling down during Physical Challenges and the Obstacle Course.

Celebrity (though it used kids and not adults like America's Celebrity Double Dare pilot did) and family versions (with two-person teams instead of four) have also been made for the network.


The series aired on Network Ten from 1989-1992 with a set identical to the US show; while the music was the same, it was used differently.

The hosts were Gerry Sont, followed by Tom Jennings, and then finally Simon Watt (who served as announcer during the Sont and Jennings runs); when Watt took over as host, Margie Nunn became the announcer.

A version of Family Double Dare was attempted, but although lasting for only three episodes it marked the debut of veteran emcee Larry Emdur. Simon Watt also announced this version.

Five Sont-era episodes were taped for broadcast in the United States with the tagline "G'day U.S.A.!" One special Jennings-era episode featured an American team and an Australian team playing for the Kangaroo Cup.


A Portuguese language version called Passa ou Repassa (Pass or Repass) aired on SBT from 1987-2000. Family, celebrity, and school versions were also produced. This program had a moment named "Torta na Cara" (Pie on the Face) where the teams would face off answering questions. The contestant who answered incorrectly received a pie in the face from his or her opponent.

This version had several hosts, with Augusto Liberato (or "Gugu") being the most popular and longest-running (the other hosts were Brazilian TV legend Silvio Santos, "Angelica", and Celso Portioli).


Nickelodeon India's version is called Nick Dum Duma Dum. It began in 2004 and uses the Family Double Dare format. The show is hosted by Vrajesh Hirjee, a popular film and TV actor.


  1. ^ The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows: 1946-Present by Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh
  2. ^ Double Dare, The Inside Scoop video
  3. ^ Double Dare: A Real "Nightmare" (begins at 5:22)

External links


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