Double Dare History and Info

Back in September of 1986, no one involved with Double Dare had any idea of what lay ahead for this low budget children's game show. A show that would go from buckets, seltzer, and eggs would be using props worth thousands of dollars in a few short years. No one could have known that their host, a little known broadcaster named Marc Summers, would become one of the most recognizable faces on television but inside be feeling discomfort with the show that made him a star.

With the phrase "On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!" a television staple was born on September 18, 1986. Double Dare originated from WHYY studios in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a PBS station. From the very first episode, it was clear that Double Dare was a games how like no other. Mixing the concept of trivia, stunts, and mess Double Dare was a runaway hit. The program would triple Nickelodeon's ratings and put the network on the map. Along with host, Marc Summers, the show had announcer (John) Harvey and stage assistants Dave Shikiar and Robin Marrella. There was great chemistry among the cast from the beginning; something seen on very few game shows. They weren't just a host, an announcer, and stagehands, you got the feeling that they were friends. This created a happy go lucky set, and also helped the show to become a hit.

In 1987, Nickelodeon created a special version of Double Dare for weekends known as Super Sloppy Double Dare. This version of Double Dare was shot at Unitel Studios in New York City. Super Sloppy Double Dare wasn't much different from Double Dare except for a few changes. The left contestant podium had a blue score board, but the contestants wore the red t-shirts. There was a new segment in which a viewer’s letter was chosen and if the contestants completed a physical challenge, the viewer won a prize. In fact, the only thing "super sloppy" about the show was the title. There was only one season of Super Sloppy Double Dare, but it was a pretty good one.

In 1988 the newly formed FOX Television Network bought the syndication rights to Double Dare. New episodes of Double Dare were shot with a few changes. Instead of having two teams in red, a blue team was add to the left contestant podium. This made it easier for viewers, and Marc to distinguish which team was which. A second group of episodes was shot in 1988 with the screen behind Marc's podium replaced by tiled glass. The 1988 season of Double Dare also brought another commercial break to the show, which was usually after the first physical challenge in round 1. This is probably my favorite season of the original Double Dare, because of the slickness and smooth run of the program. You can really tell they had the kinks worked out of the show by this point.

Also in 1988, FOX got a bright idea, to create a new version of Double Dare incorporating the whole family. Thus, Family Double Dare was born. This version of Double Dare by far the most different of all. The set was changed completely. The peanut shapes were removed from the podiums. New wall tiles were added, and the tile colors on the contest podium walls were switched. Formal attire was given to cast, and the show was added to FOX's primetime lineup. Though the show was terrific, it didn't last long. It was cancelled after 13 episodes.

In 1989, Double Dare was still getting high ratings, and Nickelodeon executives decided to reincarnate a Double Dare classic. Thus, Super Sloppy Double Dare was reborn. This time the title was accurate. The show was super and sloppy. This was in part because of the new studio at WHYY Super Sloppy Double Dare was given. A "sunken" stunt stage was added making it easier to do messy stunts and clean up during the show. Later in 1989, Nickelodeon's new home at Universal Studios Orlando, Florida was ready to be the home of Super Sloppy Double Dare. The show moved to it's new home and shot another fifty episodes.

By 1990 Double Dare seemed to be everywhere: games, videos, books, lunch boxes, yo-yos and even pinball machines. Nickelodeon decided it was time for Family Double Dare to have rebirth, this time under their terms. The Super Sloppy Double Dare set was converted for the new show and in 1990 a season of episodes was shot. Family Double Dare pretty much identical to Super Sloppy Double Dare, except for the family concept. The show took a hiatus in 1991 so Marc could host a new show for Nickelodeon, What Would You Do?. The cast and crew gathered again in 1992 for another season of Family Double Dare, but one cast member was missing. (John) Harvey decided to miss the 1992 season to be with his wife and newborn son, Caleb. Harvey was replaced by Doc Holiday. The 1992 season saw some change to the set. The glass tile color was much darker, and the podiums lost most of their peanuts. The 1992 season was to end with a Tournament of Champions, which vied the smartest team against the fastest team. The 1992 season was to be the last.

After 7 seasons and over 500 episodes, Double Dare came to an end. The faded into perpetual reruns on Nickelodeon until 1999 and currently on Nick Games and Sports (Nick GAS). Though a new version of Double Dare, the highly anticipated and surprisingly short lived, Double Dare 2000 appeared in January 2000, it failed to capture the audience the original did. No one could have thought in 1986 what a global phenomenon Double Dare would become. I still enjoy the program to this day, and it's thanks to good casting, a good crew, and the mess they created. I know that when I get old and gray I will think back to the days of Double Dare, and smile.

Double Dare: Broadcast History

Double Dare

Original Run: 1986 - 1988
Syndication: 1988 - 1989
Repeats: 1988 - 1991
Nick GAS: 1999 - Present

Super Sloppy Double Dare (I)

Original Run: 1987
Nick GAS: 1999 - Present

Fox Family Double Dare

Original Run: 1988 (FOX)
Nick GAS: 1999 - Present (Occasional)

Super Sloppy Double Dare

Original Run: 1989
Repeats: 1989 - 1993 and 1995
Nick GAS: 1999 - Present

Family Double Dare

Original Run: 1990 - 1992
Repeats: 1992 - 1999
Nick GAS: 1999 - Present

Double Dare: Scoring Procedure

Version Round 1 Dollar Values Round 2 Dollar Values
Double Dare (1986-1988) Toss Up: $20, Question Value: $10, Physical Challenge: $40 Toss Up: $40, Question Value: $20, Physical Challenge: $80
Super Sloppy Double Dare (1987) Toss Up: $20, Question Value: $10, Physical Challenge: $40 Toss Up: $40, Question Value: $20, Physical Challenge: $80
Fox Family Double Dare (1988) Toss Up: $50, Question Value: $25, Physical Challenge: $100 Toss Up: $100, Question Value: $50, Physical Challenge: $200
Super Sloppy Double Dare(1989) Toss Up: $20, Question Value: $10, Physical Challenge: $40 Toss Up: $40, Question Value: $20, Physical Challenge: $80
Family Double Dare (1990 - 1992) Toss Up: $25, Question Value: $25, Physical Challenge: $100 Toss Up: $50, Question Value: $50, Physical Challenge: $200


* When a team Dared, the question value doubled, and if the other team Double Dared them back it double again. They could answer or take the physical challenge.

* Note the change in toss up values between Fox Family Double Dare (1988) and Family Double Dare (1990 - 1992). I'd rather play on the FOX Version.

* When Nickelodeon reincarnated Family Double Dare, they kept the three digit score boards. They soon found a family beating the $975 mark, causing them to replace them with a four digit board soon into the 1990 season.