Double Dare (Nickelodeon game show)

This article is about the children's game show. For the unrelated game show that aired on CBS, see Double Dare (CBS game show).
Double Dare
Also known as ''Super Sloppy Double Dare (1987, 1989)
Family Double Dare (1988, 1990–93)
Double Dare 2000 (2000)
Created by Geoffrey Darby
Michael Klinghoffer
Dee LaDuke
Robert Mittenthal
Presented by Marc Summers (1986–93)
Jason Harris (2000)
Narrated by Harvey (1986–92)
Doc Holliday (1992–93)
Tiffany Phillips (2000)
Opening theme "On Your Mark"[1]
Composer(s) Edd Kalehoff
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 7 (1986–93)
2 (2000)
No. of episodes 525 (1986–93)[2]
67 (2000)
Location(s) WHYY Television Studios Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1986–89)
Manhattan, New York (1987)
Nickelodeon Studios, Orlando, Florida (1989–92, 2000)
Running time 21–24 minutes
Production company(s) Nickelodeon
Distributor Fox Television Stations (1988–89)
Viacom (1988–89, 2000)
Original network Nickelodeon (1986–87; 1990; 1992–93; 2000)
Syndication (1988–89)
Fox (1988)
Picture format NTSC (480i)
Original release Double Dare &
Super Sloppy Double Dare

October 6, 1986 (1986-10-06)–March 15, 1991 (1991-03-15)
February 22, 1988 (1988-02-22)–September 8, 1989 (1989-09-08) (syndication)
Family Double Dare
April 3, 1988 (1988-04-03)–July 23, 1988 (1988-07-23) (Fox)
August 13, 1990 (1990-08-13)–February 6, 1993 (1993-02-06)
Double Dare 2000
January 24, 2000 (2000-01-24) – November 10, 2000 (2000-11-10) (Nickelodeon)

Double Dare is a children's game show, originally hosted by Marc Summers, that aired on Nickelodeon. Two teams compete to win cash and prizes by answering trivia questions and completing messy stunts known as "physical challenges."


Main game

Each team consisted of two children. Originally, both teams wore red uniforms, but after Double Dare entered syndication in 1988, one team wore blue uniforms while the other wore red (Finders Keepers, a Nickelodeon game show that premiered one year after Double Dare, played a role in this change). Each team received their own name (except for on the original Fox version of Family Double Dare, in which the teams were simply designated by the families' respective last names). Even though this was the case, the host usually called both teams "The Red Team" and "The Blue Team."

Each round began with a toss-up challenge in which both teams competed, with the winning team receiving both initial control of the round and money as shown below. After the toss-up, the host began asking trivia questions to the team in control. Each correct answer awarded money and allowed the team to maintain control, while a miss or a failure to respond within a given time turned control over to the opponents. However, the team could dare their opponents to answer the question, doubling its value; in response, the opponents could double-dare for quadruple the original value. When the team in control received a double dare, they had to either answer or compete in a physical challenge. An incorrect answer on a dare or double dare awarded both control and the appropriate amount of money to the team that issued it.

After the toss-up challenge at the start of the first round, Summers explained the rules 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 have to either answer that question or take the physical challenge.


Version Toss-Up Normal
Dare Double Dare/
Physical Challenge
Triple Dare
Double Dare $20 $10 $20 $40 N/A
Super Sloppy Double Dare
Family Double Dare (1988) $50 $25 $50 $100
Family Double Dare (1990–93) $25
Double Dare 2000 $300 +
Bonus Prize

All values were doubled during the second round. The Triple Dare Challenge was only available during a second-round physical challenge on Double Dare 2000.

Physical challenges

A physical challenge showing two teams having to put inflated balloons into jumpsuits

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 due to the Triple Dare Challenge.

Most challenges involved filling a container past a line with one of a variety of substances: water, uncooked rice, green slime, whipped cream, milk, etc. Others involved catching a certain number of items before time ran out. For example, during "Pie in the Pants," a contestant had to catch a set number of pies in a pair of oversized clown pants within the specified time limit, while his/her teammate launched them from a foot-operated catapult at the opposite end of the stage.

The team won money and retained control for completing the stunt; otherwise, the money and control went to their opponents.

On Double Dare and Super Sloppy Double Dare, both contestants of a team competed in all physical challenges. On the 1988 version of Family Double Dare, all four members of a team compete in the challenges. On the 1990–93 version of Family Double Dare and on Double Dare 2000, two members of a team competed in round one, and all four members competed in round two.

Double Dare 2000 introduced the "Triple Dare Challenge." Available only in round two, this allowed a team to make their physical challenge more difficult, increasing its value to $300 (instead of $200) and putting a bonus prize at stake. 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 more pies), or increasing the overall difficulty of the stunt (blindfolding the contestants or requiring the contestants involved to use only one hand). The actual modifier was not revealed unless the team decided to accept the Triple Dare Challenge. If the team did not successfully complete the challenge, the money, prize, and control went to their opponents.

Obstacle Course

The team with the highest score at the end of round two went on to the bonus round, the obstacle course (renamed the Slopstacle Course for Double Dare 2000). If there was a tie, both teams ran the course. This only happened once (on Double Dare 2000). Regardless of the outcome, both teams kept all money earned. A house minimum of $100 was instituted in 1987; Double Dare 2000 and the Fox version of Family Double Dare used minimums of $200 and $500, respectively.

The course consisted of eight obstacles which had to be completed within 60 seconds. Each obstacle had an orange flag either at its end or hidden within it. One team member ran the first obstacle, then passed its flag to his/her partner (or the next team member in line on Family Double Dare and Double Dare 2000), who then moved on to the next obstacle. The team continued to alternate in this manner until they completed the course or until time ran out. For safety reasons, team members were given helmets and elbow/knee pads to wear while running the course.

The team won a prize for each obstacle completed, escalating in value up to a grand prize for completing the entire course. On 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 received identical prizes. All eight prizes were usually worth a total of between $3,000 to $4,000, with some episodes featuring a prize package worth upwards of $10,000. On the Fox version of Family Double Dare, as well as the first season of the Nickelodeon run, the grand prize was a car (making all eight prizes usually worth over $15,000 [$20,000 during the Fox version]). In the final season, the grand prize was changed to a vacation (making all eight prizes usually worth over $5,000); however, the family that won the tournament held that season had the chance to run the Obstacle Course for a car.

On the Fox version of Family Double Dare (1988), the seventh obstacle offered a cash prize that was worth an amount ranging from $2,500 to $5,000.



Marc Summers served as host for all episodes from 1986–93. Additionally, Summers received a credit as producer in 1992, and as an executive consultant for Double Dare 2000. John Harvey ("Harvey") served as announcer from 1986–92, with Doc Holliday replacing him in 1992. Jason Harris hosted Double Dare 2000, and Tiffany Phillips served as announcer for that version of the program.

Several stage assistants appeared on-camera and assisted in setting up physical challenges and/or obstacles, including Robin Marella (1986–93), Dave Shikiar (1986–89), Jamie Bojanowski (1990–92), and Chris Miles (1992–93). Greg Lee, who later went on to host Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?, was a contestant coordinator from 1986–90.


All of the original Double Dare music was composed by Edd Kalehoff (who, coincidentally, had earlier composed the theme for Goodson-Todman's unrelated 1976–77 game show Double Dare) and was basically the same throughout the show's run with some minor changes to the music. The main theme also made a very brief appearance in The Lego Movie.

From 1986–88, 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 1988–90).

For Double Dare 2000, the music was composed by former Crack the Sky guitarist Rick Witkowski. However, the theme song had the same arrangement from the original. Witkowski had previously composed music for Nickelodeon Guts and Figure it Out.


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.

Double Dare's popularity led to a variety of products made available for sale. In addition to games and toys, T-shirts, hats and other apparel was sold featuring the show's logo. Lunch boxes and folders with scenes and the show's logo were also marketed to schoolchildren.

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 video game (NES), 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 2000: the Game (tie-in with Double Dare 2000), 2001
  • Goooze, a gooey substance replicating the slime used on the show.

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
  • Nickelodeon Games and Sports: All-Star Collection, 2015
  • The Double Dare Game Book, by Daniella Burr, 1988
  • The All-New Double Dare Game Book, by Daniella Burr, 1989

Broadcast history

Double Dare first aired on Nickelodeon on October 6, 1986, and new episodes aired Monday through Friday through January 2, 1987. Production initially originated at the studios of the PBS affiliate WHYY-TV in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the 65-episode first season was recorded in a 23-day period from September to October 1986.[3] After the success of the first 65 episodes, a second 65-episode season was ordered.[4] These were taped from January to February 1987.[5]

A short-lived, 40-episode Sunday morning edition titled Super Sloppy Double Dare was taped near the end of July 1987,[6] and began airing on August 2, 1987.[7] Super Sloppy Double Dare featured gameplay identical to the original format; however, physical challenges and obstacles were designed to make a larger mess. Viewers were encouraged to send in a post card with their contact information and could win a prize if their card was selected and a team performing a physical challenge completed the stunt successfully.[8][9] Episodes of the original Super Sloppy Double Dare were taped in New York City before production moved back to WHYY-TV.

In the fall of 1987, Fox announced they had partnered with Viacom to purchase the distribution rights to the program. New episodes of Double Dare aired in syndication on independent stations and affiliates of the Fox Network from February 22, 1988 to September 8, 1989.[10] There were 130 first-run syndication episodes in 1988.[11] Fox also produced a 13-episode Saturday night edition titled Family Double Dare, which aired from April 3, 1988 to July 23, 1988. Teams on this version consisted of four family members, most often a mother and father and two children. The prizes featured during the obstacle course often totaled over $20,000, and frequently the prize for the eighth obstacle was a new car.[12][13]

On January 23, 1989[10] following a sneak preview episode that aired on Super Bowl weekend, a new version of Super Sloppy Double Dare premiered in syndication, with the first half originating from Philadelphia at the WHYY Forum Theater and the second half originating at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.[10] This version of the show had a bigger set that had its own floor for toss ups and physical challenges due to their (usually) large size as well the bigger messes these challenges made. There were many new obstacles in the obstacle course that were large in size as well. Some include "Gum Drop" (which looked like a huge gumball machine), and "Kid Farm" (which looked like a huge ant farm). While new episodes were airing in first-run syndication, reruns of many of the 1986–89 kids' version episodes continued to air on Nickelodeon until March 15, 1991.[10]

Family Double Dare returned to Nickelodeon on August 13, 1990.[10] The cash obstacle was removed, but the car was retained as the grand prize, which was later replaced by a trip. Nickelodeon produced the series at Nickelodeon Studios in Orlando. The series continued until early 1993 and aired during weekend evenings. The original broadcasts were reruns of the Fox version, following which Nickelodeon launched its own version of Family Double Dare on weekends in September 1990. Production began in July 1990 and ended in July 1992.[14] This series taped at Nickelodeon Studios and ended its run on February 6, 1993 with a one-hour Tournament of Champions episode. Approximately 80 episodes (40 for each season) were taped, along with 2 Super Special episodes in February 1992.[14]

A short-lived version titled Super Special Double Dare aired in early 1992 featuring episodes with 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 consisted of the cast from both Clarissa Explains it All and Welcome Freshmen paired with two civilian contestants. Another special was titled NBA All Star Double Dare.

Double Dare 2000 premiered on January 24, 2000 (following a sneak preview episode on the 22nd), and continued to air new episodes until November 10, 2000. 41 episodes were filmed in January 2000, with an additional 26 taped later that same year in July. 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), and referred to the obstacle course as the "Slopstacle Course". Five episodes were shot in widescreen HD in sponsor of electronic company Sony.

Double Dare logo used since 2012 for live productions

In April 2012, it was announced that the Nickelodeon Suites Resort Orlando in Orlando would be reviving Double Dare as a nightly live stage presentation, Double Dare Live.[15] As part of the "Studio Nick" feature of the hotel, shows are performed each night for families staying in the hotel. The show features elements and updates from the various versions of Double Dare, including remixed music, physical challenges and an obstacle course featuring obstacles, old and new, from Double Dare. Like the most recent formats of the program, eight contestants are selected to participate for the game-playing teams while additional audience members play additional physical challenges throughout the program. Previews of Double Dare Live began on May 21, 2012 with an official launch date of May 25. Participation in the program was exclusive to the hotel's guests. The production continued until Nickelodeon Suites Resort Orlando rebranded as a Holiday Inn on June 1, 2016.[16]

On July 22, 2016, special live editions of Double Dare produced by Nickelodeon and TeenNick's classic Nickelodeon block The Splat took place at San Diego Comic-Con International 2016. The event was live-streamed on The Splat's Facebook page. The week of July 25, 2016, The Splat aired a Double Dare-themed week featuring episodes and moments from the series' history and included edited versions of the Comic-Con games. These events mark original host Marc Summers' first Nickelodeon-sponsored involvement with the brand since Double Dare 2000.[17]

On October 6, 2016, Nickelodeon announced that Double Dare would be returning to television for a half-hour commemorative special celebrating the 30th anniversary of the show's premiere. The special included vintage footage, behind-the-scenes footage, and the new game recorded at San Diego Comic-Con 2016 played by cast members from All That. Marc Summers, announcer Harvey and stage assistant Robin Russo (née Marella) appeared in the special. The Double Dare Reunion Special aired on November 23, 2016 on Nick at Nite, with a special encore airing on The Splat.[18]

Double Dare: The Inside Scoop

Double Dare: The Inside Scoop
Directed by John Wilson
Produced by Nickelodeon
Written by Bob Anderson
Starring Marc Summers
Geoffrey Darby
Distributed by Kids Klassics
Release dates
Running time
45 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Inside Scoop, a 1988 release under the "Kids Klassics" 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 (taped September 18, 1986). Four takes were needed on the first item of the Obstacle Course, 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.

There are some naming conflicts with this video. Printed material and the opening titles refer to this as "The Inside Scoop", though Marc and Harvey refer to it as "The Inside Slop," which is also seen in the ending credits.

Episode status

All versions and episodes of Double Dare still exist and have been seen on Nick GAS, including one episode of the Fox version of Family Double Dare. Two of the episodes from the Fox version were also shown on The Splat during the show's anniversary.

On October 9, 2015, Double Dare debuted on The Splat programming block on TeenNick, making it the first time the original series is airing on a Viacom network since leaving Nick GaS in 2004. It currently airs on the block on an occasional basis.

Current ownership of the series is split between Nickelodeon (all original episodes from 1986–87, the 1987 "Super Sloppy" version, and all episodes from 1990–92; 1988–89 episodes were reruns) and CBS Television Distribution (entire syndicated run). The Fox version is co-owned by the two companies.

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 cash on a game show.

Country Name Host Announcer Channel Year aired
 Argentina Jugate Conmigo Cris Morena Telefe 1991–94
 Australia Double Dare Gerry Sont
Tom Jennings
Simon Watt
Simon Watt
Margie Nunn
Network Ten 1989–92
Family Double Dare Larry Emdur Simon Watt 1989
 Brazil Passa ou Repassa Silvio Santos (1987–88)
Gugu Liberato (1988–94)
Angélica (1995–96)
Celso Portiolli (1996–2000; 2013–present)
SBT 1987–2000
 Canada French Double Défi Gilles Payer Gino Chouinard TVA 1989–91
 France Double Dare! Nickelodeon France (2012 pilot only)
 Germany Drops! Jürgen Blaschke Sat.1 1991–94
 India Nick Dum Duma Dum Vrajesh Hirjee Nickelodeon India 2004
 Netherlands DD Show Norbert Netten Toine Stapelkamp TROS 1989–90
 United Kingdom Double Dare Peter Simon Nick Wilton BBC1 1987–92


  1. "Double Dare". Museum of Television Production Music. Retrieved 20 January 2016.(subscription required)
  2. Brooks, Tim (16 October 2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946–Present (9 ed.). Ballantine Books. ISBN 0345497732.
  3. Kolson, Ann (24 September 1986). "Trivia And Whipped Cream". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
  4. Video on YouTube
  5. "The Double Dare Story – 1/11/1987". The King of Funny Faces. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  6. Collins, Glenn (25 July 1987). "Children's Game Show Captures Audiences". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  7. New York Times; August 2, 1987 TV listings
  8. Shister, Gail (October 13, 1987). "Nickelodeon finds home in Philadelphia". Ocala Star-Banner.
  9. "The Slop Behind The 'Dare' Scene – Orlando Sentinel". 1989-04-27. Retrieved 2011-11-25.
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 David Schwartz, Steve Ryan & Fred Wostbrock, The Encyclopedia of TV Game $hows, Checkmark Books, 1999, pp. 60
  12. "Syndication Marketplace" (PDF). Broadcasting: 52. 1987. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
  13. "'Jeopardy!' champ wins by a not-so-trivial $1". 1987-11-23. Retrieved 2011-11-25.
  14. 1 2[]
  15. "Double Dare Live starts May 21 at the Nickelodeon Suites Resort". Orlando Informer. 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2012-05-22.
  16. "Double Dare Show in Orlando". Nick Hotel. Archived from the original on 2012-05-14. Retrieved 2009-05-22.
  17. "Nickelodeon's The Splat Brings Marc Summers Back for Double Dare Live Streaming Event Celebrating the Iconic Game Show's 30th Anniversary". Nick Press. 2016-07-06. Retrieved 2016-07-10.
  18. Gonzalez, Sandra (6 October 2016). "Nickelodeon's Double Dare gets new special". CNN Money. Cable News Network. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
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