Marc Summers

Marc Summers
Born Marc Berkowitz
(1951-11-11) November 11, 1951
Indianapolis, Indiana
Occupation Television personality, producer
Years active 1972–present
Notable credit(s) Double Dare (Nickelodeon)
What Would You Do? (Nickelodeon)
Unwrapped (Food Network)
The Next Food Network Star (Food Network)
Spouse(s) Alice Filous (m. 1974)
Children 2

Marc Summers (born Marc Berkowitz; November 11, 1951)[1] is an American television personality, comedian, game show host, producer, and talk show host. He is best known for hosting the Nickelodeon game show Double Dare, hosted Unwrapped on Food Network, and is currently the executive producer of Top the VHS Box Office.

Early career

Summers was born Marc Berkowitz in Indianapolis, Indiana.[1][2] He attended Westlane Middle School and North Central High School in Indianapolis and Grahm Junior College in Boston, Massachusetts. His early careers were as a radio disc jockey and a stand-up comedian; though he held various television production jobs before, Summers' career boosted in 1986, when Nickelodeon hired him as the host of Double Dare. Double Dare was syndicated within two years and had a brief broadcast network run in prime time as Nickelodeon Family Double Dare in 1988. The show's popularity led to other hosting jobs including the syndicated Couch Potatoes in 1989, and Nickelodeon's What Would You Do? in 1991. GSN chose him to host its original program WinTuition in 2002. He also had a rare dramatic performance in the Nickelodeon-produced Halloween program Mystery Magical Special, which also highlighted his skills as a stage magician. Summers also made celebrity guest rounds on other game shows including Scrabble, Super Password, Talk About, Lingo, To Tell the Truth, Win, Lose or Draw, and Hollywood Squares.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Summers appeared on television talk shows, including a stint on ABC television's Home Show. After Double Dare's cancellation in 1993, Summers co-hosted Our Home, a daily talk show aimed at homemakers, on Lifetime. Summers left Our Home after a couple of seasons to co-host another Lifetime talk show, Biggers & Summers.

On March 28, 2008, the Communication and Journalism Club of Coastal Carolina University presented Summers with the first annual Peach Cobbler Award and declared that day as "Marc Summers Day". The Peach Cobbler Award was modeled after Harvard's Hasty Pudding Award. The Peach Cobbler Award recognizes an individual and their accomplishments in the communication field. After the ceremony, Summers hosted a mock version of Double Dare on the university's campus.


During an interview with Dr. Eric Hollander on Biggers & Summers, Summers revealed that he has obsessive compulsive disorder. Summers went public about his condition on various television shows, including The Oprah Winfrey Show and The Today Show. In 1999, Summers produced a VHS video box set with Hollander about his experience, called Everything in Its Place: My Trials and Triumphs with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Summers also participated in a series of VHS videos for Freedom from Fear, a non-profit organization with the goal of addressing anxiety disorders and other related behavioral disorders.[3] Despite his OCD, he was able to interact fully with his fans and contestants on Double Dare to the point of even allowing himself to get slimed and shaking hands with contestants. Going public with his OCD cost Summers a job as host of a Hollywood Squares revival, and he was replaced by Tom Bergeron.[4]

In August 2012, Summers suffered severe head injuries in an accident in a Philadelphia taxicab equipped with a partition. Summers said, "Everything on the left side [of my face] from my eye socket down was just wiped out. My eye socket got all swollen. I'm having trouble seeing completely out of the left eye ... There's lots of VCR parts in my face. I was pretty lucky that I didn't have brain damage."[5]

In 2015, Summers stunned fans around Philadelphia when he spoke on The Preston and Steve Show (93.3, WMMR) about how he is "old school", but keeping things to himself, like his OCD, was "driving me nuts" and he didn't know who to talk to at the time he was diagnosed with the disorder. The hosts touched on his stint as a celebrity bartender at an event called "Striking Out Cancer" that past weekend, at which point Summers started to discuss his own illness in 2009 because he felt ready to do so. He said that he had "stomach problems" and had been in a lot of pain. Surgery to remove "17 1/2 inches of my small intestine" and a joke Summers told once he awoke from the anesthesia (quite literally, "Hey, doctor, do I have cancer?") revealed that he had cancer, a rare form of intestinal cancer (chronic lymphatic leukemia). The doctor recommended an oncologist in Los Angeles for Summers, and, in his words "the guy wanted to blast me full of chemo...'3 months of this, a couple months of that'...". Fearing the pain and illness which would come with chemotherapy, he went to another oncologist in Chicago, but was promptly misdiagnosed with mantel cell lymphoma and given 6 months to live. Summers called his wife in a panic, then his doctor in Los Angeles, who said he'd tested negative for mantel cell. The doctor also said he did not want to break medical protocol by calling the Chicago oncologist to give the proper diagnosis, angering Summers, so the call was made. When called, the Chicago oncologist denied telling Summers that he had mantel cell lymphoma. Disregarding the Chicago oncologist, Summers went to the University of Philadelphia for an actual second opinion, where the original diagnosis of chronic lymphatic leukemia was confirmed. Chemotherapy would go on for the next 2 years for him, which he described as "brutal". Being a stand-up comedian at heart, though, on the first night of treatment, Summers joked his way through a moment when a nurse recognized him as "the Nickelodeon guy" on a run back to the ER. Summers has had PET scans ever since his chemo finished, and as of 2016, he is in remission. [6]

Later career

During the 1990s, Summers continued work on television shows, each with varying success. He created and hosted the short-lived children's game show Pick Your Brain, co-hosted Great Day America on the PAX Network, produced I Can't Believe You Said That, and hosted It's a Surprise on Food Network.

Summers returned to Nickelodeon in 2000 as the executive consultant for Double Dare 2000, an updated version of his original show. Two years later, he was the executive producer for another Nickelodeon resurrection, Wild and Crazy Kids.

He returned to television as the host of more shows, including History IQ with his old announcer Harvey on the History Channel; the Food Network series Unwrapped, currently in its ninth season; the Unwrapped spin-off game show, Trivia Unwrapped; and the Game Show Network series WinTuition. In 2005, Summers became the host of Food Network's reality series The Next Food Network Star. Summers joined Chef Guy Fieri as co-host of Food Network's Ultimate Recipe Showdown in 2008. In late 2006, Sony Pictures Television and KingWorld planned a new game show called Combination Lock, with Summers hosting the first pilot. It was to be paired with a revival of the classic game show, The Joker's Wild.[7] However, a deal couldn't be reached by KingWorld and station groups.[8] Off the screen, Summers has been involved as an executive producer on the Food Network's Dinner: Impossible and "Restaurant: Impossible." Summers currently splits his time between homes in Los Angeles and Philadelphia where his company Marc Summers Productions has a branch.

Summers has hosted stage versions of The Price Is Right and credits Bob Barker and The Price Is Right for helping him pursue a game-show career. Summers was a young page at CBS when The Price Is Right premiered with The Joker's Wild and Gambit in 1972, and he often asked advice of Barker, Jack Barry and Wink Martindalethe shows' respective hostsabout a hosting career. He claims it's the best possible education and training in the game show field, and it was during this time that Summers got his first on-air experience, as a fill-in announcer on The Joker's Wild.

Summers served as host of "Drunk Double Dare" during Drunk Day, an annual episode of the Philadelphia-based Preston and Steve radio show on WMMR, held directly before the Fourth of July weekend. The show reunited Summers with his Double Dare cohorts John Harvey and Robin Marrella. He has also hosted "Dunkel Dare" during the annual Beer Week in Philadelphia, PA.

Summers appears in the Good Charlotte music video for their song "Last Night", which uses Family Double Dare as the motif for the video. He has also played himself on The Cleveland Show, Robot Chicken, Workaholics, and Sanjay & Craig, and appeared in special segments on ABC's The Chew.

Summers is a big fan of the band Imagine Dragons and has a formidable Twitter presence.

He is currently working on On Your Marc, a documentary that chronicles his life and one-man theater show.[9]

Summers returned to host a 30th Anniversary of Double Dare at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con International. Summers also appeared in a commemorative half-hour special in honor of the show's 30th anniversary that aired on Nickelodeon on November 23, 2016 [10]


  1. 1 2 "Marc Summers Biography (1951-)". Retrieved 2009-11-27.
  2. Warren, Steve (2004). Radio: The Book (4 ed.). Burlington and San Diego: Elsevier Focal Press. pp. 18–19. ISBN 0240806964.
  3. "VHS Video Library - Anxiety". Retrieved 2011-03-15.
  4. "Whitney Houston's Sister-In-Law Pat Houston & Model Niki Taylor." Oprah: Where Are They Now? Exec. Prod. Julie Simpson, Jill Van Lokeren, and Veronica Votypka. CEO/Chief Crea. Off. Oprah Winfrey. Oprah Winfrey Network. 16 Nov. 2014.
  5. Marc Summers - I Broke My Face in Nasty Car Accident|url=
  6. Marc Summers Reveals He Had Cancer
  7. Two Games in the Works, Broadcasting & Cable, July 28, 2006
  8. Roger King Sounds Off, Broadcasting & Cable, January 12, 2007
  9. On Your Marc
  10. After facing some big challenges, Marc Summers is back for the 30th anniversary of 'Double Dare', Los Angeles Times, November 21, 2016
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