“Double Dare” to slime again

Revival of Nickelodeon game show brings the schlock back

The slime is back: Nickelodeon announced Wednesday it was bringing back 1980s game show Double Dare after a 18-year hiatus. The show where kids answered questions or take the physical challenge sliding around in prop food is getting a 40-episode order from the network, scheduled for a weekday time slot this summer.

Originally hosted by Marc Summers, Double Dare basically put Viacom-owned Nickelodeon on the map, with not only kids tuning in but college students as well. The original premiered on October 6, 1986 and run until February 6, 1993 for a total of 482 episodes. The success of Double Dare led to other Nickelodeon game shows, including Legends Of The Hidden Temple, Guts, and Get The Picture. Double Dare was basically Beat The Clock with a lot of sloppy elements involved.

Viacom struck a deal with the Fox Television Stations (including WFLD-TV here) to co-produce and syndicate new episodes for first-run premiering in February 1988, quickly becoming the highest-rated kids show in syndication and later earned a prime-time spot on Fox itself as Family Double Dare. Even though the series’ ratings remained strong on Nick, various copycats entered the syndication market in the fall of 1988 and took its toll on Dare, including Lorimar’s Fun House. After a few Fox-owned stations canceled the show in early 1989 (by this time, it was re-titled Super Sloppy Double Dare), Viacom withdrew the show from the syndicated market on September 8, 1989.

Nick briefly revived Double Dare in 2000, lasting exactly ten months. A 2016 reunion special aired on Nickelodeon celebrating the series’ 30th anniversary and was a big hit.

During its late 1980s heyday, Double Dare drew at least one million viewers on average per week, becoming cable’s highest-rated program. But the revival now faces a drastically different media environment, with many of today’s kids tuning out television altogether in favor of fare on streaming services, especially Netflix. The defections have cost media conglomerates in lost revenue – especially Disney and Viacom, who split from CBS Corporation in 2005 (Viacom’s syndication arm is now CBS Television Distribution.)

No host was named, nor it was revealed where the new series would be shot. The original was taped at PBS’ WHYY-TV in Philadelphia and later at Universal Studios in Orlando. Strangely enough, reruns of Double Dare recently made a comeback on diginet game-show network Buzzr – a rather staid 1976 CBS daytime game show of the same name with host Alex Trebek. Ironically, the theme to both shows of the same name were scored by the same person (Edd Kalehoff) and the theme for the CBS game show was later recycled for NBC’s Card Sharks.