Arts & Entertainment

'Double Dare' Is Back And It's Not Like Other Reboots

And yes, he personally tests every challenge.
IMAGE Nickelodeon
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Marc Summers has been busy for the past 30 years. He helped discover Guy Fieri, the Mayor of Flavortown, on The Next Food Network Star. He opened up about his journey with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in a documentary called On Your Marc. But for most kids of the late '80s and early '90s, he is the handsome host of Double Dare who made picking your nose entirely acceptable. Now, at a time when reboots and nostalgia dominate culture as a whole, Summers is back with a reminder: it's still ok to pick away.

Double Dare is returning 25 years after its original run ended. And though Summers' career has taken him a lot of different directions in the last two-and-a-half decades, his life has always been tied to this particular Nickelodeon game show.

"For whatever reasons, I’ve always been surgically attached to the program and the format," Summers says. "You mention Double Dare and fortunately, the next words out of their mouths is Marc Summers, which is pretty darn cool." Summers will provide commentary during the reboot's physical challenges, while being joined by actress, Liza Koshy. Koshy will assume regular hosting duties.

As charming as its host is, Double Dare was its own animal. At the time it debuted, it was among only a handful game shows geared toward kids. That, according to Summers, is what contributed to the show's success. "Kids were living vicariously through their parents watching The Price is Right and things like that without having their own game show," Summers says. "When we walked on that stage, it was a guy asking questions and kids running through a messy obstacle course. They let us do whatever we wanted to do, and because of that, we got this hit."

"KIDS WERE LIVING VICARIOUSLY THROUGH THEIR PARENTS WATCHING THE PRICE IS RIGHT WITHOUT HAVING THEIR OWN GAME SHOW."

The reboot trend is paying off for a lot of networks. Shows like Queer Eye and Roseanne returned to the air with massive fanfare. Revamping a show like Double Daremakes all the sense in the world, especially with its original host in tow. Summers jokes, "I kind of feel almost obligated to send a thank you letter to the folks from Will & Grace and especially Roseanne because you don’t know when you put these things up on the air if it’s going to connect. I think we’re in that category." In a time where nostalgia is bigger than ever, why leave out the one show that allowed you to rip apart a giant piece of pizza for the opportunity to go to Palm Springs?

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The show's original audience is old enough to have kids of their own now—many of whom are probably old enough to be contestants. But for any diehard fan worried whether this new generation is going to know the pleasure of digging through the inside of a giant nostril, Summers confirms, "A lot of the stuff you’re instantaneously going to recognize, but there’s some new things as well."

When Double Dare returns, it will be existing in an entirely different space. Many shows that have been rebooted after a few decades are trying to find a place in today's complex divided society. Roseanne and Will & Grace asserted their relevance in 2018 with aggressive political commentary, for better or worse. But Double Dare, given its format, doesn't have politics to use as a crutch for a connection to this different world.

Nickelodeon is one of the few networks that isn't a slave to the 24-hours news cycle. Its programs mostly shield children from the darker corners of television, a role that Summers sees as more important than ever. "The world’s kind of crazy, and people want to go back to their past when things were a little more fluff," Summer says, "Today, there’s so many alarms that pop up on television, and then there’s a little thing that didn’t exist when we first launched: the Internet. The access that kids have is totally insane."


The reboot, slated to premiere June 25 at 8pm ET, will kick off with a recreation of the full obstacle course from Mtn Dew Kickstart this June at Clusterfest in San Francisco. From June 1-3 20-and 30-somethings can take their own shot at completing those impossible Double Dare challenges and Mtn Dew-themed obstacles, with celebrity guest interactions. The whole thing will culminate in a one-hour live streamed special on June 3 hosted by Summers himself. But after 30 years, if anyone is able to finish it, it's Summers. Like the true Nickelodeon soldier he is, he tests out every obstacle before contestants get out there.

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That's just what you do when you're grateful. After 25 years of food and lifestyle program hosting, Summers is ready to work with Koshy to find a new life for the show that made him a household name, "You always hope to have a hit in your life, as a host. But something that has become this iconic is pretty cool," Summers admits. "To be a part of it is fantastic, and it’s crossed over a few generations."

And as for those iconic blazer and sneaker combos he rocked?

"Standby. You might be right on target with those."

This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.

* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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