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Th brainsurge logo.png
Genre Children's game show
Directed by Steve Grant
Presented by Jeff Sutphen
Narrated by Erin Fitzgerald (season 1-4)
John Cramer (season 4)
Composer(s) David Michael Frank
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 110
Executive producer(s) Scott A. Stone
Clay Newbill
David A. Hurwitz
Aaron Solomon (co-executive producer)
Noah Bonnett (co-executive producer; seasons 2–present)
Producer(s) Janice Minsburg
Location(s) Hollywood Center Studios
Hollywood, California
Camera setup Videotape; Multi-camera
Running time approx. 22-24 minutes
Production company(s) Stone & Company Entertainment
310 Entertainment
Nickelodeon Productions
Original channel Nickelodeon (2009-2011)
Nick at Nite (2011)[1]
CBS 2013–present
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
Original airing September 28, 2009 (2009-09-28)
External links

BrainSurge is an American children's game show aired on Nickelodeon hosted by Jeff Sutphen. The show taped its first season in February 2009, and debuted on September 28, 2009.[2][3] The show's format was adapted from the Tokyo Broadcasting System game show Brain Survivor.[4]

The network announced on February 18, 2010 that the program was renewed for a second season, that will consist of 40 episodes, and will feature the same format without any known changes.[5] The second season, which featured the 40 original episodes plus one episode held over from season one, premiered on June 21, 2010. The third season started airing on July 18, 2011 on Nick at Nite, marketed as Family BrainSurge,[1] and had a two-person family team format with five teams. The third season ran until November 17, 2011, when the show was cancelled. CBS

BrainSurge was taped at Hollywood Center Studios in Hollywood, California.[6]

The series premiered on Discovery Kids in Latin America and Brazil on November 7, 2011, the Spanish show title is Veloz Mente. No channel in Canada has aired the series.


BrainSurge's challenges are designed to test the memory and comprehension skills of its contestants.

Level One: Brain Tease[edit]

The contestants/teams begin by playing a series of visual puzzles. There were six puzzles in season 1, worth 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, and 100 points each (for a maximum of 250 points); in season 2, the 40-point puzzle was dropped; in season 3 (Family BrainSurge), there are four puzzles, worth 10, 25, 50, and 100 points. Each solution is a number that the players need to enter using their keypads. The contestants/teams have 10 seconds to lock in their answers. The four highest-scoring contestants/teams advance to the next round (ties are broken by how quickly the contestants/teams entered their answers; if the two teams tied for last place entered their answers at the same time in season 3, a tiebreaker puzzle is played instead); all eliminated contestants/teams in this and future levels are sent down the "Brain Drain", a slide formed as a human ear containing "ear wax" foam.

Level Two: Brain Fart[edit]

During the second round, the four remaining contestants/teams are told a story from a book read by the host and are asked questions in turn about the story. Contestants/teams lock in their answers by sitting down on a chair. If a contestant/team gets a question wrong, the chair makes a farting noise, and the contestant/team is pulled backwards through a paper "tooth" of a large face (made to resemble host Sutphen) and eliminated from further play. This continues until two contestants/teams remain. In Family BrainSurge, each team is allowed one "Brain Fart," which allows two other members of the family (the "Brain Trust") to offer an answer for the team; the team stays in the game or is eliminated based on that answer.

Knockout Round[edit]

In the Knockout round, the two remaining contestants/teams have ten seconds to memorize a grid of 16 numbers containing 8 pairs of images from the story. The contestants/teams then take turns matching pairs of images from the story. Once either contestant makes a mistake, the player who makes the next match wins the game in a sudden-death match. At this point, the contestant/team that lost in this round and the 2 eliminated contestants/teams from Level 2 all go down the Brain Drain.

Level Three: Brain Trip (The Final Stage)[edit]

For the bonus round, the contestant must successfully trace out three paths on grids within 90 seconds. The first path is six squares on a 4x4 grid, the second is eight squares on a 5x5 grid, and the third is ten squares on a 6x6 grid; squares are always connected (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally). Each square has an actuator in the middle that must be stepped on to activate the square. Contestants see each path twice; the clock starts running when the contestant first activates a square. After completing a path successfully, the contestant must step on an actuator outside the board to stop the clock. Contestants are told immediately when they make a mistake; they must return to the start and view the pattern again before being allowed to continue; when viewing the pattern after a mistake, the clock continues to run. Contestants can win three prizes, one for completing each of the three paths; any prizes they win on one stage are safe no matter what happens later. Contestants who fail to complete all three boards must go down the Brain Drain, while contestants who succeed are slimed in network tradition.


Celebrity episodes[edit]

Two celebrity episodes featuring Nickelodeon actors aired on November 30, 2009, with ten more airing in late April 2011, and another four in mid-October of the same year; the latter two clusters of episodes featured other young actors, musical stars and athletes, along with former CNN host Larry King. The celebrities play for a member of the audience selected at random, who wins any prizes won by the celebrity during the game, and is slimed with the celebrity for a bonus round win, or sent down the Brain Drain for a loss.

Girls vs. Boys[edit]

During the first week of the second season, the audience was divided into two sections, each with a group of a different gender. In each episode, male contestants wore green and female contestants wore purple. If a male contestant won, male audience members received a green BrainSurge t-shirt. If a female contestant won, female audience members received a purple t-shirt.


After about 3 seasons on the air, BrainSurge was cancelled and the final episode aired on November 17, 2011. No official reason has yet been given for the show's cancellation.


  1. ^ a b Family Brainsurge
  2. ^ "Brainsurge". 2009. Retrieved August 13, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Nickelodeon's BrainSurge". On Camera Audiences. Retrieved February 19, 2009. 
  4. ^ Nickelodeon (February 18, 2010). "Nickelodeon Green-Lights Second Season of New Hit Game Show Brainsurge!". Futon Critic. Retrieved July 31, 2010. "[BrainSurge] is based on the Tokyo Broadcasting System Television program Brain Survivor." 
  5. ^ Nick renews 'BrainSurge'
  6. ^ "Nickelodeon's 'BrainSurge' brings back the game". The Orange County Register. September 25, 2009. Retrieved February 23, 2012. 

External links[edit]