Double Dare (1976 game show)

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This article is about the CBS game show. For the unrelated 1986 children's game show aired on Nickelodeon, see Double Dare (Nickelodeon game show).
Double Dare
Double Dare
Created by Jay Wolpert
Directed by Marc Breslow
Paul Alter
Presented by Alex Trebek
Narrated by Johnny Olson (1976-1977)
Gene Wood (1977)
Country of origin  United States
No. of episodes 96[1]
Executive producer(s) Jay Wolpert
Producer(s) Jonathan Goodson
Location(s) CBS Television City
Hollywood, California
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions (now FremantleMedia North America)
Original channel CBS
Original release December 13, 1976 – April 29, 1977

Double Dare is an American television game show, produced by Mark GoodsonBill Todman Productions (now part of FremantleMedia North America), that ran from 1976 to 1977 on CBS. Alex Trebek was the host, with Johnny Olson and later Gene Wood announcing. The show was created by Jay Wolpert.

This was Alex Trebek's only CBS game show, but in 1994, he returned to CBS to host the Pillsbury Bake-Off until 1998.

Game play[edit]

Main Game[edit]

Two contestants, each in separate isolation booths, attempted to correctly identify a person, place or thing based on one-sentence clues that were given to them, one at a time, on an electronic gameboard. The correct response was shown to the home audience before the first clue was given. The clues would typically begin with obscure trivia and gradually become more direct references to the subject. A maximum of ten clues were given on one subject.

Both contestants had a lockout buzzer in their booth, and when one of them hit theirs the opposing player saw his/her booth closed off for a few seconds. The contestant that buzzed in was given a chance to guess. If the guess was incorrect, that contestant had his/her own booth closed off and the opponent's booth was reopened. Trebek would then inform the other player of the incorrect guess and the next clue was shown to him/her unopposed. This was referred to as a "penalty clue", and the player was given a free guess.

The contestant who ultimately identified the subject was then shown the next clue in the sequence and given the opportunity to dare his/her opponent to guess the subject based on that clue. If the correct answer was given on a penalty clue and the contestant elected to dare, the penalty clue was shown to the opponent. If the contestant chose to dare, the opponent's booth was re-opened and he/she had five seconds to study the clue before Trebek asked for a guess. A correct guess by the dared opponent was worth $50. If incorrect, the contestant who made the dare won an additional $100 and his/her opponent's booth was closed once more while he/she pondered whether or not to make a double dare for more money on the next clue. If the contestant made the double dare, the opposing player's booth opened again and he/she was shown the clue. This time, a right answer was worth $100 to the opponent with a wrong answer paying $200 to the daring contestant.

A new subject was played and both booths were opened whenever any of the following occurred:

  • Neither contestant guessed correctly after the tenth clue
  • A contestant guessed correctly, but chose not to dare
  • A contestant guessed correctly and won a dare, but chose not to double-dare
  • A dared opponent guessed correctly
  • A double dare was played

The first contestant to accumulate $500 or more won the game. Both contestants kept their accumulated money, and the loser of each game also received parting gifts. Like most CBS game shows at the time, champions could stay on Double Dare until they were defeated or reached the network-imposed winnings limit of $25,000.

Beat the Spoilers[edit]

The winner of the main game competed in a bonus round against the Spoilers, a panel of three people who had earned Ph.D. degrees, seated in separate booths that were initially closed.

The gameboard for this round contained eight numbered clues to a particular subject in random order of difficulty, and was placed so that the Spoilers could not see it. The contestant was presented with the subject and chose one clue at a time to be revealed. After hearing a clue, he/she had to decide whether to pass or give it to the Spoilers. Passed clues were immediately discarded from play. When the contestant gave a clue, the Spoilers' booths were all opened at once for Trebek to read it to them, then closed and reopened one at a time so that each one could guess without being heard by the others.

The contestant had to give four clues and could pass a maximum of four times. Each incorrect guess by a Spoiler won $100 for the contestant. If a Spoiler guessed correctly, he/she won $100 and sat out the rest of the round, with the booth left open to allow him/her to hear the additional gameplay. The contestant won $5,000 if at least one Spoiler was unable to guess the subject correctly after four clues. If all three Spoilers guessed it, though, the round ended and the contestant kept all winnings to that point.

Broadcast history[edit]

Double Dare replaced the game show Gambit on CBS' daytime lineup at 11:00 AM Eastern (10:00 Central). Facing NBC's popular two-year-old Wheel of Fortune, it did not draw the audience Gambit had.

After a move to 10:00 AM Eastern on March 7, 1977, where it went up against Sanford and Son reruns on NBC, CBS canceled Double Dare and replaced it with reruns of Here's Lucy which aired until November 4, 1977, when The Price Is Right occupied that slot.

BUZZR aired several episodes of Double Dare, including one of the 1976 pilot episodes, as part of the BUZZR Lost and Found special in September 2015.


Jay Wolpert was acknowledged as the series' creator in the closing credits; Wolpert would later on create his own production company. This series also marked the debut of Jonathan Goodson as a producer.

Markie Post, future star of Night Court, was an employee of Goodson-Todman at the time and was an associate producer on Double Dare.

Virtually all of the show's music and sounds were recycled for other Goodson-Todman shows; the show's theme music, composed by Edd Kalehoff for Score Productions, was reused one year later for Card Sharks. Kalehoff also composed the theme for the 1986-1989 version of Card Sharks, and the unrelated Double Dare game show on Nickelodeon in the 1980s.

The sound effect for the opening of the clue board and the isolation booths found its way on both the game board for The Price is Right's Penny Ante and Vend-O-Price pricing games, as well as the bonus round level "wind-up" sound on the Jack Barry-produced game show The Joker's Wild. A truncated version of the "losing horns" from Price was also used for bonus round losses.

The show's taping alternated between Studio 31, Studio 33 and Studio 41 at CBS Television City in Hollywood, California during its run.[2]

Episode status[edit]

All episodes are reported to exist, and the series has been shown on GSN. A clip from the finale, where sexually-suggestive clues to "a boomerang" were presented, appeared on VH1's Game Show Moments Gone Bananas in 2005.


External links[edit]