Nickelodeon Guts

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Nickelodeon GUTS.svg
Also known as Guts
Global Guts (in season 4)
Genre Game show
Created by Albie Hecht
Scott Fishman
Byron Taylor
Presented by Mike O'Malley
Narrated by Moira Quirk
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 160
Location(s) Universal Studios
Orlando, Florida
Running time 30 Minutes
Production company(s) Chauncey Street Productions, Inc. in association with Nickelodeon
Original channel Nickelodeon
Original release September 19, 1992 (1992-09-19) – January 14, 1996 (1996-01-14)
Followed by My Family's Got Guts
Related shows American Gladiators
Gladiators 2000

Nickelodeon Guts was an American television "action sports" competition series hosted by actor/comedian Mike O'Malley and officiated by British actress Moira "Mo" Quirk. The series was broadcast by the cable television network Nickelodeon from 1992 to 1995. The show features young athletes competing in various athletic events in the "Extreme Arena", a set built on Sound Stage 21 at Universal Studios Florida. Guts reruns were shown on Nickelodeon from January 15, 1996 until February 28, 1999 before moving to Nickelodeon GAS from March 1, 1999 until the network's closure on December 31, 2007 (April 23, 2009 on Dish Network). It has occasionally been seen in reruns on TeenNick since January 1, 2008.

In 2008, Nickelodeon produced two seasons of a revival of the program, My Family's Got Guts.


On each half-hour episode, three children or teenagers, individually represented by blue, red, and purple compete against each other in four events that are based on skills in popular sports, such as basketball, baseball, football, and soccer. While most of these events include the use of an elastic harness, others make use of a wave pool, and sometimes a racing track is used. During the show's run, more creative and ambitious events were invented, even including a fabricated ski slope. Contestants earn points to their total score at the end of each event based on their performance. First place in each event is worth 300 points. Second place receives 200 points, and third place earns 100 points.

After each event, one of the three players is asked to "Spill Your Guts", between the remaining events. In season one, Mike talks about the player and his and her athletic and non-athletic interests. In season two, Moira discusses the player's interests, and also mentions what "guts" equaled to that player. In season three, during a brief prerecorded segment, players introduce themselves and reveal their athletic and non-athletic interests, what "having guts" means to them, why they are excited to be on the show, and/or usually also give a shout-out to their friends and family back home. On Global Guts, it retains the prerecorded segment for players, contestants introduce themselves; non-English speakers introduce themselves in their native language, and a translator does an English voice over for them.


There are several different types of events, ranging from field sports to the pool. Many aerial events made use of elastic harnesses.

Event Seasons Category Sport modeled after
Aces 1 Field Tennis
Attack 2 Aerial Lacrosse
Basic Training 1, 2 & 4 Gym Obstacle course
Blade Runner 1‒3 Track Roller skating
Blast It 4 Field Soccer
Boogie Down 1-4 Pool Boogie boarding
Bull's Eye 1‒4 Aerial Archery
Crag 1–4 Mountain Mountain climbing
Dodge It 3 & 4 Aerial Dodgeball
Double Play 3 Aerial Baseball
Eat My Dust 1 & 2 Track BMX bicycling
Extreme Baseball 3 Field Obstacle course
Free Kick 1-4 Field Soccer
Fumble/Rugby/Scrumble 2-4 Field Football/Rugby
Hang Ten 2-4 Pool Surfing
Invisible Boat 1-4 Pool Rowing
Jump Ball 2 Aerial Basketball
Jump! Jump! 1‒4 Aerial Hurdle jumping
Mad Max 2-4 Track Recumbent bicycling
Make Your Mark 1 & 2 Aerial High jump
Moon Race 1 Track Trampolining
Off the Wall 1 & 2 Aerial Baseball
Over the Top 1-4 Aerial High jump
Power Ski 2 Pool Water skiing
Rebound 2-4 Aerial Basketball
Shoot Out 3 & 4 Aerial Soccer
Skurfin' Safari 3 & 4 Pool Skiing/surfing
Skyball 4 Aerial Water polo
Slam Dunk 1-4 Aerial Basketball
Slam-A-Jama 3 & 4 Aerial Basketball
Slap Shot 3 Field Roller hockey
Spike It 1 Aerial Volleyball
Spin Out 3 Aerial Luge
Spirals 1 & 2 Aerial Football
Splash Down 1 Pool Tubing
The Edge 3 Aerial Skiing
The Longest Yard 1 & 2 Aerial Long jump
Tornado Run 2-4 Track Track running
Totally Tubular 1 & 2 Pool Competitive swimming
Touchdown 3 Aerial Football
Triple Jump 3 Aerial Triple jump
Vertiboggan 3 Aerial Tobogganing
Wave Runner 2 Pool Kayaking
White Water 1, 3 & 4 Pool Kayaking
Wild Pitch 1 & 2 Field Baseball
Wild Wheels 1 Track Recumbent bicycling
Zero G 3 & 4 Aerial Track running

The Crag[edit]

The fifth and final event of the show would pit the three contestants in a race to climb a fabricated mountain called the Aggro Crag (season 1-2), and later called the Mega Crag (season 3), and the Super Aggro Crag (Global GUTS). The object of the Crag was for all three contestants to race to the peak of the Crag, while activating a series of lighted targets commonly referred to as "actuators" along the way to the peak. If a contestant misses any actuators along the way, a spotter at the top (often referred to as the "crag troll") would prevent that player from completing the climb until he/she returned and activates whatever targets they missed. The climb is made more difficult with special effects that simulated lightning storms in the form of strobe lights, rock avalanches, flying "snow" in the form of glitter and confetti, "nuclear flying crystals", and steep walls. Each contestant had a separate, but identical, side of the mountain to climb, and was not permitted to cross into their opponents' paths or disrupt their progress. The first contestant to successfully activate each target, including the final one at the peak of the mountain, earns first-place worth 725 points. The second and third-place contestants earned 550 and 375 points, respectively.

A number of violations/errors on the Crag could result in a player automatically receiving third place points. These include:

  • Inadvertently crossing into another player's section of the mountain
  • Accidentally hitting someone else's actuator (excluding the final actuator)
  • Reaching the top of the mountain by grabbing a hand rail, a rule seldom enforced during the Mega Crag
  • Making a false start at the beginning of the climb
  • Finishing the climb without lighting all of one's own actuators
  • Not stepping on all of the boulders in the Crag's "Boulder Canyon" section at the base of the mountain.

The increased point structure in the event allows contestants to come from behind to win, despite earlier mistakes. It also nearly ensures that no two contestants could achieve a tie score. The only way two contestants could tie on the Crag is if they both violate the rules as outlined above. Although theoretically possible, a tie in the contestants' total scores never happened, even when two contestants were disqualified on the Aggro Crag.

The Aggro Crag went through several revisions in the show's run, each longer and more difficult than the previous version. In the first two taped seasons (1992 and 1993), the mountain was called the Aggro Crag. For the show's third season in 1994, the mountain was renamed the Mega Crag. For the show's final season, Global Guts (1995), it changed yet again to the Super Aggro Crag. In the third season in 1994, its color was changed to be molten. Sound Design for the action on the Aggro Crag was created by Nickelodeon Senior Sound Designer Mark Schultz, who converted the voltages supplied by the infrared actuator "eyes" to triggers read by a MIDI-based sampler.

The total height of the Aggro Crag is 28 feet. For the Mega Crag, as well as the Super Aggro Crag on Global Guts, the total height was 30 feet tall.[1]


The player with the most points after all five events wins the game and receives a gold Guts medal, as well as a faux glowing piece of the Aggro Crag. When the show changed to Global Guts, the medals were redesigned to reflect the show's new logo. With all seasons of the show, second place receives a silver medal and third receives a bronze medal. The highest possible score for a player is 1925 points, and was attained several times throughout the show's run. Three contestants who achieved this score in 1992 were invited back to compete in a one-hour Guts All-Star Special in 1993.

Global Guts[edit]

For the show's final season, Nickelodeon produced an international spinoff, Global Guts, featuring contestants from various countries, including the United States of America, Mexico, United Kingdom, Israel, Germany, Spain, Portugal, and the Commonwealth of Independent States (simply referred to as "CIS" on air, this included only Georgia, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine). Although the countries had multiple contestants, no country was ever represented twice in a single episode except for the Special Olympic special where it had 2 U.S. players. Each country had its own team of broadcasters; O'Malley retained this role for the US broadcast. The format remained identical to the original version, but the Mega Crag was upgraded to the Super Aggro Crag. In the "Spill Your Guts" segments, for players from non-English-speaking countries, an interpreter was used.

Taping of Global Guts took place from July 12 to August 15, 1995, and episodes began airing September 5, 1995.[2] which was part of Nick in the Afternoon.

Medal presentations were also accompanied by the raising of flags and the playing of the national anthem of the winning country, and a victory lap by the contestants, draped in the flags of their home countries. A medal count was also tabulated at the beginning of each episode, similar to the Olympics.

Medal count[edit]

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 United Kingdom United Kingdom 8 2 2 12
2 Mexico Mexico 7 3 2 12
3 United States United States 6 4 2 12
4 Germany Germany 4 6 2 12
4 Israel Israel 4 3 5 12
6 Spain Spain 2 2 8 12
7 Portugal Portugal 1 5 6 12
Georgia (country) Georgia, Kazakhstan Kazakhstan,
Russia Russia, Ukraine Ukraine
0 7 5 12

In addition to airing the program on Nickelodeon in the United States, it aired on the Ukrainian Television Network in the CIS, Nickelodeon in Germany, the Israeli Children's Channel in Israel, MVS Multivisión in Mexico, SIC in Portugal, TVE in Spain, and Nickelodeon UK in the United Kingdom.

As a precursor to Global Guts, season 3 of Guts featured six contestants from the United Kingdom, competing in six separate shows. Of the six, four contestants ended up winning the gold medal. The six UK contestants were as follows:

UK Contestant Medal Episode
Jonny "Spider" Evans Gold Jonny vs. Ryan vs. Lindsay
Wayne "Night Master" Norbury Gold Chad vs. Joy vs. Wayne
Abi "Abster" Weston Bronze Bret vs. Abi vs. Jessica
Lorraine "Sapper" Hurst Silver Lorraine vs. Chris vs. Gabrielle
David "Dynamo" Myall Gold Ronny vs. David vs. Kristen
Leanne "Panther" Kelley Gold Ashley vs. Nicole vs. Leanne

Famous contestants[edit]

In 1992, Backstreet Boy A.J. McLean appeared on Guts, competing against Amanda "The Accelerator" Bulger and Jamie "The Jackal" Mendelsohn, and finished with the silver medal, losing to Jamie "The Jackal" Mendelsohn, the "Jack of All Sports". He was in blue and referred to on the show as AJ "Mean" McLean. He had one event win during his appearance, that being a win in the Slam Dunk event.

In 1993, Hollywood stuntwoman Anna Mercedes Morris competed on the show under the name Anna "Roadrunner" Morris. She was dressed in red, competing against "Lawless" Lauren Shealy and Paul "Running Man" Battson, and she finished with the gold medal, despite injuring her knee in the Basic Training event.

In 1993, actor Mike Vogel competed on Guts with Christy "Blast" Gast and Cam "The Ice Man" Burke, and finished with the silver medal. He tied with the other players for first place on Over the Top and also won the Aggro Crag event, coming from third place to take second overall. He was known as Mike "Flea" Vogel and was dressed in blue.

In 1994, actress Ashley Drane competed on Guts with Nicole "The Bomber" Bozard and UK resident Leanne "Panther" Kelley, and finished with the silver medal. She was known as Ashley "The Face" Drane and was dressed in blue. Exactly 10 years later, Ashley made a 2nd Nickelodeon appearance, this time on Drake and Josh playing Drake's girlfriend Susan in the episode "Believe Me Brother". Mike "The Dominator" Drane, a Guts player from season 1, is also her brother.

In 1994, D. C. United defender Bobby Boswell appeared on Guts, competing against Robin "The Lizard" Rexroat and Jennifer "The Jaguar" Barnes, and finished with the silver medal. He was known on the show as Bobby "Lightning" Boswell and won the soccer event "Shoot Out", just a hint of what was to come for his career. Boswell, who was dressed in purple, also won the Mega Crag event in that very same show.

In 1995, Bring It On the Musical star Gregory Haney appeared on Global Guts as Greg "Big Dog" Haney, playing for team USA. He wore blue and played against Thomas "The Typhoon" Rosen from Germany, and Mor "The Twister" Kesar from Israel. Haney won four out of five events, including the Super Aggro Crag, which increased his score high enough for him to win the gold medal.

Special guests[edit]

The only guest during the 1992 season:

The only guest during the 1993 season:

The following were guests during the 1994 season:

The guests in the 1994 season would, before each event, give a list of three "Smart Moves" (suggestions) that they felt that the players should follow.

The only guest during the 1995 season (Global GUTS):

Episode Status[edit]

All of the episodes of Guts exist, and have aired on Nickelodeon until 1999, the now defunct Nick GaS from 1999 to 2007. Guts was also on the list of programs to be included on The '90s Are All That (TeenNick's 1990s block) upon its launch in July 2011, but the program did not make its debut until August 2013.


Main article: My Family's Got Guts

A revival of the show, My Family's Got Guts, debuted on September 15, 2008, filmed at Universal Studios Florida as was the original (but due to it already being occupied, not on the same sound stage as the original). This version is hosted by Ben Lyons, along with Australian celebrity Asha Kuerten as the referee. Unlike the original, it follows a bracket tournament format featuring 2 families competing as teams per episode, with points earned being used instead to provide a head start during the Aggro Crag rather than deciding the winner.

Video game[edit]

In November 1994 Nickelodeon released a video game based on the Guts game show for the Super Nintendo. One or two players may compete in many of the events that debuted in the TV show, including the Aggro Crag. The game is based on the actual footage of the show and contains filmed contestants.[3]


  1. ^ Nickelodeon. Behind the Scenes of Nickelodeon Global Guts: The Road to the Extreme Arena. Featuring Mike O'Malley and Moira Quirk. Copyright 1995.
  2. ^ Hinman, Catherine (1995-08-29). "Nickelodeon's 'Guts' Wins over the World". Chicago Tribune. [Global Guts] debuts Sept. 5 in the United States on Nickelodeon ... the show ... began production July 12 and wrapped up Aug. 15 
  3. ^ Bassave, Roy (May 23, 1995). "Video game of the week: 'Nickelodeon: Guts". Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service.