Nickelodeon Guts

Nickelodeon Guts (stylized as Nickelodeon GUTS) is an American television "action sports" competition series hosted by actor/writer Mike O'Malley and officiated by British actress Moira "Mo" Quirk. The series originally ran from 1992 to 1995 on Nickelodeon.

Nickelodeon Guts
Also known asGUTS
Global GUTS (season 4)
GenreGame show
Created byAlbie Hecht
Scott Fishman
Byron Taylor
Written byMagda Liolis
Albie Hecht
Directed byJim Dusel
Presented byMike O'Malley
Narrated byMoira Quirk
Composer(s)Rick Witkowski for Studio L
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes160
Executive producer(s)Albie Hecht
Andy Bamberger
Producer(s)Christine Woods
Production location(s)Nickelodeon Studios, Universal Studios
Orlando, Florida
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s) Chauncey Street Productions, Inc.
Nickelodeon Productions
Original networkNickelodeon (USA)
YTV (Canada) (Canada)
Original releaseSeptember 19, 1992 (1992-09-19) 
December 10, 1995 (1995-12-10)
Followed byMy Family's Got Guts
Related showsAmerican Gladiators
Gladiators 2000
External links

Each episode features three young athletes competing against each other in four "extreme" versions of athletic events culminating in a fifth and final round which set the three competitors on a race up an artificial "mountain" to decide the victor.


The series was filmed at Sound Stage 21 at Universal Studios Florida on a set dubbed the "Extreme Arena". This arena consists of a turf playing field, a pool, a racing track, an obstacle course and the Aggro Crag.

Season 1 began taping on August 12, 1992.[1]

Reruns were shown on Nickelodeon from January 15, 1996 until January 31, 1999 before moving to Nick GAS from March 1, 1999 until the station ceased broadcasting on December 31, 2007 (April 23, 2009 on Dish Network). It has occasionally been seen in reruns on TeenNick since January 1, 2008. Since 2011, those reruns would be found on the channel's NickSplat block on an occasional basis. Pluto TV's Nick Games channel began showing reruns in 2019.

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 (blue, red, and purple) compete against each other in four events that are based on "extreme" versions of 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 developed, even including a fabricated ski slope.

The competitors are awarded points based on their comparative performance in each event. First place in each event is worth 300 points. Second place receives 200 points, and third place earns 100 points. The player with the most points after all five events won the game and received a gold GUTS medal, as well as a faux glowing piece of the Aggro Crag. Second place received a silver medal and third received a bronze medal.

The contestants are introduced in the breaks between events in a segment dubbed "Spill Your GUTS". The segment was done as an interview with one of the hosts in the first two seasons (O'Malley in season 1 and Quirk in season 2), and was subsequently a prerecorded segment. In seasons 3 and 4, the contestants introduced themselves. During Global Guts, a flag of the player's country would be shown, followed by the contestant introducing him/herself. Then, the location where the contestant is from would be shown on a map, followed by him/her giving more information about what he/she does.

The Crag

The fifth and final event of each episode pits the three contestants in a race to climb a fabricated mountain called the Aggro Crag (seasons 1-2), the Mega Crag (season 3), or 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 hitting a series of actuators (buttons that would illuminate a light beacon when pressed) along the way to the peak. If a contestant misses any of the actuators along the way, a spotter at the top (referred to as the "crag troll") would prevent that player from completing the climb until he/she returned and activated whatever targets they missed. 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 climb is made more difficult by strobe lights simulating "lightning", foam rock "avalanches", flying "snow" in the form of glitter and confetti, and "nuclear flying crystals" that are each triggered either at random or when the players stepped on specific switchbacks on the crag. The first contestant to successfully activate all of their actuators, including the final one at the peak, earns 725 points. The second and third-place contestants earn 550 and 375 points, respectively.

A number of violations/errors on the Crag would result in a player automatically receiving third place points, including:

  • Crossing into another player's section of the mountain,
  • Hitting someone else's actuators (excluding the final actuator),
  • Reaching the top of the mountain by grabbing a hand rail, a rule seldom enforced during the Mega Crag. That rule was eliminated because of the unfairness of it.
  • 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, introduced in the 1993 season, at the base of the mountain.

The increased point structure in the final event allows contestants overcome a deficit of as much as 300 points to win,[2] despite earlier mistakes. The point structure for the Crag eliminates the possibility of a tie except in the unlikely event that two players who are already tied are each disqualified during the Crag and therefore both receive third-place points. While dual-disqualifications did occur during the show's run, it never resulted in a tie.

The 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.[3]

The total height of the Aggro Crag was 28 feet (8.5 m). For the Mega Crag, as well as the Super Aggro Crag on Global GUTS, the total height was 30 feet (9.1 m) tall.[4]

Series Variations

Nickelodeon GUTS All-Stars

The highest possible score for a player is 1,925 points, and was attained several times throughout the show's run. On July 25, 1993, at the start of the show's second season, Nickelodeon aired a one-hour special known as Nickelodeon GUTS All-Stars, where three former players from the previous season, Mike "Superman" Schmidt, Jana "The Warrior" Waring, and Kelli "The Maniac" Marchewka, who achieved 1,925 points competed against each other for a college scholarship and a special GUTS All-Star trophy. The one-hour special featured seven events plus the Aggro Crag. This special also debuted five new events, which were later seen throughout the second season, and an extended version of Basic Training, only seen in this special. In the award ceremony, each player received a Nickelodeon GUTS All-Stars plate along with their college scholarship. Third place received a $1,000 college scholarship, second place received a $1,500 college scholarship and the winner received a $2,500 college scholarship.

In 1994, Sony Wonder released a VHS based on the special, which featured special guest commentaries by Super Bowl Champion Lawrence Taylor.

Global GUTS

For the show's final season, Nickelodeon produced an international spin-off, 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 "C.I.S." 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, non-English-speaking contestants spoke in their own language, with an interpreter speaking over their lines.

Taping of Global GUTS took place from July 12, 1995 to August 15, 1995, and episodes began airing September 5, 1995,[5] as 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 all three 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.

In addition to airing on Nickelodeon in the United States, the program was shown in represented countries on the following networks:

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.

Episode status

All of the episodes of Nickelodeon GUTS exist, and have aired on Nickelodeon until 1999, the now defunct Nick GaS from 1999 to 2007. Nickelodeon 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.

As of October 2015, the show airs in reruns occasionally on the TeenNick block The Splat.

Video game

In November 1994, Nickelodeon released a video game based on the Nickelodeon GUTS game show for the Super NES. 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.[6][7] Nintendo Power praised the game's graphics, but criticized the poor control.[8]


  1. Burton, Tim (August 7, 1992). "New show for kids". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved December 29, 2016.
  2. The first four events are scored in increments of 100. The winner of the Crag can earn as many as 350 points more than the contestant who finishes the Crag third.
  3. Klickstein, Mathew (Sep 24, 2013). "Slimed!: An Oral History of Nickelodeon's Golden Age". Penguin. Retrieved Jul 19, 2019 via Google Books.
  4. Nickelodeon. Behind the Scenes of Nickelodeon Global GUTS: The Road to the Extreme Arena. Featuring Mike O'Malley and Moira Quirk. Copyright 1995.
  5. 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
  6. Bassave, Roy (May 23, 1995). "Video game of the week: 'Nickelodeon: Guts". Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service.
  7. Weiss, Brett Alan. "Nickelodeon Guts". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 14, 2014. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  8. "Nickelodeon Guts". Nintendo Power. December 1994. p. 104. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
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