Nickelodeon GUTS is 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 featured 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 GAS from March 1, 1999 until the network's closure on December 31, 2007 (April 23, 2009 on Dish Network).
Its mascot was Stretch, a yellow humanoid figure with no face and a round head. He appeared in the small logos for the event categories in the first and second seasons.
In 2008, Nickelodeon produced two seasons of a revival of the program, My Family's Got GUTS.
Each day, three children or teenagers, dressed in blue, red, and purple, would compete at a competitive arena called the "Extreme Arena" to "live out some of their greatest sports fantasies". On each episode, there were five events that were based on skills in popular sports, such as basketball, baseball, football and soccer. Others made use of a wave pool, and sometimes a racing track was used. During the show's run, more creative and ambitious events were invented, including a fabricated ski slope and the famous "Aggro Crag." Contestants earned points to their score at the end of each event based on their performance. First place in each event was worth 300 points. Second place received 200 points, and third place earned 100 points.
After each event, one of the three players was asked to "Spill Your Guts", or introduce themselves, between the remaining events. In season one, Mike talked about the player and his or her athletic and non-athletic interests. In season two, Moira discussed the player's interests, and also mentioned what "guts" equaled to that player. In season three, during a brief prerecorded segment, players introduced themselves and revealed their athletic and non-athletic interests, what "having guts" meant to them, why they were excited to be on the show, and/or usually also give a shout-out to their friends and family back home. On Global Guts, contestants introduced themselves; non-English speakers introduced themselves in their native language, and a translator did an English voice over for them.
There were several different types of events, ranging from field sports to pool sports. Many events made use of elastic harnesses for aerial purposes. There were also track events and an obstacle course taking place in the gym.
The Aggro CragEdit
The fifth and final event, the Aggro Crag (later renamed the MegaCrag, and finally the Super Aggro Crag) ultimately decided the winner. All three contestants raced to climb a fabricated mountain, activating a series of lighted targets commonly referred to as "actuators" (six and later seven in the first season; eight from the second season on) on their way to the peak. If a contestant missed any actuator(s) along the way, a spotter at the top (often referred to on-air as the "crag troll") prevents that player from completing the climb until he or she returned and activated the target they missed. The climb was 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 another's path. The first contestant to successfully activate each target, including the final one at the peak of the mountain, earned 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 included:
- 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 enforced during the MegaCrag
- Making a false start at the beginning of the climb, i.e., beginning before the whistle
- 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, a rule introduced in the Guts All-Stars special.
The increased point structure in the event allowed contestants to come from behind to win, despite earlier mistakes. It also nearly ensured that no two contestants could achieve a tie score. The only way two contestants could tie on the Crag was if they both violated 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 Global Guts, the Super Aggro Crag was 30 feet tall.
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. 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 received a silver medal and third received a bronze medal.
The highest possible score for a contestant was 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, which featured seven events plus the Aggro Crag.
In 1995, 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.) 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.
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. A medal count was also tabulated at the beginning of each episode, similar to the Olympics.
In addition to airing the program on Nickelodeon in the United States, it aired on the Ukrainian Television Network in the CIS, Ravensburger TV in Germany, the Israeli Children's Channel in Israel, MVS Multivisión in Mexico, Sociedade Independente de Comunicação 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:
|Jonny "Spider" Evans||Gold|
|Wayne "Night Master" Norbury||Gold|
|Abi "Abster" Weston||Bronze|
|Lorraine "Sapper" Hurst||Silver|
|David "Dynamo" Myall||Gold|
|Leanne "Panther" Kelley||Gold|
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. 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.
In 1994, Houston Dynamo 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.)
The following were guests during the 1992 season:
- Wendy Bruce
The following were guests during the 1994 season:
- Dominique Wilkins
- Evander Holyfield
- Charlie Ward
- Picabo Street
- Adam Oates
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.
All of the episodes of Guts exist, and have aired on the now defunct Nick GAS from 1999 to 2008. The show is expected to be included in The '90s Are All That at an unspecified time in the future.
A revival of the show, My Family's Got Guts, debuted on September 15, 2008, filmed at Universal Studios Florida as with 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.
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.