How the Double Dare Segment Came to Be

by Dan Cashman

I’ve made no secret about my fondness for the show “Double Dare” and its host Marc Summers. Before I figured out who David Letterman was, I was fixated on “Double Dare.” It was appointment television for me from the moment I first saw it in the fall of 1986, and – as an introvert – it helped me form friendships. It was water fountain talk at school the next day, and I created my own home version of the show and invited friends over to play it (with me serving as host, of course).
MarcSummers3.jpgEventually, I was fortunate enough to connect with Marc Summers. I dare say that we became friends. When “The Nite Show” came back to TV in 2010, he was among the first people I asked to join us on the show and for advice. He visited the first time in 2011. He returned in 2014 and again in 2017. We’ve chatted a LOT about things related to the show. He’s been incredibly supportive in ways I wish I could share.
Every time he visited the show, I would inevitably steer the conversation back to Double Dare, always asking when it might return to TV. The last time he visited in 2017 he hinted at it, but didn’t say that it was likely. Then…hints started dropping. I picked up on the chatter early on and suffice to say, contacted Marc within seconds of hearing the news confirmed about the return of the show. I was beyond excited.

MarcLiza.jpgThen, by complete coincidence, my wife and I happened to be in New York City a couple of days before Nickelodeon announced Marc’s role with the new version of Double Dare. None of us had dinner plans, so we met with Marc and shared lots of laughs and steak. I had asked Marc if we could do a skit around Double Dare and he invited me out to the set. I asked where the set was and he said Los Angeles.  Boy…Los Angeles seems like a LONG way to go for a skit for a local TV show, but it seemed intriguing. The next morning, we exchanged texts and he again invited me out to LA to check out the set and maybe run the obstacle course. Eventually, we worked it out so I would go.
However, a few days before leaving for LA, I got word from Nickelodeon that they had to cancel my visit because they needed to shoot promos and take photos on the day I was scheduled to be there. I was crushed, even though I was told they would reschedule.
I checked in with Nickelodeon several times and told myself that I would try ONE more time before giving up hope. The last time I was to check in was on Wednesday, June 20. I knew that they were wrapping their taping schedule early in July, and I knew that our Nite Show season finale was set to air on Saturday, June 30. I figured that if I didn’t get an answer then, I couldn’t pull it off.
DD3.jpgWell, much to my surprise, I got an answer…and a time…and some details…and if we could pull it off, we were good to go. The taping date for the skit was to be Thursday morning, June 28. That meant that between June 21 – June 27, we had to get a crew together (thanks Kim and Amanda from Maine Pro Video!), book flights and hotels in Los Angeles, get the show for June 30 prepped enough to slip the skit in late, and figure out how to edit the skit on the plane from LA to Boston. Sure. Easy. Right?
Well, the crew confirmed quickly…and the flights and hotels were booked shortly after. That gave me a few days to jot down some thoughts and a plan…and figure out how to turn a childhood dream becoming a reality into something that would fit well into our show (which is also a childhood dream that became a reality).
The rest of the time to figure it all out became a blur…and before I knew it, we were driving to Boston to board a plane to fly to Los Angeles to film a skit on the set of “Double Dare.”

LA1.jpgWe arrive in Los Angeles around 11 p.m. PST, stood in line for a car for at least an hour, wolfed down an In-And-Out Burger (they really are AMAZING) and got a little sleep before waking up with enough time to make it to CBS Radford.
Now, the facility where Double Dare was shot was also home to Entertainment Tonight, The Chew, Mary Tyler Moore, Newhart, Roseanne, American Gladiators, and Gilligan’s Island were filmed. It’s also where the “Big Brother” house is located. It’s a studio lot with some history to it…and you could feel it.
Of course, we showed up late. But when we arrived, Marc greeted us with the sincerity and professionalism I’ve come to expect from one of my childhood idols. He asked the plan…and suddenly, I froze. I was overwhelmed with memories and thoughts and dreams and childhood fantasies of doing exactly what I was about to do…share a casual conversation with Marc Summers about Double Dare while on the set of Double Dare. I don’t remember how I answered his question. I might have just drooled a bit. Whatever I said, he responded with, “Okay. Let’s do it.”
The rest of the day just got more and more incredible. The people at CBS Radford, Freemantle Media, and Nickelodeon all pretty much let us do whatever we wanted to do. We weren’t getting in the way, and I don’t think we were doing anything wrong, but we were recording things on the set while they were busy trying to record a nationally televised game show.
DD5.jpgDuring commercials and in between shows (they taped a few that day), Marc would spend time with us and we’d get more material for our skit. Phil Moore of Nick Arcade fame happened to be there that day as well and we chatted with him on camera too.
But perhaps my favorite moment was going through the obstacle The Wringer. It was a classic from the old days of Double Dare, and it’s back for the rebooted version of the show. While the original concept was for me to run through the obstacle course, that wasn’t possible given the fact that they were recording three shows that day, but I did get to try out a few, including The Wringer. It was everything I had hoped it would be and more.
At the end of the day, we took an absolutely gorgeous drive from CBS Radford back toward the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, and stopped at a place called Nobu, which as it turns out is quite the hotspot for the Hollywood elite. We showed up in jeans (in my case, jeans that I had slept in and had ketchup stains on), and enjoyed the amazing view of the Pacific Ocean while recording a couple of pieces of video for the show.
DD1.jpgThen, we got to the airport and flew home. It was on the flight home and the car ride from Boston to Bangor when the skit got edited, and closed captioned for broadcast. You see, we flew home on the red eye from LA…putting us in Boston around 6 a.m. The drive north got us to Bangor close to noon after a couple of stops. The show has to be fully uploaded to the stations that air it by 3 p.m. Friday. After inserting the edited/captioned skit into the show, and then “exporting” the full show, and uploading that to stations, I think we got it in with about 2 minutes to spare.
And that’s how a skit on the set of “Double Dare” made it into our 2017-2018 season finale.
After reviewing it many times since it happened, I’ve found plenty of things I would have changed if given more time. Different edits, other video included that wasn’t in there, dropping some video that didn’t need to be in it, and shortening it a bit. But, given that the whole thing was edited on virtually no sleep…while spending a second night traveling and getting no sleep, I think I’m happy with it. I KNOW I’m happy to have had the opportunity to make the trip, and will forever be thankful for the people at Nickelodeon, the crew at the studio, the crew that came with me, and of course Marc for making it all happen.

And, of course, we're all looking forward to Season 2 of Double Dare, coming soon to Nickelodeon! In the meantime, here's the final version of the skit in case you haven't seen it: