Figure It Out had its debut on Nickelodeon in 1997, and was an instant hit with the younger set. Panelists included Amanda Bynes (now on “The Amanda Show”), Michelle Trachtenberg (Harriet the Spy,”The Advertures of Pete ‘N’ Pete”), Shane Sweet (on the canceled “The Journey Of Allen Strange”, and big wrestlers, such as Chris Jericho, “Nasty” Knobs, and “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan.
There were four panelists who asked yes or no questions and were given three one minute rounds to figure out what was on Billy the Answer Head.
Unfortunately, Figure It Out was canceled after the third season.
The following two press releases from Viacom tend to provide a good description of the show and what it was all about.
2/26/97 press release from www.viacom.com
NICKELODEON ANNOUNCES PRODUCTION OF NEW PLAY-ALONG COMEDY GAME SHOW FIGURE IT OUT
Debuts on Nickelodeon this summer Orlando, Fla., February 26, 1997 — Nickelodeon announced today that production will commence March 24 on Figure It Out, an all-new play-along game show.
Figure It Out is a game show in the classic mold of games like 20 questions. The series will feature regular, everyday kids from throughout the United States that have incredibly unique, and sometimes completely bizarre, talents and abilities. Talent such as a kid who can fold herself into the shape of a pretzel, a math wiz who can calculate complex problems instantly in his head and another who holds a world record for blowing the world’s biggest bubble-gum bubble.
The show features a panel of Nickelodeon stars and special guest celebrities that team-up to figure out what the contestant’s particular talent or accomplishment is. Through three rounds of guessing, the panel will receive clues through sounds and visuals and a final round with the “charade brigade.”
Kid contestants will win a number of prizes during the show. The longer the panel Kid contestants will win a number of prizes during the show. The longer the panel takes to figure it out, the more contestants win. One of the prizes features actual set pieces from various popular Nickelodeon shows, including All That and Clarissa Explains It All.
A contestant search is being conducted for kid contestants. Interested kids should send a letter with an accompanying photograph or video tape explaining what their unique accomplishment is to Figure It Out, 1515 Broadway, 38th Floor, New York, NY, 10036. All materials will remain property of Nickelodeon and cannot be returned. Nickelodeon Studios, the “First World Headquarters For Kids” and the place where Nick is made, is a working television studio and fun-filled, highly entertaining attraction for kids as well as their parents. Nickelodeon Studios is open year-round as part of Universal Studios Florida in Orlando.
NICKELODEON, and all related titles, logos and characters are trademarks of Viacom International Inc.
6/09/97 press release from www.viacom.com
NICKELODEON’S NEWEST GAME SHOW, Figure It Out, CELEBRATES KIDS’ UNIQUE TALENTS
Kids stump celebrity panelists in comedy game show hosted by Olympic champion Summer Sanders and premiering July 7 at 6:00 p.m. (Eastern/Pacific)
New York, NY, June 9, 1997 — What do you get when you combine 500 pounds of grated cheese with a kid who can hang a lizard from his tongue, an Olympic Gold Medalist, 20 questions and a panel of celebrities? Nickelodeon’s Figure It Out, a new game show, from the network that was the first to produce original shows of this genre just for kids. The show challenges celebrity panelists to guess a kid contestant’s special talent or invention, awarding prizes to the kids as they stump the panel.
The surprise-filled comedy series premieres on Monday, July 7 at 6:00 p.m. Figure It Out will air daily at 6:00 p.m. for two weeks until July 20, then regularly Saturdays and Sundays starting July 25 at 6:00 p.m. (all times Eastern/Pacific.)
Figure It Out combines the style of classic game shows from television’s golden era with Nickelodeon’s own trademark mess. The contestants are real kids from all over the U.S. who have unique, original and sometimes bizarre talents, inventions or collections. There is a girl who is a champion cow-chip tosser, another contestant who is a bee-keeper, another is a crawfish tickler and there is a young girl who sang the National Anthem at the World Series. The series also boasts Nickelodeon’s first female game show host, Olympic champion swimmer Summer Sanders.
Kevin Kay, Vice President/Executive Producer, Development Nickelodeon, and co-creator of the series explains. “With Double Dare, Nickelodeon revolutionized game shows by loading tons of action and comedy into the mix, and we saw others follow in our footsteps. Ten years later we decided it was time to shake things up again. We went to our kid audience, the funniest most creative people in the world, and turned the spotlight on them. The result? The only show on TV where a kid can win cash and valuable prizes for eating 11 pounds of watermelon in a minute!”
The Figure It Out host is no stranger to the limelight. Sanders was the most decorated U.S. swimmer in the 1992 Summer Olympic Games; winning two gold, a silver, and bronze medals. She co-hosted MTV’s sports show Sandblast and a silver, and bronze medals. She co-hosted MTV’s sports show Sandblast and recently commentated for NBC Sports during the swimming events at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, GA.
Currently, she is the sideline reporter for the Lifetime Sports Team, which covers the inaugural season of the WNBA airing on the women’s cable network. The team includes Reggie Miller from the Indiana Pacers, Michele Tafoya from CBS Sports, Meghan Pattyson from University of Connecticut women’s basketball and Maura Driscoll from ESPN and FOX Sports Net.
The show features a panel of Nickelodeon stars and special guest celebrities that team-up to figure out the contestant’s particular talent or accomplishment. Through three rounds of guessing, the panel will receive clues through sounds and visuals followed by a final round with the “charade brigade.” Celebrity panelists include Lori Beth Denberg and Amanda Bynes of Nickelodeon’s All Through three rounds of guessing, the panel will receive clues through sounds and visuals followed by a final round with the “charade brigade.” Celebrity panelists include Lori Beth Denberg and Amanda Bynes of Nickelodeon’s All That, Irene Ng from Nickelodeon’s The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo, Jenna Green from ABC’s Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Taran Noah Smith from ABC’s Home Improvement.
Revealing the talents and abilities of the contestants are not the only surprises. Panelists can be “slimed” at any time if they are caught doing a pre-determined “secret slime action” that only the audience knows about before-hand.
Contestants will win a number of prizes during the show. The longer the panel takes to figure out the talents, the more the contestants win. Some of the prizes feature actual set pieces from popular Nickelodeon shows such as All That and Clarissa Explains It All. Other prizes include trips to such destinations as ski resorts in Vermont, beach resorts in Florida and Jamaica; mountain bikes; video game gear and cameras.
Figure It Out was developed in-house as a Nickelodeon Producers Group project by Kay and Magda Liolis, Supervising Producer, Nickelodeon Productions. Sal Maniaci is Executive-in-Charge of Production.
Nickelodeon is one of the largest producers of children’s programming in the world and has been the number-one rated basic cable network since first quarter 1995. Nickelodeon and all related titles, logos and characters are trademarks of Viacom International Inc.
Unfortunately,the “official” page for Figure It Out is no longer available. However, Figure It Out is currently showing on Nick (cable) everyday from 4:00 – 5:00 Eastern time and 5:00 – 6:00 Central.
Michelle Trachtenberg appeared as a “guest” panelist on 12 shows.