SHOWS FOR YOUNGSTERS AND THEIR PARENTS TOO : Calling all good drivers and bomb defusers for Family game shows


Fast on the success of Nickelodeon’s “Legends of the Hidden Temple,” “GUTS,” and “Wild & Crazy Kids” come two more game shows for kids. The Family Channel premieres both this week.

The basics for the new game shows are the same as Nickelodeon’s: overcoming obstacles to win a prize and/or title. And why not? It’s a tried-and-true formula.

The first, Maximum Drive, offers something kids love: motorized vehicles.

“The Family Channel came to us with some research that showed kids would love some form of motorized vehicle race,” says Vin DiBona, executive producer. Further research by DiBona and partner Eyton Keller (producers of “America’s Funniest People”) revealed that off-road racing is popular with families.


On “Maximum Drive,” teams of three kids age 12 to 14, race in relays on motorized bikes, all-terrain four-wheeled vehicles, six-wheeled Argo vehicles and Wave Runners--motorized water vehicles.

“The Argo is like driving a tank,” explains DiBona. “On the different vehicles, on various courses, they go through mud pits, all kinds of obstacles and bodies of water.

“It’s an incredible opportunity for kids to fulfill a fantasy that everyone has had when they were a child,” Keller says. “They don’t just drive these vehicles but race them safely--and they’re not just going around and around a track. There’s an amazing obstacle course set up. It’s not about speed, really, but skill.”

DiBona adds that in the 20 episodes shot so far, no injuries have been reported. “Everything is very well-supervised,” he says. Competitors, culled from clubs and at official specialized off-road racing arenas, have all raced or ridden motorized vehicles.


At the end of each show, the winning team gets a prize, ranging from video games to CD players. When a showdown brings the best teams together, the big prizes are complete computer setups for each contestant.

Says DiBona: “We want to keep the prizes fun for kids, but not something that makes them overly competitive. The prizes are kid-oriented and kid-usable.”

In Masters of the Maze, there’s a countdown for kid contestants as three teams vie to disarm the intricate mastery of a multitiered “time bomb.”

Team members use interactive equipment to guide each other through mazes with actual and digitalized barriers. In the final stage, two teams battle each other by shooting revolving targets for points and prizes.


Monday also marks the Family Channel’s new weekday lineup for kids, which, in addition to the two new game shows, includes: Popeye, 7 a.m.; Inspector Gadget, 7:30 a.m.; Xuxa, (beginning Sept. 12) 8 a.m.; The Legend of Prince Valiant, 8:30 a.m.; Heathcliff, 3 p.m.; Super Mario Brothers Super Show, 3:30 p.m.; That’s My Dog, 4:30 p.m.; Rin Tin Tin K-9 Cop, 6 p.m., and The New Lassie, 6:30 p.m.

“Maximum Drive” and “Masters of the Maze” premiere Monday. “Maximum Drive” airs weekdays at 5 p.m., Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. and Sunday s at 10:30 a.m. “TimeBomb” airs weekdays at 5:30 p.m., Saturday s and Sundays at 10:30 a.m. on the Family Channel. For ages 6 and up.

Another Family Show

As The Adventures of Pete & Pete (Saturday 8:30 p.m. Nickelodeon) enters its second season, the brothers named Pete offer a look at “What We Did On Our Summer Vacation.” R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe and the B-52s’ Kate Peirson show up as guests. For ages 6 and up.