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Kevin Seal (1996 Pilot)
Summer Sanders (1997–1999)
Lori Beth Denberg (one half of a 1998 episode)
Jeff Sutphen (2012–2013)
Jeffery "J" Dumas (1997–1999)
Joanne Dumas (J's Mom) (some Family Style episodes)
J's Dog (some Wild Style episodes)
Elle Young (2012–2013)
Broadcast (Nickelodeon)
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Unaired Pilot: 1996
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Figure It Out Wild Style.jpg
Sanders Era: 7/7/1997 – 12/12/1999 (reruns until 1/12/2000)
Figure it Out 2012.jpg
Figure it Out Alt.jpg
Sutphen Era: 6/11/2012 – 7/16/2013
Nickelodeon Productions

Figure it Out was a Nickelodeon panel game show where child contestants have some amazing secrets.


Sanders Era[]

Panelist Season(s) Type No. of Episodes
Aaron Carter 3rd Guest 1 Episode
Adam Busch 1st Regular 6 Episodes
Alisa Reyes 1st Regular 2 Episodes
Amanda Bynes All Series Regular 52 Episodes
Arjay Smith 2nd & 4th Regular 9 Episodes
Bob Sanders (Summer's Father) 3rd Guest 1 Episode
Boris Cabrera 4th Regular 3 Episodes
Brian Knobbs 4th Guest 1 Episode
CatDog 4th CGI 2 Episodes
Carla Overbeck 4th Guest 1 Episode
Carrot Top 3rd Guest 1 Episode
Cedric Ceballos 3rd Guest 1 Episode
Chris Jericho 3rd Guest 1 Episode
Christy Knowings Last Three Regular 23 Episodes
Colin Mochrie 4th Guest 1 Episode
Coolio 3rd Guest 1 Episode
Cousin Skeeter 3rd Guest 2 Episodes
Curtis Williams, Jr. 3rd Guest 1 Episode
Danny Tamberelli All Series Regular 96 Episodes
Dave Aizer 4th Regular 3 Episodes
Dennis Haskins 3rd Guest 1 Episode
Doug E. Doug 4th Guest 2 Episodes
Eleanor Noble 3rd 4 Episodes
Ellen David 3rd 3 Episodes
Erin J. Dean Last Three Regular 21 Episodes
Evander Holyfield 4th Guest 2 Episodes
The Giant 2nd Guest 2 Episodes
"Hacksaw" Jim Duggan 4th Guest 2 Episodes
Hardy Rawls 3rd Guest 1 Episode
Irene Ng All Series Regular 13 Episodes
"Jungle" Jack Hanna 4th Guest 3 Episodes
Jenna Leigh Green 1st Regular 4 Episodes
Jesse Camp 4th Guest 2 Episodes
Joe Namath 2nd Guest 1 Episode
Josh Server First Two Regular 15 Episodes
Judy Grafe 3rd Guest 1 Episode
"Dr. J" Julius Erving 4th Guest 1 Episode
Kareem Blackwell 4th 10 Episodes
Kel Mitchell Middle Two Regular 9 Episodes
Kenan Thompson Middle Two Regular 16 Episodes
Kevin Kopelow All Series Regular 56 Episodes
Kordell Stewart 2nd Guest 1 Episode
Leon Frierson 2nd 3 Episodes
Lindsay Felton 4th 2 Episodes
Lori Beth Denberg First Three Regular 115 Episodes
Marc Weiner 1st Regular 10 Episodes
Mark Saul 4th Regular 14 Episodes
Meagan Good 3rd 4 Episodes
Michelle Trachtenberg Middle Two Regular 12 Episodes
Michael Maronna 3rd 1 Episode
Mike O'Malley First Two Regular 12 Episodes
Moira Quirk First Two Regular 7 Episodes
Mýa 4th Guest 1 Episode
Neil Smith 2nd Guest 2 Episodes
Penny Hardaway 2nd Guest 1 Episode
Phil Moore First Three Regular 22 Episodes
Preslaysa Edwards 1st Regular 8 Episodes
Richard Simmons 4th Guest 1 Episode
Robert Ri'chard 3rd 4 Episodes
Rondell Sheridan 4th 7 Episodes
Schuyler Fisk 4th Guest 1 Episode
Shane Sweet 2nd & 4th Guest 12 Episodes
Shannon Miller 3rd Guest 1 Episode
Sherman Hemsley 4th Guest 1 Episode
Steve Burns 4th 5 Episodes
Steve Purnick 2nd 5 Episodes
Summer Sanders 2nd Guest 1/2 episode as a panelist
Tara Lipinski 4th Guest 9 Episodes
Taran Noah Smith First Two Regular 7 Episodes
Tiffany Roberts 4th Guest 1 Episode
Travis White 3rd 5 Episodes
Vanessa Baden 1st Guest 1 Episode

Sutphen Era[]

Panelist Type No. of Episodes
A. J. DeLaGarza Special Guest 1 episode
Alex Heartman 3 episodes
Ana Mulvoy-Ten 5 episodes
Ariana Grande 4 episodes
Ashley Argota 5 episodes
Avan Jogia 2 episodes
Bryan Jordan Special Guest 1 episode
Camille Spirlin 1 episode
Candace Parker Special Guest 1 episode
Carlos Knight 3 episodes
Carlos Pena Jr. 2 episodes
Challen Cates 3 episodes
Chris Rene Special Guest 1 episode
Chris O'Neal 3 episodes
Ciara Bravo Regular 21 episodes
Cody Simpson Special Guest 1 episode
Cymphonique Miller 4 episodes
Daniella Monet 2 episodes
Drake Bell 4 episodes
Elizabeth Gillies 4 episodes
Eric Lange 2 episodes
Gracie Dzienny 5 episodes
Halston Sage 4 episodes
Héctor Jiménez Special Guest 1 episode
Jackson Brundage 1 episode
Jacob Bertrand 1 episode
Jade Ramsey 6 episodes
Jake Weary 2 episodes
James Maslow 2 episodes
Jamie Lynn Spears 2 episodes
Jaylen Barron 1 episode
Jennette McCurdy 4 episodes
Kendall Schmidt 1 episode
Kirk Fox 3 episodes
Leon Thomas III 4 episodes
Logan Henderson 1 episode
Louie Vito Special Guest 1 episode
Lucas Cruikshank 2 episodes
Lulu Antariksa 7 episodes
Marcus Canty Special Guest 1 episode
Matt Bennett Regular 18 episodes
Max Schneider 7 episodes
Metta World Peace Special Guest 1 episode
Michael Eric "Mikey" Reid 3 episodes
Nathan Kress 2 episodes
Noah Crawford 5 episodes
Noah Munck 6 episodes
Nolan Gould Special Guest 1 episode
Rachel Crow 4 episodes
Ramy Youssef 2 episodes
Ryan Newman Special Guest 1 episode
Ryan Potter 9 episodes
Samantha Boscarino 5 episodes
Sean Franklin Special Guest 1 episode
Stephen Kramer Glickman 3 episodes
Tanya Chisholm 2 episodes
Tony Hawk Special Guest 1 episode
Victoria Justice 2 episodes
Victory Van Tuyl 2 episodes

Watch & Win Panelists[]

  • Allyson McGuire
  • Cristian Puente-Ortiz
  • Hannah Doughty
  • Marley Priest


A panel of four celebrities (mostly from Nickelodeon shows) faced one or two child contestants. The contestant came in with a secret which was always a talent, skill or achievement. The secret was hidden as a puzzle on a game board known as "Billy the Answer Head" (in Summer's era) or the "It" board (in the Sutphen era). The words in the puzzle were hidden behind blanks. The panel's job was figure out was the secret is.

The game board shows which words of the phrase are guessed, along with blanks denoting words that the panel didn't solve. Prepositions and articles, such as "of" and "an," are provided automatically. During the very early episodes of the show, synonyms of words that were on the board were accepted by the judges (e.g.: A panelist revealing the word "song" by saying the word "carol" and another episode featured a panelist revealing the word "box" by saying the word "bag"). This was quickly changed with the panelist having to say the exact word in a contestant's talent in order for that word to be revealed on the board.

The game was played in three rounds all of which lasted for one minute (60 seconds) in the Sanders Era, while the Sutphen Era had just the first round last for one minute and 45 for the last two. In each round, the panelist in control asked yes-or-no questions in an attempt to "Figure it Out". Each time the panelist got a yes answer, his/her turn continued and as soon as he/she got a no answer, control went to the next panelist in line. The panelist in control can voluntarily pass control should he/she gets stumped. Sometimes, a panelist's question would be one the contestant wouldn't understand in anyway; whenever that happened, host Sanders asked the judges for the answer. Each time a panelist mentions a word that is part of the phrase that describes the secret talent, it was turned over on Billy the Answer Head or for the "It" Board, one of the screens would reveal the word.

During each round, the panelists receive one clue as a hint to one of the words of the secret phrase. The clues appear in many ways like on a train called the "Clue Express", sounds (rarely used), the Clue-Coaster (seasons 4-6), featured messy clues erupting out of the clue boxes all over the panel, making them just as messy as a sliming, especially in the Sutphen era which made the panel cautious when opening the clue boxes, by the studio audience or pantomime by the "Charade Brigade" which always showed up in round three. The Charade Brigade was only used in the Sanders era. Clue Force 3 replaced the Charade Brigade for the Sutphen Era, plus they also drew the clues not just act them out. Also, the Clue Express was replaced by The Clue Coaster for the Sutphen era. The contestant wins a prize after each round that their talent remains unguessed. The prize for winning the third round is a trip. In Season 1, prizes consisted mainly of leftover props from then-defunct Nickelodeon shows such as All That, Legends of the Hidden Temple and Global Guts. Merchandise prizes (such as a Nintendo 64) and gift cards for stores including Kids Foot Locker, Toys 'R' Us, and Loew's began to appear as prizes during later seasons. If Round 3 ends with at least one word left unrevealed, each panelist takes one final guess as to what the contestant's talent is (any correct words given during the final guess are revealed, as during the game). The game ends when a panelist guesses the secret talent or if no panelist guesses the secret talent correctly after the "last guess" stage.

Secret Slime Action[]

In each game, from the start of round 2, a randomly selected member of the studio audience plays for a prize (a merchandise prize, such as a Nintendo 64 or a mountain bike in season 1 or a Figure It Out-branded article of clothing in seasons 2-6). If at least one or more panelists perform the action, those panelists will be slimed by the end of round 3 especially when one of the panelist tries to break the rules and get a second chance (during season 1, the secret slime action could be triggered anytime after the end of round 1, including between rounds and when the contestant is performing their secret). The action designated as the Secret Slime Action is typically simple and almost guaranteed: touching a clue, looking to the left (which was reflexive, as clues were commonly wheeled out on a small track from a tunnel to the panel's left), using the phrase "Are you..." or "Is it...," looking to the audience behind the panel (who was sometimes used for clues), saying "I don't know," which panelist Danny Tamberelli was notable for saying at the top of his lungs on this show, having a certain name and even being a panelist were all used as actions. For example, Steve Burns (from Blue's Clues) was slimed because the Secret Slime Action was "having a blue dog," Alex Heartman (from Power Rangers Samurai) was slimed because the Secret Slime Action was "wearing a red unitard to work" and Jade Ramsey (from House of Anubis) was slimed because the Secret Slime Action was "having an identical twin sister." Despite this, and contrary to popular belief, the Secret Slime Action was not always performed in the original series. In the new version, Secret Slime Actions are almost impossible to miss and so far, there has not been a single show in which it was not performed during both halves of gameplay. In episode 14 of season six, however, there was finally an instance where it was not performed. The Secret Slime Action in that episode was "saying 'wait'" for the first segment. Some Actions are logically not able to be forced, such as "thinking about coconuts" or "thinking about mushroom soup." Especially in the latter seasons, a successful Action has mostly been a foregone conclusion – the variables have only been when it will be triggered, and by whom (not necessarily a panelist). When the Secret Slime Action is triggered, all play stops (including the clock) while the panelist is slimed and the action revealed, after which gameplay resumes. The host knows of the action and sometimes tricks the panelists into performing it by making them say or touch something (in one episode, the action was "touching your head." Sanders touched her head and said, "Have you done something with your hair?," which caused the panel to touch their heads in reaction). Although incredibly unlikely, mistakes are possible to be made in regards to the action. For example, in one episode, the Secret Slime Action was “Looking at Lori Beth.” Moira Quirk, Amanda Bynes, and Danny Tamberelli were not looking at Lori Beth, and they mistakenly got slimed, so Summer insisted on sliming them again.

Word of Honor[]

Shay Mosher & Jeff Sutphen getting slimed due to the Word Of Honor

In the 2012 revival, prior to each game, one word of either the first or second contestant's secrets may be designated as the "Word of Honor." Should the panel guess this word, the contestant is slimed. As the contestant is slimed, gameplay and the clock are paused. If the Word of Honor was unguessed, it would be out of play for the rest of the show (e.g. if it was unguessed in game 1, it would not carry over to game 2). The Word of Honor is also shown on a green background instead of the white background. Also, if a player got slimed by the Word of Honor, Elle would tell the player that they got slimed when she recaps the prizes that player won (e.g. "Lookin' mean and green!"). One notable occurrence of the Word of Honor in season 5 featured the contestant running off the set when the word was guessed, resulting in Jeff having to chase him off set to bring him back and held him down to ensure he got slimed.

Performing the Secret[]

At the end of the game, after the secret talent is revealed (regardless if the panel figures it out or not), the contestant demonstrates or displays their skill and discusses it with the host and panel.

Family Style[]

For the 3rd season, the series became Figure It Out: Family Style, featuring two or three contestants who were related, typically parent-child or siblings. Sometimes on the 2nd half, the panel can have a family member of the contestant. Sometimes, the Charade Brigade can have family members of the panelists and the host. Figure It Out: Family Style also features Little Billy. If the panelists figured out the contestants' secret, then Little Billy (a miniature version of Billy the Answer Head with hair and on wheels) would come out. Summer reads a question about the family's talent and then each panelist will try to guess one (impossible) answer. If they can't figure it out (no panel ever did since they simply treated it as a free-for-all most times by guessing answers intended for comedic response), then the answer in Little Billy would reveal and which gives the family another chance to win a prize (usually the Figure It Out apparel used for the Secret Slime Action Rounds). For certain episodes, J's mother, Joanne Dumas filled in as the show's announcer.

Wild Style[]

For the 4th and final season, the show was retitled Figure It Out: Wild Style and focused solely on talents involving animals; in addition, Billy the Answer Head was reshaped into various animals. During these episodes, the panelists went wild with hair, wigs and make-up, sporting a different, distinctive look. Sometimes, instead of J himself doing the narration work, some episodes would instead be narrated by J's dog. This is the only Figure It Out season that does not include Lori Beth Denberg, as she had moved on to work on the The Steve Harvey Show. During these episodes, seven different panelists such as Steve Burns, Shane Sweet, Erin J. Dean, Christy Knowings, Irene Ng, Kevin Kopelow and Kareem Blackwell permanently replaced Lori Beth in the chair she always sat in. Sometimes a orangutang named "Bailey the clue Orangutang" would show off the prizes and give out clues. Also, a chimpanzee named "Crush the Chimpanzee Cluemaster" was also featured on the show and did the same occupation as Bailey.

Mini Games (Sanders Era only)[]

During the Sanders era when there was extra time to fill (usually after a game), the panel and contestant would play an extra game. Here are a list of mini games that a lucky contestant (chosen by J) from the studio audience would play with the panelists and Summer:

  • Name that Thingy - A game where the panelists are hiding a thingy on the clue express and the contestant must find out what that thingy is.
  • Name that Critter - Featured on the Wild Style version. The gameplay similar to The Liar's Club. The contestant must find out who is telling the truth about the critter.
  • The Drench Bench - A game where the contestant must aim in the center of a target with a plunger. The panelist is sitting on the drench bench. If he/she hits the target, then the panelist gets slimed in the drench bench.
  • The Last Laugh - A game where the control panel to activate the slime spewer comes down and the contestant hits the button. Afterwards, one of the panelists will get slimed. Note: A lucky audience member is not selected in this game, only the contestant who performed the secret earlier.
  • Lightning Letters - A panelist would be chosen and is given three little secrets to charade to the other panelist who have to guess what the secrets are in 30 seconds. This game was only played once.
  • The Figure it Out Super Secret Panel Matchup - A board comes out with four secrets, each one representing one panelist. The contestant would match up the secrets to the panelist by taking the secret off the board and placing it on the clue express in front of the correct panelist. The contestant would have 30 seconds to do this. This game was also only played once.

If the contestant won the mini game, he/she would take home a grand prize. If the contestant did not win, then there would be a consolation prize for him/her. Most likely Figure it Out apparel.


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Rick Witkowski (1997-1999)

Roy Harter for SkinnyMan (2012-2013)


Kevin Kay & Magda Liolis


Nickelodeon Studios, Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida (1997–1999)
Paramount Studios, Los Angeles, California (2012–2013)


Two board games were produced by Cardinal Game in 1998. The regular version and the Wild Style version.[1]

Clothing and apparel was made for Figure It Out such as shirts, T shirts, jackets, sweaters having the show's logo on it.


  • While doing the show, Summer Sanders, Danny Tamberelli, and legendary football player John Elway shot a TV commercial for Sound Bites lollipops.
  • During the 1998-99 NBA Season, Summer Sanders visited a Utah Jazz game and talked with the Jazz players, fans, and staff.
  • This is a Nickelodeon game show that combines What's My Line? with I've Got a Secret.
  • In the Sanders era, the slime came directly down from the Slime Spewer. In the Sutphen era, the slime came from both directly down and shot right up in the panelist's face on the panel desk.
  • The ALARM sound from Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego? was re-used as the slime sound whenever a panelist got slimed.
  • In the first season of the Sanders era, whenever Sanders announced the lucky audience member for the secret slime action, an animated green arrow pointed to that certain audience member when he/she was shown on camera.

In Popular Culture[]

In two episodes of "All That", there were sketches of a parody of Figure it Out called, "What Do You Do?", where it was hosted by hostess Winter Wonders (parody of Summer Sanders, played by Christy Knowings). The panelists are characters from other All That sketches. The game is sort of similar to FIO where the panelist tries to answer questions about what the person does.

Other Pictures[]

Sanders Era[]

Sutphen Era[]

Models (Sutphen Era)[]

Additional Pages[]

Figure it Out/Quotes & Catchphrases
Figure it Out/Video Gallery



YouTube Videos[]

Promos for The New Figure it Out
Figure it Out 2012 Preview Promo
2nd New Figure it Out Promo