Challenger was an Australian children’s game show that aired on the Nine Network in 1997 and 1998. The first host was Diarmid Heidenreich, famous for playing Dougie the pizza delivery guy in Pizza Hut commercials in the mid-1990s. After he left the show in early 1998 he was replaced by hosts Adrian DeVito and Zoe Sheridan. They filmed 265 episodes before the show was superseded by the return of Now You See It.
Challenger had two teams (Alpha and Omega) with three children a side. The teams consisted of a captain and two other members.
In the first round the contestants each answered a question from categories chosen at random by hitting their buzzer. Each question was worth 5 points and there was an extra 20 points on offer if all three categories matched. The questions were divided into six categories, spanning a range of genres: Cosmix, Entertainment, Geography, Language, Nature and Sport. Cosmix consisted of questions from all five other categories, plus some extra questions. The first round did not have a name. After both teams had answered their questions, the winning team were allowed to decide who would undertake the physical challenges first.
In the second round the teams competed in a set of physical challenges in order to earn questions to answer. Questions would be worth points depending on the challenge, usually 10 points per answer, plus a bonus 20 points for earning and correctly answering all 6 questions available in a challenge. Each member of both teams participated in one challenge, however some challenges – such as Go Ballistic – required the other teammates to provide a supporting role in completing the challenges.
The final round was called Slime Time and found the team leaders in glass containers below a slime showerhead. One of their teammates would be blindfolded, whilst the other would have their hands tied around their back. The four teammates would them look through a blue vat of slime for a disc with a question in it. Whichever team got the disc had the choice to either answer the question themselves, or force the other team to answer the question. Should the answering team get their question right, they would get 50 points and the other team’s captain would be slimed. If both teams were holding the disc simultaneously, the question wes read and anyone could buzz in to answer the question. If the answering team answered the question incorrectly, their opposing team would get 50 points and their team captain would be slimed. Occasionally, both captains were slimed. The lever to operate the slime (a mud-coloured liquid) was pulled by someone unseen. Sometimes a guest would be present in the show, such as the team’s school principal or a teacher, and they would be slimed with one of the team captains.
The first round was called Mind Zone. The three categories were “It’s a What?”, “Pick Your Face” and “Position Yourself” and all consisted of “What/Who/Where Am I” questions. There was only one question asked in this round. Whichever team answered the question correctly did not win any points, but got to choose which team attempted the challenges first.
In the second round the teams completed the physical challenges, like it was during Diarmid’s run. However, now every challenge had physical discs for the contestants to find (except for Go Ballistic), and each disc represented a question for the contestant to answer. Each correct answer is worth 10 points, and the questions are not separated into categories.
The final round was called Hyperflush, and functioned in the same way as before. The captains would be seated inside the tank, and their teammates would search the tank for a disc. The team who answered the question correctly (if any) would receive the bonus 50 points and Adrian would pull the lever to start a shower of coloured water for the losing captain, who would often make faces at the camera during his introduction in the segment.
Prizes for contestants would include CD-ROM encyclopedias and Sony Music Australia CDs.