That’s when he met GUTS creator Albie Hecht, who offered him the hosting gig on the show. “It was a fun time at Nickelodeon. Geraldine Laybourne, who used to run Nickelodeon, would talk about [how the network was] a place where kids are in charge. And so the programming was about them and their own wish fulfillment.”
Former contestants on the show included stuntwoman Anna Mercedes Morris (who coincidentally worked on an episode of Glee as Lea Michele’s stunt double), MLS soccer star Bobby Boswell, Hamilton West End actor Gregory Haney and Backstreet Boy AJ McLean. “I don’t remember [McLean]. I remember Jana Helms, who actually now is sadly paralyzed.”
Helms was known on GUTS as Jana “The Warrior” Waring. “She was an unbelievable athlete,” O’Malley remembers. Helms was part of the show’s second season one-hour special, Nickelodeon GUTS All-Stars, where three perfect-scoring players from the first season competed against each other. Five years later, while performing as a gymnast at Sea World in Orlando, she broke her neck and became paralyzed from the chest down. Helms is now married and living in Los Angeles.