Review of "Battle of the Network Stars" on ABC From The TV MegaSite

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Battle of the Network Stars 

Review of "Battle of the Network Stars" 7/7/17 by Suzanne
Airs Mondays 10/9c on ABC

They re-made this show over into looking more like "Dancing with the Stars." If you're a fan of the original show, you might not like this. I was in high school when the original started airing, and I never watched it until much later, when it was re-running on one of the sports channels. I enjoyed it then, although partly because it showed some of my favorite actors back in the old days, when they were younger and more fit.

Originally, they held these competitions twice a year. The competitors were all from ABC, NBC or CBS (the only networks around back then), but it was a fairly serious competition in the sense that the actors did all of the events, in real time.  Just about every actor on there was on a current show and promoting it.  It was fun to watch because you got to see actors doing something unusual, not just acting, and the competition between the networks was also fun.  Howard Cosell was the host, and he gave it an air of gravitas, but he also poked a little fun at it.

Now, they have way more networks (even if they only stuck to broadcast networks), so instead, they've grouped the people into red and blue teams and then put some kind of label on them such as "sitcom stars" or "TV kids" etc.  They mix older actors (mostly from the 80's and 90's) with younger ones.  The problem with this is not all of the older actors have a current show, and it just seems kind of pathetic to have them on there (like when they're on DWTS or other celebrity B-list shows). There is competition, but not as much fun as when it was between the different networks.

It's only an hour long, and it's every week. They should have made it at least two hours. They don't show the whole competition in real time any more. They just show snippets of it. This all makes it more like a reality show like DWTS than the sports show it used to be. They have two sportscasters I never heard of as the hosts. They should have chosen someone more famous or did what Howard Cosell used to do...pair up with an older celebrity or someone who's good on campus. Mario Lopez or Cameron Mathison or William Shatner would have been good choices. The ones they use now are just boring.

They should have divided them up into 6 teams: ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CW and cable/PBS.  Then they could have had two teams compete each week until they had the playoffs and narrowed it down to just one winner. That would have made it more like sports and we would have seen a broader range of celebrities.  Again, they should only have people who are in good shape and who are in a current show, like the old one. No one wants to see a fat, balding guy like Bronson Pinchot doing these competitions.  Sorry, fans, but it's true.  At least Tom Arnold was funny and actually helped them win the Tug of War competition.

Of course, one big change is that the show is no longer sexist. It goes out of its way not to be, in fact. The women are not wearing skimpy workout clothes. They used to always have the young bimbo actresses on the show. That was fun. Especially when they did the dunk tanks. I wouldn't mind them showing more flesh and also making it both men and women. Why not? As long as it's the young and pretty ones of both genders, and they're just doing sports, not stripping or something. It's not as if they don't show people's bodies in all of the other shows, including sports, when they need to.

I only watched the first episode so far, and it was all ABC stars, past and present. I hope there's more diversity in future episodes. I do plan to keep watching it. It's a fun Summer show. It's just not nearly as good as the original.


The '70s and '80s television pop-culture classic, Battle of the Network Stars (which premiered from ABC Sports in 1976 and continued for 13 years), will be revived when it returns to television on ABC. Battle of the Network Stars is a nostalgic throwback to the original series where TV celebrities blended athleticism with hilarious antics. The 10-episode summer event will pit teams of current and classic TV stars from multiple eras and different genres against one another in a variety of athletic games. Viewers can look forward to seeing a fresh take at some of the classic show's sporting events like Tug of War, Archery, Kayak Relay, the Obstacle Course and the Dunk Tank.

The hosts will be Mike Greenberg and Joe Tessitore of ESPN; Cassidy Hubbarth and Cari Champion of ESPN will be the sideline reporters; plus Super Bowl 50 winner DeMarcus Ware and MMA fighter/Olympian Ronda Rousey will be the team captains.

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