Battle of the Network Stars

Battle of the Network Stars Reboot Eyed at ABC — But Who Would Compete?

Get out your knee-high athletic socks and high-on-the-thigh gym shorts, because a new Battle of the Network Stars may be waged.

ABC is looking to reboot the fun-in-the-sun competition series, which “back in the day” pitted teams from ABC, CBS and NBC — because that is all we had, kids — against each other in assorted track-and-field events. (Note Happy Days‘ Scott Baio cheering on Eight Is Enough’s Willie Ames above. And thank me for my prudent photo cropping.)

But while our sister site Variety reports that the reboot will feature “stars from across multiple television genres competing to raise money for charity,” color me skeptical. Especially in these highly competitive TV times, where everyone is scraping for any tenth of a demo point they can muster. Lending your stars to a rival’s series would seem awfully generous in this day and age.

Case in point: Variety references “a casting search” that is now underway, with an eye on a May shoot date (to then air this summer). Is that to see which actual network stars (or more likely, “stars”) are willing to give up a few days of vacation (and risk an off-season groin pull)? Or might the end result be, say, civilian teams led by a “star” captain? We shall see.

Donning your most rose-colored glasses, which network stars would you wish to see do battle?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. KT says:

    First off, that picture is mint! I would love to see a reboot, as it will be so awesomely cheesey. A couple of years ago, there was talk about Stephen Amell being a team captain for a team. That could be entertaining!

  2. Brian says:

    These were fun to watch as a kid.

  3. CT says:

    I loved Battle of the Network Stars back in the day! I need the CW team to have Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, and Stephen Amell!

    • ninergrl6 says:

      YES! I loved the show as a kid too (before reality TV and social media and having access to celebs 24/7) and I’d LOVE to see a CW team. Hell, just let all of the CW casts compete against each other and forget the other networks. Most of them film in Vancouver anyway. I’d definitely watch Battle of the CW Stars.

  4. hristina t says:

    I loved watching this show even the reruns were fun. Not sure how it would work since so many of today actors are paid big money. Studios may not want risk some of these actors.but if they can it would be awesome

  5. Tomm Huntre says:

    These were fun to watch when I was a kid! Having the show revisited could be a lotta fun!!

  6. kate says:

    If this were either of the other big three, I might think that, like NBC could have NBC shows competing against USA and Sy Fy shows or CBS fighting against CW show. Or Fox against its networks. ABC would have, um, Disney channel, Freeform, and ESPN, I guess.

  7. :-) says:

    This has a chance of working. It will probably have to be done like the awards shows, guaranteed screen time and mentions of the shows and networks. After all we might fall in love with an actor that shows personality and want to check out their ahow.

  8. Cari says:

    I would watch if they had the Agents of Shield against Stephen Amell, Caity Lotz, Grant Gustin, Melissa Benoist, and David Ramsey. That would be epic!

  9. Avery says:

    Scott Baio was a BEAST in the obstacle course. I always felt bad for anybody who competed against him because you knew they were screwed.

    What about network scripted shows vs. streaming scripted shows, vs. reality shows?

    • Jimmy says:

      Yes Scott Baio did well on the show. So did Mark Harmon. It was fun watching the stars compete athletically against each other.

  10. Tom Hupf says:

    How it could work is for other Networks to put actors on new shows on. Free promotion. I never knew who Tom Selleck was before old show. Howard Cossell kept screaming Magnum PI in every event made me ask What’s a Magnum PI?

    There were several shows I checked out based on the show which must have been in summer before the new season

  11. Avery says:

    Or Broadcast Scripted Vs. Cable Scripted Vs. Streaming Scripted Vs. Reality Shows?

  12. Jason says:

    It would be hard to beat team CW, what with all the awesome athletes they have over there. They should do this once a year and let each network take turns hosting it. But that is definitely not going to happen. Unfortunately, we’re probably going to end up with a bunch of reality stars and such. It’s not interesting unless they get some real names.

  13. nickp91 says:

    Bill Walton and Dave Pasch for Battle of the Network Stars Should be fun television

  14. Shar says:

    Robert Conrad versus Gabe Kaplan – epic.

    • Nero tTVfiddler says:

      Good memory! I recall as a kid/teen watching and enjoying these shows – silly fun. I think Conrad and Kaplan squared off in some sort of tie-breaking relay race. Gabe was surprisingly athletic! He seemed to be very relaxed on camera on Kotter and off camera in interviews, but out there on the track, he was a beast!

      As other comment noted, Scott Baio was unbeatable back in the day – young guy with great agility. Young kid going up against middle aged adults. I believe the photo used for this article is of Willie Aames (Eight is Enough)… being ‘coached’ by one of his teammates. “Pull harder Willie!” Screaming ability was a key attribute as a teammate in these events.

      Would I watch a summer version of this reboot? Sure, why not. At least to see if enough real actors from series would join the show, or if we would get just a bunch of wanna-be celebrities via reality TV series. Hello DWTS. I can’t take too much more of that.

  15. TvPeong says:

    This would be awesome!
    NBC: Sasha Roiz, Jacqueline Toboni, David Giuntoli & Damien Puckler (Grimm), Justin Hartley, Sterling K. Brown, Susan Kelechi Watson & Milo Ventimiglia (This is Us), Mariska Hargitay (SVU), Monica Raymund (Chicago Fire)
    CBS: Mark Harmon!, Donnie Wahlberg (Blue Bloods), Tristin Mays & Sandrine Holt (McGyver), Alex O’Loughlin, Grace Park & Daniel Dae Kim (Hawaii 50), LL Cool J (NCIS LA), Joshua Morrow & Kristoff St. John (Y&R)
    Fox: Kylie Bunbury & Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Pitch), Taraji P Henson & Jussie Smollett (HTGAWM), Ben McKenzie & Morena Baccarin (Gotham), Tom Mison & Lyndie Greenwood (Sleepy Hollow), Damon Wayans & Clayne Crawford (Lethal Weapon)
    ABC: Ming-Na Wen, Henry Simmons & Elizabeth Henstridge (AoS), Jesse Williams & Camilla Luddington (Grey’s Anatomy), Aja Naomi King, Billy Brown, Charlie Weber & Karla Souza (HTGAWM), Vinessa Antoine (GH)
    CW: Stephen Amell (Arrow), Caity Loitz & Maisie Richardson-Sellers (LoT), Melissa Benoist, Mehcad Brooks & Chyler Leigh (Supergirl), Candice Patton & Grant Gustin (Flash), Jensen Ackles & Jared Padalecki (Supernatural)

  16. robin says:

    So funny. I was thinking about this the other day. Charity and bragging rights?

  17. Robin says:

    I would so watch this!! Fun fact: Randi Oaks of Chips and Gregory Harrison of Trapper John, MD met on Battle of the Network Stars, got married and are still married decades later!!

  18. readenreply says:

    Why not “Wipeout” Celebrity Edition?

    • ncmacasl says:

      that is exactly the concept of the show, but with other comps as well, including a hilarious “Simon Says” and basic Olympic summer sports (track and field, baseball, swimming) and an obstacle course. but the Wipeout commentators would be perfect for this as well.

  19. phredd! says:

    I saw the uncropped version of that pic. . . . . “Willie” Ames, indeed! Haha!! :D

  20. Kay says:

    These shows were fantastic to watch as a kid and even better in the reruns they had. With Mark Harmon and Tom Selleck currently on TV, it would be great to see them usher in the next generation on Battle of the Network Stars.

  21. flutiefan says:

    i LOVED these shows as a kid! we’d get excited every time it came on… mostly because we got to go to the Battles and meet the stars! i was maybe 4 years old the year i got to go, but i remember having so much fun!

  22. Mel says:

    They must have a PBS team this time, with Judy Woodruff, Martha Stewart, Ming Tsai, etc.

  23. ncmacasl says:

    It has to be NETWORK-based teams – even add a few extra teams for Fox and CW (they didn’t exist back in the time of the original). later reboots did more random teams. and Yes, I would prefer to bar online and cable — too many teams. but if they must, perhaps the main 5, plus a cable team plus a “digital” team. Of course, this would make for 7 teams when the original only had 3 (which would then get narrowed down to final 2 — resulting in the grand finally tug-of-war). perhaps they could do tournament styles. maybe 8 teams: Pay cable and basic cable could be separated. That could work!!! (watched this all the time as a kid!!)

  24. Brenda says:

    Oh I loved these. I used to watch Bruce Jenner compete too, guess some things have changed

  25. anonymous says:

    Have you folks ever get the feeling that Battle of the Network Stars on ABC is promoting a show for competing broadcast networks? Sure it was much looser back then, But it is most definitely frown upon today because it’s somehow telling people to watch the competition.