Battle of the Network Stars 2017: The Hulk, Hercules, Captain Jack Harkness, and Cordelia Chase!

Battle of the Network Stars 2017: The Hulk, Hercules, Captain Jack Harkness, and Cordelia Chase!

ABC is reviving the 1970s and 1980s celebrity “sports” competition, Battle of the Network Stars!

It was a popular show: it wasn’t about seeing incredible physical feats, it was more about seeing the non-athletes being their authentic selves, doing the best they can.

The original series included some geek favorites: Lynda Carter, Richard Hatch, Lee Meriwether, William Shatner, Lou Ferrigno…

That last one is important, because he is one of a number of celebrities returning for the new series! Looking at the list of who is participating, my guess is that they invited many of the people back…quite a few are repeating, in addition to newbies.

The different format (twenty teams of five each) means that we get roughly four times the number of participants participants as the old show…and the geek is strong in this one. 😉

Each show has themed teams: obviously, we’ll be interested in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy team, but John Barrowman isn’t there…he’s on Troublemakers.

Here are the teams, with some geeky (and other) context. First, we define “geek-friendly” works as those presented as fiction which include elements that are presented to the audience as being outside of consensus reality (even if it is later revealed in the story that the “impossible” element is a mistake or a hoax). That can be fuzzy, but it’s rule of thumb.

We also are going to give you a geek factor score, which is also, of course, somewhat subjective:

Geek Factor

  • Non-geek (NG): no geek-friendly credits
  • Geek Factor 1 (GF1): perhaps a few scattered minor roles
  • Geek Factor 2 (GF2): at least one featured geek-friendly role
  • Geek Factor 3 (GF3): at least one starring geek-friendly role, or a featured geek-friendly role based on an existing gf character, or multiple featured geek-friendly roles
  • Geek Factor 4 (GF4): more than one starring gf role, or a starring GF role based on an existing GF character, or an established career as a geek-friendly supporting player…thought of by the public as a geek-friendly actor
  • Geek Factor 5 (GF5): icon

Additionally, we’ll indicate previous years of participation for the returners.

The teams (we expect to continue to update the individual listings throughout the season until we have done them all):

TV Sitcoms

  • Bronson Pinchot (Perfect Strangers) GF3: he does have some geek-friendly roles, especially voicework. He played The Prankster on Lois and Clark
  • Tom Arnold (Roseanne) GF2: his geek-friendly roles have been mostly voicework, cameos, and small parts
  • Dave Coulier (Full House) GF2: geek-friendly voicework includes Dr. Venkman in The Real Ghostbusters, and Animal in Muppet Babies
  • AJ Michalka (The Goldbergs) GF3: she played the young Dinah Lance in Birds of Prey, and appeared in The Lovely Bones and Super 8
  • Tracey Gold (Growing Pains) GF1: a few scattered geek-friendly roles


TV Kids

  • Joey Lawrence (Blossom) (GF3): quite a bit of voicework, including as Zeus (The Dog Who Saved…) and on screen in Isle of the Dead
  • Corbin Bleu (High School Musical)  GF3: played Young Tommy in Galaxy Quest and Butch in Mystery Men
  • Nolan Gould (Modern Family) GF3: Young Jimmy on Out of Jimmy’s Head, John Warner in Eleventh Hour, Sam in Space Buddies, Young Jonas Stein in Monster Heroes, Timmy Graco in Ghoul, Adam in Abominable Christmas, two roles on R.L. Stein’s The Haunting Hour
  • Lisa Whelchel (The Facts of Life) GF1 (Returner: 1984) : she was a Mousketeer and appeared in Shadow of Fear
  • Kim Fields (The Facts of Life) GF1 (Returner: May 1984; December 1984): guested on Mork & Mindy and Cupid, and was in The Kid with the Broken Halo and Monster Mutt

Primetime Soaps

  • Ian Ziering (Beverly Hills, 90210) GF4: Fin Shepard in the Sharknado TV movies (and Lavantula), Vinnie in Biker Mice from Mars, Wildwing on Mighty Ducks, and Harry Osborn in the 2003 Spider-Man series
  • Josh Henderson (Dallas ((2012)))  (GF1): appeared n Leaches and in Betwixt
  • Gabrielle Carteris (Beverly Hills, 90210) (GF3) : Nan in Raising Cain, voices in Batman Beyond, Men in Black: The Series, Johnny Bravo, Gargoyles, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Elektra and Enchantress on Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, Laethwen/Vicki Vale in Batman: The Brave and the Bold
  • Donna Mills (Knots Landing)  (GF1) (Returner: 1977; 1980; 1981; 1983): Beyond the Bermuda Triangle, Look What’s Happened to Rosemary’s Baby, Fantasy Island, Alice in Wonderland (1985), The Stepford Husbands, Cursed Part 3, A Very Cool Christmas, Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens
  • Mischa Barton (The O.C.) : Betty Ann Blongo on Kablam!, Kyra Collins in The Sixth Sense, Jessie Parker in A Resurrection, Ms. Monica in Gutsy Frog


ABC Stars

  • Olivia d’Abo (The Wonder Years) (GF4) (Returner: 1988): Princess Jehna in Conan the Destroyer, Amanda Rogers on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Sonya Blade in Mortal Combat: Defenders of the Realm, Ten in Batman Beyond: The Movie, Star Sapphire on Justice League, Shannon in the 2002 The Twilight Zone, Jane Porter in The Legend of Tarzan TV series, Black Widow in Ultimate Avengers, Luminara Unduli in Star Wars: Clone Wars, many more
  • Shari Belafonte (Hotel) (GF3) (Returner: 1983; May 1984; co-host December 1984; co-host 1988) : Blanche on Gravedale High, Laura Wingate on Beyond Reality, Lupe in Sonic the Hedgehog, Diana Cruz on The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, Doc Halliday in Mars, Mrs. Johanssen on Hey Arnold!, Elizabeth Trent on Babylon 5: Thirdspace
  • Michael Fishman (Roseanne) (GF2): Joey on Hey Arnold!, Mike Holliday in Little Bigfoot 2, Teen in Van in A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, Adi Shankar’s Gods and Secrets
  • Jason Hervey (The Wonder Years) (GF3) : Frank Dale in Frankenweenie, Milton Baines in Back to the Future, Kevin Morton in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, E.J. in The Monster Squad, Troll King in Return to Zork, Eddie McDowd in 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd, Dove in Justice League Unlimited
  • Anson Williams (Happy Days) (GF1) : Fantasy Island, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, The Hanna-Barbera Happy Hour


  • Joanna Krupa (model) (GF1): Friend at Leo’s Party in the 2001 Planet of the Apes
  • Nick Lachey (98 Degrees) (GF2) : Leslie St. Claire on Charmed, Vietnam Soldier in the Nicole Kidman Bewitched, Dwayne in Rise: Blood Hunter, Justin Towers in Star vs. The Forces of Evil
  • Vanessa Lachey (The Bold and the Beautiful)  (GF1): Johnny’s Wedding Date in Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Amy in Disaster Movie
  • Gilles Marini (Sex and the City) (GF2) : Henri in Screech of the Decapitated, Captain of the Guard/Paolo the Squire in Puss in Boots: The Three Diablos, Sebastien Valet in Teen Wolf TV series, Jacques Duchamp in Daredevil
  • Jack Osbourne (The Osbournes) (GF1): himself in Austin Powers in Goldmember


TV Sex Symbols

  • Keegan Allen (Pretty Little Liars) (NG)
  • Traci Bingham (Baywatch) (GF2) : Party Babe in Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight, Featured Reporter on Battlebots (2000), Vapor in the Life’s a Gas episode of Roger Corman’s Black Scorpion
  • Rosa Blasi (The Thundermans) (GF3): Dawn in Lost on Earth, Carolina Marquez in Avalon: Beyond the Abyss, Maria in The Grudge, Jeanine Winthrop on American Dad!, Barb Thunderman in The Thundermans
  • Brant Daugherty (Pretty Little Liars) (GF2): Ballistico in Super Sportlets, Dale in The Starving Games,
  • Galen Gering (Days of Our Lives) (GF1): Luis Lopez-Fitzgerald on Passions


  • Erik Estrada (CHiPs) (GF3) : Pepe in the Legacy of Terror episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Prince Sakari on The Six Million Dollar Man, Dr. Stone in Alien Seed, Duke in Earth Angel, Mr. Dork in Homeboys in Outer Space, Detective Francisco in Visions, Marco Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar Gabriel Garcia Marquez on Sealab 2021, Ambulance Driver Hero on Higglytown Heroes, voice on Phineas and Ferb, King Worm and Court Giant on Adventure Time, Carlos Sequin in Chupacabra vs. the Alamo, Nick ‘Loop’n Lopez in Planes: Fire & Rescue, Erik in Cool Cat Saves the Kids
  • Larry Wilcox (CHiPs) (GF2): Executive Producer, The Ray Bradbury Theatre
  • Kelly Hu  (Nash Bridges) (GF4): Eva Watanabe in Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, L.A.X. 2194, Ensign Yukiko Fujisaki in Star Command (AKA In the Fold), Christine Hung in the Cypher episode of The Sentinel, The Sorceress in the Scorpion King, Yuriko Oyama/Lady Deathstrike in X-Men 2, Lana in The Librarian: Quest for the Spear, Visas Marr in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II – The Sith Lord (videogame), Dr. Julia Hoffman in the 2005 version of Dark Shadows, Caitlin in Devil’s Den, Okiku in Afro Samurai, Detective Pei in Succubus: H*ll-Bent, various voices on Robot Chicken including Olive Oyl and Rainbow Brite, Dr. Annabelle Fermi in Area 57, Shen in Dead Space: Downfall (videogame), Suki Toyoma in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 (videogame), Ryoko Kurokama in Ninja Blade (videogame), Sha Shan Nguyen/Titania in The Spectacular Spider-Man (TV series), Miyumi/Miss Mirimoto in Scooby-Doo and the Samurai Sword, Wells in Terminator Salvation (videogame), Ms. Li in Batman: Under the Red Hood, Laira in Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, Stacy Hirano in Phineas and Ferb, Pearl Zhu on The Vampire Diaries, Jade Nguyen/Cheshire on Young Justice, Maizy in Scooby-Doo! Spooky Scarecrow, Abigail Chow on Warehouse 13, Dr. Gordon in Age of Tomorrow, Denise Brady in High School Possession, Katana in Infinite Crisis (videogame), D’Vorah/Sindel/Frost in Mortal Combat X (videogame), China White on Arrow, Karai on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2013 series). For more information, see the Kelly Hu born entry at The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip
  • Jodi Lyn O’Keefe (GF3) (Nash Bridges): Sarah in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, Lauren Randall in The Crow: Salvation, Cancace Aimes in Tru Calling, Layla Simmons in Out for Blood, Spider Demon in Charmed, Kelly Weaver in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 – Uprising (videogame), Mikayla in The Big Bang Theory, Lilith Reborn in Soul Fire Rising, Ava in Lost, Lisa in the A Cinderella Story episode of The Finder, Ronnie in the The Would-Be Prince of Darkness episode of Lucifer, Dr. Jo Laughlin on The Vampire Diaries 
  • Lorenzo Lamas (GF) (Renegade): Father Diaz in Real Blood: The True Beginning, Tom Astor in the Trust Me episode of The Hitchhiker, Sergeant Bobby Chase in Terminal Justice, Cale Oosha on Invasion America, Raphael “Rafe” Cain on The Immortal (2000 TV series), Dane Quatrell in Dark Waters, Trainor in Deep Evil, Hacket in Raptor Island, Andrew Dean in Sci-Fighter, Biggs in Unseen Evil 2, Mr. Jones in Thralls, Flight Instructor in Succubus: Hell-Bent, Lieutenant Michael Arronax in 30,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Allan Baxter in Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, Lorenzo Lamas in Pee-wee goes to Sturgis, Special Agent Logan in Raptor Ranch, Meap on Phineas and Ferb, John on Ghost Girls, guest on American Dad!, Sargent Rock in Sharknado 3: Oh H*ll No!, Steve in Exorcist Academy, Julio Garcia in Scorpion Girl


TV Sitcoms

  • Todd Bridges (Diff’rent Strokes) (GF2) : Petie in Twice Dead, Baron in The Darkling, Power Plant Guard in Ghost Dog: A Detective Tail, Ruben Herardo in Evil Grave: Curse of the Maya, Peter in Alien Express, Rick in The Damned, Larry Goleman in Monsters on Main Street, Mantus in Tesla Effect (videogame), College Fright Night, Hayden Webber in 2064: Read Only Memories (videogame)
  • Leigh-Allyn Baker (Good Luck Charlie) (GF4) : Mitzi in Shrunken Heads; Waitress in Leprechaun 3; Taylor/Maureen in The Incredible Hulk (guest voice, 1996 animated series); Alisa Silvermane on the 1995 Spider-Man animated series (voice); Hannah Webster on Charmed; Kate O’Rourke in the Luck o’ the Irish episode of Early Edition; Crewman Juliet Jurot in the Star Trek Voyage: Elite Force videogame and Star Trek: Elite Force II; Dr. Sidney Mobius in the Command & Conquer: Renegade videogame; Miyako Sudo in the Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly videogame; Jean Grey in the X-Men Legends videogame and X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse videogame; Merchant/Mender/Weaponsmith in the Everquest II videogame; Margie in the It’s Good to be the Queen episode of American Dad!; voice in Ninety-Nine Nights videogame; Flushed Away (videogame); Lakhesis in Gods of War II videogame; Major Elena Flores/Rebekah Petrovsky in Mass Effect (videogame); voice in Endwar videogame; various voices in Gears of War 2; Alice 1-30 in Halo Wars; Scarlett in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (videogame); Bella Bon Bueno in The Penguins of Madagascar TV series; Abby the Cow on the Back at the Barnyard TV series; additional voices in Star Wars: The Old Republic (videogame); Bong Cha / Erin Mahler / Madame Rogêt / Shani / Sophie in The Secret World (videogame); Bong Cha/Scenario Operator 2 in The Secret World: Issue 8 – The Venetian Agenda (videogame); Bong Cha in additional voices in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII; Cherri Pickford in Dog with a Blog; Queen Coralie/Mermaids in Jake and the Never Land Pirates; Queen Delightful/Snazzy Shazam on 7D (TV animated series)
  • Dave Foley (NewsRadio) (GF3): Alan Bean in From the Earth to the Moon (1998 miniseries); Flik in A Bug’s Life and Toy Story 2; Troy in Blast from the Past; The Baldwin Brothers in South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut; Hank the Technician in Cyberworld; Herb in Monkeybone; Francis in the Arthur, Interrupted episode of the 2002 live action version of The Tick; Laslow Oswald in What’s New, Scooby-Doo?; Priest in Lilo & Stitch: The Series; Mr. Boy in Sky High; Randall in Goose on the Loose; Francis Grey in the Seconds episode of The Batman; Henry Welby in Netherbeast Incorporated; Cult Cat in Slacker Cats; Malcolm Tunney in the Brain Storm episode of Project Atlantis; Principal Smith in Vampires Suck; Wayne in Prep & Landing; Yes Man in Fallout: Las Vegas (videogame); Buzz Chambers in Monster Brawl; Agent Rick in the Homeward Pound episode of Pound Puppies; Dr. Plotkin in the ONe Giant Leap episode of Eureka; Terry in Monsters University; Scientist in The Lair episode of Mr. Pickles; Dave Foley in International Ghost Investigators; Moff on Harvey Beaks
  • Willie Garson (Sex and the City) (GF3) : Board Member in Brain Dead (1990); Nerd Student in Repossessed; Heavy Metal Roadie in the original Twin Peaks; Alik Idell/Lee Harvey Oswald and Seymour in Quantum Leap (TV guest spots); Phil’s Assistant Kenny in Groundhog Day; The Barefoot Executive (1995 TV movie); Eddie Brenner on Touched by an Angel; Corporate Guy in Mars Attacks!; Strange Guy in VR. 5 (TV guest spot); Security Guard in the Killed by Death episode of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer (TV guest spot); Riga in Star Trek: Voyager; Guy in Restaurant in Being John Malkovich; Willie Dretler in Early Edition; Henry Weems and Quinton “Roach” Freely in The X-Files; Stanley Nussbaum in Fortress 2; Brett in What Planet Are You From?; Bones on Level 9 TV series; Ross Bowman/Amphorian/Cupid/Little Brother in Special Unit 2 (two episodes); Dr. Kreutz in Taken (Steven Spielberg alien abduction TV miniseries); Evan in the Lindsay Lohan version of Freaky Friday; Martin Lloyd on Stargate SG-1; Meyer Dickstein on John from Cincinnati; Mr. Frenchy on Wizards of Waverly Place; Dick Dicker in Pushing Daisies; Alan Hitchens in Medium; Tom Trudell in Monster Heroes
  • Jenna von Oÿ (Blossom) (GF2) : Mary Ann on The Kingdom Chums: Little David’s; Stefa in the Seasons of Belief episode of Tales from the Darkside; Amy in the Glim-Glim episode of Monsters (1989 TV series); Stacey in A Goofy Movie; Pandora in Hercules and the Green-Eyed Monster episode of (Disney’s) Hercules TV series; Sioned in Lands of Lore III (videogame); Co-Ed in An Extremely Goofy Movie; Rory in Family Guy; Gracie in Dr. Doolittle 3 (voice)

White House

  • Cornelius Smith Jr. (Scandal) (GF1) : Fabian North in the The Pugilist Break episode of Forever (TV guest spot); Case in the One Door Closes episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Marlee Matlin (The West Wing) (GF3): April Hare in the The Sound and the Furry episode of Adventures in Wonderland; Jennifer Winter in the The Message episode of the 1995 Outer Limits; Mayor Laurie Bey on Picket Fences; Marlee the Librarian on Blue’s Clues; Lead in What the #$*! Do We (K)now!?; Baby Einstein: Baby Wordsworth; Stella on Family Guy; Annie Jump Cannon on Cosmos: a SpaceTime Odyssey; Harriett on The Magicians
  • Joshua Malina (West Wing/Scandal) : Calculator Kid #3 in Infinity; Egghead Announcer in the Rules of the Game episode of Sliders; Tim Messick in the We Have Cleared the Tower episode of From the Earth to the Moon; Cicero in the Bad Guy episode of Stargate SG-1 (TV guest spot); Tim Carmer in the Car Trouble episode of Medium; Agent Auldridge in the Born to Run episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles; Duncan in the Hound Dog episode of Valentine; Dr. David Curan in the Spooky Little Girl episode of American Horror Story; President Siebert on The Big Bang Theory; Travis in Knights of Badassdom; Dr. Gavin Beck in What on Earth is Wrong episode of Extant (TV guest spot); Barkeep in Thrilling Adventure Hour Live
  • LaMonica Garrett (Designated Survivor) (GF2) : Fireman in the Bonfire and Betrayal episode of Eastwick (TV guest spot); Morshower’s Aide in Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Lt. TAO Cameron Burke on The Last Ship
  • Mary McCormack (The West Wing) (GF2) : Myrna Foy in Miracle on 34th Street (1994); Forest Ranger in Chaos (videogame); Andrea Baker in Deep Impact; Lily in 1408; Sarah Sandalls in Operation Nefarion: Mystery of the Horriversity – A Natasha Fighterblade Adventure; Ms. Richards in Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery; Mary McCormack in International Ghost Investigators



  • Elisabeth Röhm (Law & Order) (GF4) : Beautiful Cindy in the We’re Not Worthy episode of the 1998 Fantasy Island (TV guest spot); The Invisible Man (TV movie with Kyle MacClachlan as Jack Griffin); Detective Kate Lockley on Angel; Dr. Laurie Graves in Briar & Graves; Jennifer Zellan in Ghost Image; Lt. granger in The Awakening episode of Masters of Science Fiction; Lauren Gilmore on Heroes; Sheriff Glove in Lake Place: The Final Chapter; Rosie on Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark; FBI Special Agent Dana Landon on Beauty and the Beast (2014 TV series); Allison Shaw on The Last Ship; Johanna Shannon in Wish Upon; Tiffany in Scales: Mermaids Are Real; Zelda in Starbright
  • Corbin Bernsen (LA Law) (GF4): Reporter in 1976 King Kong; Jason Chadman in Hello Again; Mickey’s 60th Birthday; Q2 in the Deja Q episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation; Chad in the Evie Nightingale episode of Out of This World; Host of The Extraordinary; General Morgan Breslaw in Final Mission; Duke Metger in Tales from the Hood; Foster Carver in Inhumanoid; Felix Medina in Menno’s Mind; Eric Weiss in the Angel of Death episode of Touched by an Angel; John Wahl in Tidal Wave: No Escape; USAF Colonel Henry “Bull” Eckert; Barnes in Spacejacked; Rob Preston in The Fairy King of Ar; Roger Stovall/Bill Water in the Death and Taxes episode of Twice in a Lifetime; Virgil Nygard in the Abaddon episode of the 2000 version of The Outer Limits; Dr. Hyde in Raptor; Carl Hart in Fangs; Larry in The Tomorrow Man; Sheriff C.B. Bishop in Atomic Twister; Mark Mallory in Dead Above Ground; Chief Spivak in The Santa Trap; Norbert in They Are Among Us; Captain Riley in Raging Sharks; Ira in the Right to Die episode of Masters of Horror; Rowland in House of Fallen; Burton in Vipers; Dr. F in Dead Air (also directed); Barry Polk in Suing the Devil; Bob Connelly in the Shorthanded episode of Scorpion; Mr. Friedrich in Sensory Perception; Buck in Dead Man Rising; Vanderveer Wayne Sr. in Powerless; Vulcan in the A Murder of Gods episode of American Gods; Alfred (Grandpa) in Jessica Frost
  • Matt McGorry (How to Get Away with Murder) (GF2) : Gorm in Gizor and Gorm; Spider-Man on One Life to Live; EMT#1 in the Foe episode of Person of Interest; Jacob in the Twilight Explains the European Debt Crisis episode of Jest Originals; 
  • Romi Dias (Doubt) (NG)
  • Catherine Bell (JAG) : Cop in Alien Nation: Body and Soul (TV movie); Cynea in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys; Susan Ortega in Bruce Almighty and Evan Almighty; Emily Patterson on The Triangle; Daphne Larson in the Outbreak episode of Threshold; Cassandra (Cassie) Nightingale in The Good Witch TV movies and series; Joanne in The Bandit Hound

TV Moms & Dads

  • Chad Lowe
  • Greg Evigan
  • Ted McGinley
  • Lesley Fera
  • Jackee Harry


TV Kids

  • Jimmie Walker
  • Mackenzie Phillips
  • Jonathan Lipnicki
  • Krista Marie Yu
  • Jeremy Miller

Famous TV Families

  • Danny Bonaduce (The Partridge Family) (GF3) : Small Boy in the Luke’s First Christmas episode of The Second Hundred Years (TV guest spot); Danny Shoemaker in the Jonathan Tells It Like It Was episode of The Ghost & Mrs. Muir (TV guest spot); two guest spots on Bewitched; Avery Arable in Charlotte’s Web; Danny Partridge on Goober and the Ghost Chasers (voice) and on Partridge Family 2200 AD (voice); Paul in the Speak No Evil episode of Shazam!; voice on Fred Flintstone and Friends; Hot Rod on Fantasy Island (TV guest spot); Smirch in the Street Up episode of Ozzy & Drix; Ranch Steer in Dr. Doolittle 3 (voice); Harley Anderson in Bigfoot (2012 TV movie)
  • Barry Williams
  • Beverley Mitchell
  • Willie Aames
  • Charlene Tilton




  • Vivica A. Fox
  • Paul Johansson
  • John Barrowman (GF5)
  • Julie Benz
  • Catherine Bach


TV Lifeguards

  • David Chokachi
  • Brande Roderick
  • Parker Stevenson
  • Nicole Eggert
  • Gena Lee Nolin

ABC Stars

  • Ted Lange
  • Troy Gentile
  • Jill Whelan
  • Denise Richards
  • Joely Fisher



  • Lance Bass
  • Joey Fatone
  • Adrienne Houghton
  • Cameron Mathison
  • Kelly Osbourne


  • Marisol Nichols (Riverdale) (GF3): Sargeant Joanne Yarrow in the Hunted episode of the 2002 The Twilight Zone (TV guest spot); Bianca in the Chris-Crossed episode of Chamed; Detective Devon Williams in The Storm; Sarah Monohan on The Gates; Corinne on Teen Wolf
  • Roma Maffia
  • Adrian Zmed
  • Fred Dryer
  • Ryan Paevey



  • Lou Ferrigno (GF5)
  • Vinnie Jones
  • Charisma Carpenter
  • Kevin Sorbo (GF5)
  • Jill Wagner

Should be fun! In looking back at early editions, which you can watch on YouTube:

there are some elements we are likely to see…and five things you probably (or definitely) won’t see in the revival.

One thing is that there were a lot of quips, and yet, there was a serious competition. People did get injured, and there was some real passion. Part of what probably made it popular was the disputed running relay in the first episode. Robert Conrad challenged it, saying that one of the teams had cheated (by having a faster runner go back and take the baton early, outside of the designated area). That got referenced many times afterwards.

The commentators were also important…not just the lead, Howard Cossell, but others as well. Cossell was in classic mode, ridiculing performances. He had a tendency to call many people by diminuitives (an actor known as Richard might be called “Dicky”, that kind of thing).

The shows are fun to watch, but there are some dated elements…

5 Things You Probably (or Definitely) Won’t See in the 2017 Revival of Battle of the Network Stars

  1. Blatant sexism: there were so many comments about the female competitors’ appearance! Intros for men might talk about them being “bright” or strong, while women might just be “beautiful”. The women often also had “easier” versions of the obstacles
  2. Ethnic humor: “I’m a this so I’ll behave in this stereotypical manner”. That may not be entirely absent, but I doubt we’ll see it as much
  3. War imagery: after the first several episodes, they toned down the idea of it being an actual war, with cartoons of tanks and the like
  4. Participants smoking, as frequent Captain Robert Conrad would be shown doing…not during the event, but in video clips
  5. The idea of three networks…that’s clearly gone, both on the show and in real life

I do hope we’ll have great moments with the stars, both the newbies and returners! Amazing seeing Robin Williams in his rising Mork days on the old show, for example! While some of the stars have passed on, or won’t be likely to participate in 2017 or future possible seasons for other reasons, there are some I’d still like back. 🙂

Let the battle begin!

Update: having now watched several of the new episodes, and having gone back and watched more than a dozen (in order) of the old, I have a few suggestions in the hope of a second season:

  • We aren’t seeing enough of the actual competitions. In the old shows, you really did care about how the “game” was going. Take the three on three football: they didn’t show us every play, or even every exchange of plays, but we did see maybe ten plays in a row. The show was produced by the sports department, and it showed. They now have ten events being done in a shorter show, so we don’t see much of most of them. Cut down the number of events…I understand that the show probably can’t be lengthened. It’s okay to only show us part of something silly, like they did with the Simon Says segments in the past. Maybe show us the running relay, the kayak race, the dunk tank, the obstacle race, and the tug of war pretty much in full (the dunk tank can be abbreviated…they used to do that)
  • One big issue, interestingly, is that these aren’t teams who know each other or seem to have a team mentality. On the old show, they may not have known each other well, but they had an identity as ABC, CBS, or NBC, and there was a genuine real world competition. These tend to seem more like people who have never met each other before, and don’t have a shared goal. I recommend the book The Man Who Lied to His Laptop: What We Can Learn About Ourselves from Our Machines by Clifford Nass and Corina Yen for good insight on how you form teams. On the old show, it seemed like they worked out together for something like a week before the show…presumably, around their respective studios. That’s clearly not happening, and not likely to happen here…so you need clearcut team identities. Update: the best way to do this might be to have them play for charities, as they do on Celebrity Family Feud. That would bond them and give them additional motivation
  • Another thing we aren’t seeing is any real insight into the celebrities as individuals. I actually didn’t show the old one with Robin Williams to my Significant Other…you can see the emotional challenges he has. That was a tough decision, and I wouldn’t have my SO not watch Robin Williams acting…but this is different and insightful. Perhaps the right thing there would be web segments with the background pieces, and a “teaser” for that during the maincast
  • The original took people outside of their comfort zones, and we respected them for braving that. The new one seems to…do less of that. Yes, social media is going to be much tougher on someone who doesn’t look perfect now, than it did then, and I get that. I’m not talking about swimsuits or the body judgment Cosell and others made so often. We just want to get the sense that what they are doing is hard for them, that they are challenging themselves. Some of them definitely are, I want to be clear of that. It’s not that we want to see people fail or look foolish…it’s that we want to see them strive and grow

I am enjoying the revival, just not as much. Having some of the returners is definitely a big plus the original didn’t have, but they need to make it more engaging for new audiences.

The season begins Thursday, June 29th at 9:00 PM

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: