The noble, time-honored art of celeb-vs-celeb combat has been around for ages. It’s a vital resource that helps prop up Dancing With The Stars, cable television and 70% of network summer TV options. Now, the granddaddy of the celeb-on-celeb competition is being dusted off with a reboot in mind.
Variety reports that the Gabe Kaplan athletic showcase Battle of the Network Stars is being eyed for revival at ABC. In its original 1978-85 format, the program featured stars from America’s major TV networks competing in assorted sporting events fighting for Big 3 bragging rights.
ABC’s reboot is scheduled to begin shooting in May with a summer landing date as the destination. The still-to-be-determined TV stars will battle for charity with familiar faces from “multiple television genres” taking part. On paper, this looks like a worthy project for ABC to reanimate. They have ESPN for sports-friendly cross-promotion, a format that seems more accommodating to celebs than Sing Your Face Off and the potential for a grizzly tug-of-war injury should score social media points.
The main thing working against the reboot? It’s been tried and abandoned before. ABC gave the show another shot in 1988 and stuck around just for that year. NBC tried their own version in 2003 and never bothered to keep going. Here’s hoping the latest take goes well and Neil Flynn doesn’t tear his ACL.