[08/04/03 - 12:00 AM]
NBC Revives 'Battle of the Network Stars'
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- Once a bi-annual staple of primetime television, "Battle of the Network Stars" is making a comeback. NBC is set to air a two-hour revival of the series on Saturday, August 16 at 9:00/8:00c.

Unlike its predecessors however, the "battle" will be an intra-network contest, not against rival networks ABC, CBS, FOX or the netlets. The other major change is that the NBC stars aren't the casts of "Friends," "Will & Grace" and "ER" duking it out but rather "stars" in the loosest sense of the word.

Here's how NBC describes the special (via press release):

Small-screen and sports stars engage in gladiatorial games for glory and charity in this special taped at Squaw Creek Resort in Lake Tahoe. Tony Potts ("Access Hollywood") hosts this new, edgy version of the popular specials, and Olympic Gold Medalists Picabo Street (Super G - 1998; silver, downhill -- 1994) and Dan O' Brien (decathlon 1996) serve as captains of the two celebrity teams: blue and red, respectively.

Comprising the blue team are Mario Lopez ("America's Most Talented Kid," "The Other Half"), Brooke Burns ("Dog Eat Dog"), Drake Hogestyn ("Days of Our Lives") and Amelia Marshall ("Passions") and Ross "the Intern" Matthews ("The Tonight Show Starring Jay Leno"); the red team is Rena Sofer ("Coupling"), Neil Flynn ("Scrubs"), Dondre Whitfield ("Hidden Hills") and Justin Long ("Ed").

Head-to-head they meet in sea battles on Sea-Doos and "dunk boats," plus soar almost 10,000 ft. above sea level to attempt a "Big Swing" over a cliff and a game of "Mountain Bowling." Robert Horowitz ("All-Star Olympic Salute," "Sports Illustrated's 20th Century Sports Awards") is the executive producer and Scott Messick ("Survivor," "Boot Camp") is the co-executive producer and director of this production from TWI, the television division of Mark McCormack's IMG.

The special was completed nearly a year ago and the Peacock is quietly burning it off this summer. The original "Battle" aired from 1976-1985 and featured Howard Cosell as host.

  [august 2003]  

· ED (NBC)
· ER (NBC)

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