TWENTY-FOUR FEARLESS CONTENDERS -- TWELVE MEN AND TWELVE WOMEN -- WILL FACE-OFF AGAINST THE ULTIMATE GLADIATORS STARTING MONDAY, JANUARY 6 WHEN NBC'S COMPETITION SERIES "AMERICAN GLADIATORS" RETURNS TO TELEVISION
BURBANK - December 19, 2007 - The updated return of the classic competition series "American Gladiators" brings contenders of all ages and from all walks of life into the gladiator arena starting Sunday, January 6 (9-11p.m ET) when the series premieres on NBC.
Celebrating the everyday, true American heroes -- weekend warriors who excel and take pride in their physical fitness -- 24 contenders will go up against the show's Gladiators, charismatic and eclectic warriors -- in the ultimate David & Goliath battle. As in the previous traditional "American Gladiators" franchise, everyday amateur athletes compete against the Gladiators in contests of physical strength and endurance. The series will include such classic events as Joust, The Wall, Hang Tough and the Eliminator, along with two brand-new events including Earthquake and Hit & Run. The 12 new Gladiators (six men and six women) are action-adventure stars ready to take down the everyday challengers with hard knocks and explosive attitudes.
The 24 male and female contenders will compete in three rounds of challenges where the final man and woman left standing will win a $100,000 top prize and will become Gladiators next season. All contenders have a unique story to tell and a compelling reason why they need to win. These unsung heroes combine brawn and heart in their effort to be worthy competitors, winning over the audience and turning them against the villainous Gladiators.
Hulk Hogan ("Hogan Knows Best") and Laila Ali ("Dancing with the Stars") host the iconic competition series, which returns with a fresh modern reinvention for the 21st century. Using splashy twists including special effects, water skills and the latest technology, the classic games will be upgraded with even higher thrills, impact, energy and spectacle!
Evan Dollard is a 25-year-old retail manager from Chicago, Illinois. Dollard is an avid rock climber and very much an outdoor enthusiast (he teaches rock climbing as a hobby). He lost his mom to brain cancer a few years ago and he is especially close with his father and brother.
Son Nguyen is a 36-year-old fireman and father of three. Son's family fled from Vietnam when he was just 3 years old. He is the youngest of four boys and now has three children of his own (all boys). As a kid he volunteered with the fire department and fell in love with it. He has been a fireman for 14 years currently resides in Huntington Beach, California.
Chad Knight is a 31-year-old professional skateboarder who thinks his balance and tenacity will serve him well in the Gladiator arena. Four years ago, he shattered the bones in his left leg, leaving his life spiraling out of control. Through his new studies as a physiotherapist and a cautious return to skateboarding, he is on top of his life again. He currently lives in Encinitas, California.
Jeff Keller is a 38-year-old father who currently works in radio sales for Jack 93.1 FM. Keller was a contender on the original "American Gladiators" in 1994, but when he got caught in traffic his spot was given to someone else. Now, 13 years later, he is prepared to make good on his promise to win "American Gladiator." He currently lives in Los Angeles, California.
Anthony Abbatemarco is a 27-year-old New York City firefighter. He is a classic all-American Brooklyn kid, with an endearing smile and sense of humor. As a New York city firefighter he wants to appear on "American Gladiators" to help remind people of what America lost on 9/11. He currently lives in New York City.
Adonis Lockett is a 23-year-old satellite engineer for Boeing. Adonis was a two sport high school athlete who believes he owes all his success to his mom. As a child his family struggled financially and he succeeded by working hard and being the first in the family to go to college. He plans to use his winnings to help his mom retire. Adonis is also a competitive "stepper." He plans on showing off some of his steps on stage. He currently lives in Gardena, California.
Jeff Chapman is a 26-year-old radiation control technician. Chapman is a likable country boy with an "Aww shucks" attitude. He is trained in mixed martial arts and is an amateur fighter. He and his wife opened a karate studio to teach kids that wouldn't normally be able to afford it. He currently lives in Harriman, Tennessee.
Sharaud Moore is a 30-year-old high school algebra teacher. Moore is one of the original "Freedom Writers." He is a family man that knows he owes it all to his mom. His mom was very young when she gave birth to him and although they struggled, Sharaud always knew what was important, an education. He's now an algebra teacher at Long Beach middle school. He lives in Long Beach, California.
Mark Baker is a 35-year-old chiropractor and former Army distance runner. Baker wanted to try out for "American Gladiators" the first time around but was turned away because he was only 17. He is now back and ready to go. Mark currently runs two chiropractor offices in Chicago, Illinois.
Adam Levin is a 29-year-old shark fisherman who lost his home in Hurricane Wilma. He's an outdoors type that found himself on the docks fishing and then was offered a job on a fishing boat as shark fisherman. After losing most of what he owned in the hurricane, he moved to Texas to start to rebuild his life. He currently lives in Bedford, Texas.
Alex Rai is a 25-year-old high school history teacher and wrestling coach. Rai has been wrestling since he was 5-years-old and received a full wrestling scholarship to California State University Northridge. Hulk Hogan is his hero, and he keeps a wrestling belt in his classroom in honor of "The Hulk." When he was just 15-years-old, his father passed away just two weeks before wrestling season. Teachers and wrestling coaches held him together. That's when he knew he wanted to be a teacher. He currently lives in Rosemead, California.
Molivann Duy is a 24-year-old daycare teacher by day and student by night. His biggest idols are his parents who fled Cambodia during the 1970s massacres and made a great life out of nothing. By example of his parents, Molivann feels like he can accomplish anything he puts his mind to. He currently lives in Lakewood, California.
Toni Oppliger is a 46 year-old high school teacher, athletic director and single mother of two. She is also the 2005 national power-lifting champion. She firmly believes that "what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger." And as she is the oldest contender, she figures she is plenty strong from all the knocks she's received in life. Toni currently lives in Carrollton, Texas.
ShaNay Norvell is a 31-year-old life wellness trainer who specializes in working with adolescent kids. Norvell teaches kids to get into shape and runs a non-profit organization for adolescents. She currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
Christie Philips is a 39-year-old karate instructor and mother of two. She is currently the Female World Grapping Champion. "Girl Power" is Christie's motto. "If you can do it, I can do it too." Her mission in life is to empower women. She's graceful and proud of her age. She lives in San Marcos, California.
Jessie Foster is a 26-year-old single mother of three and a toilet paper saleswoman. Foster has a great attitude and wants to change her life for the better. She believes "American Gladiators" is the first step to making that happen. She hopes to someday open a retreat camp for single parents and their children to focus on body, mind and soul. She currently lives in Donahue, Iowa.
Christine Kim is a 27-year-old self-proclaimed tom-boy who grew up in a very traditional home with an old school Korean father who didn't always approve of her choices. As a child her father was upset that she was always outside being athletic and tomboyish, then she didn't go to law and now she wants to kick some Gladiator rear end. Will daddy approve? Kim is currently a mortgage broker and lives in Redondo Beach, California.
Monica Carlson is a 32-year-old mother of 8-year-old twins and a former Portland Trailblazer dancer. Growing up "American Gladiators" was her favorite show. Her husband is a football coach and athletics plays a large part in the family. One of 11 kids growing up, Monica is in great shape and loves competition. She currently lives in Milwaukie, Oregon.
Koya Webb is a 26- year-old professional chef, author and life coach. While in college she played multiple sports including basketball and track and field. She also trained for the Olympics. Webb currently lives in Beverly Hills, California.
Kim Marciniak is a 28-year-old medical sales rep and former dancer for the New York Knicks. She is a bubbly "Jersey girl" who grew up dancing and spent years doing so for the New York Knicks. She wants to prove that she can handle anything, and "American Gladiators" is just the way she wants to do it. She currently lives in Avenel, New Jersey.
Bonnie Blanco is a 25-year-old Marine sergeant and mother of two. She currently lives in Arlington, Texas. Bonnie grew up fast when she joined the military. She served a tour in Iraq leading a team of soldiers. While in the military she competed and won in the "Strongest Warrior" competition.
Belinda is a 36-year-old bull rider originally from Australia. She grew up on ranches in Australia and was regularly taunted and dared to do things even the boys wouldn't do. Her bravado stayed with her when she immigrated to the United States 15 years ago, leading her to become a bull rider. She currently lives in Burbank, California.
Jennifer Blum is a women's football player who grew up sleeping with a football in her bed. When she was 9-years-old, she and her parents sued for her right to be on a boy's soccer team -- an event that was covered in the media nationwide. Always a tom-boy, never afraid to take a hit or hit back, she is ready to jump into the ring with the Gladiators. Blum, a civil litigation lawyer, is 34 years old and currently lives in Franklin Park, New Jersey.
Siene Silva is a 34-year-old gymnastics Instructor and life coach from Fairfax, Virginia. She was a powerlifting champ in high school and owes all her success to her mom who taught her to always keep pushing no matter how hard life gets.
"American Gladiators" is produced by MGM Television (the original producers of the show) and Reveille (NBC's "The Office" and "The Biggest Loser," "Nashville Star," "Ugly Betty"). Reveille's Mark Koops, Howard T. Owens and David A. Hurwitz ("Fear Factor") are the executive producers.