Cult classic Battle Of The Network Stars revived with 100 stars

LOS ANGELES • If ever there is a television show whose stars are familiar faces to almost everyone - both young and old - in the family, this one would be very hard to beat.

On Monday, American TV network ABC announced that it is reviving a cult classic from the 1970s called Battle Of The Network Stars.

This time around, 100 contestants - whose collective show-business records span at least six decades - have been roped into 20 five-man teams to prove that they are also class acts in physical challenges.

They come from network, cable and syndication shows.

Among them are Danny Bonaduce (Partridge Family, 1970 to 1974), Ted Lange (Love Boat, 1977 to 1987), Charlene Tilton (Dallas, 1978 to 1990), Mischa Barton (The O.C., 2003 to 2007), Lorenzo Lamas (The Bold And The Beautiful, 2004 to 2006), Erik Estrada (CHiPs, 1977 to 1983), Jack and Kelly Osbourne (The Osbournes, 2002 to 2005), Nick Lachey (Charmed, 2004 to 2006) and Matt McGorry (How To Get Away With Murder, 2014 to 2017).

The 10-episode season - which begins on June 29 - will pit teams against one another in challenges such as tug of war, archery, kayak relay, obstacle course and dunk tank, trade publication Variety reported.

Battle Of The Network Stars originally aired on ABC in 19 specials from 1976 to 1988.

The new edition is like the "ultimate TV time machine", executive producer Andrew Glassman told Fox News.

But it is not a love fest of old and new stars. To amp up the competitive fire, he has tapped on former mixed martial arts champion Ronda Rousey to act as team captain.

"This show predates her, but I explained to her this is about finding the athlete in everyone.

"She's been an incredible source of positive energy," he added.

Former One Day At A Time actress Mackenzie Phillips is up for the challenge.

"I did this show like three times 35 years ago... I have a competitive spirit, but it doesn't really get activated unless I'm in this type of environment."

She was no slouch in her previous turn on the show.

"I beat (Wonder Woman star) Lynda Carter in swimming, (Charlie's Angels star) Farrah Fawcett in a bicycle race and (Welcome Back Kotter star) Gabe Kaplan in strike bowling.

"Now, it's kind of nice at 57... all that life that I've lived, where do I stack up? I feel particularly capable.

"It's cool."

Another pumped-up contestant is Lou Ferrigno, whom tvline.com cited as saying: "Don't we all want to believe that, even at age 65, the Incredible Hulk is invincible?"

He starred in the show of the same name as the menacing Hulk (1977 to 1982).

For Rousey, the show is another new feather in her acting cap, after landing roles in the Furious 7 (2015) and The Expendables 3 (2014) movies.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 14, 2017, with the headline 'Cult classic Battle Of The Network Stars revived with 100 stars'. Print Edition | Subscribe