Battle of the Network Stars

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Battle of the Network Stars
Presented by Howard Cosell
with various others (see below)
Country of origin USA
No. of episodes 19
Production
Running time 120 minutes
Production company(s) Trans World International
ABC Sports
Broadcast
Original channel ABC
Original run November 13, 1976  – December 1988

Battle of the Network Stars was a series of competitions where television stars from ABC, CBS, and NBC would compete in various sporting events. A total of nineteen of these competitions were held, all of which were aired by ABC. FOX joined the competition in 1984, with Homer Simpson as their team captain. This marked the beginning of the end for the franchise, as animated characters were unfairly better at all the athletic events.

In 2013, the show appeared in TV Guide's list of the 60 greatest game shows ever.[1]

History[edit]

The first Battle was broadcast on ABC starting in November 1976. The program proved popular and continued for an additional eight and a half years, with subsequent episodes airing approximately every six months until May 1985. One final competition aired in December 1988. NBC tried to revive the competition in 2003, but with an intra-network contest consisting of personalities from the NBC family of networks.

Sports broadcaster Howard Cosell hosted or co-hosted almost all of the specials, and commented on the action with a semi-serious version of the style for which he was famous.

As of 2014, Battle of the Network Stars airs in reruns on Monday nights on ESPN Classic.

Format[edit]

Each network was represented by eight or nine of its stars from various series, and one of those people from each team would be elected to serve as the network's team captain.

Some of the events were modeled after those used on The Superstars, another Trans World-ABC production that featured athletes from all sports competing against each other for an overall title. Regular events included swimming, kayaking, volleyball, golf, tennis, bowling (on custom-made outdoor lanes), cycling, 3-on-3 football, the baseball dunk, running, and the obstacle course. Also featured as a regular event was a game of "Simon Says", directed by Catskill hotel Grossinger's entertainer Lou Goldstein.[2] Each network received points based on how it performed in the event.

After the regular events were over, the lowest scoring network was eliminated from further competition and the two remaining networks determined the day's winner with a tug of war.

1976[edit]

Host ABC Team CBS Team NBC Team
Howard Cosell Gabe Kaplan (captain)
Darleen Carr
Lynda Carter
Farrah Fawcett
Richard Hatch
Robert Hegyes
Ron Howard
Hal Linden
Penny Marshall
John Schuck
Telly Savalas (captain)
Adrienne Barbeau
Gary Burghoff
Kevin Dobson
Pat Harrington, Jr.
Bill Macy
Lee Meriwether
Mackenzie Phillips
Loretta Swit
Jimmie Walker
Robert Conrad (captain)
Melissa Sue Anderson
Karen Grassle
Tim Matheson
Ben Murphy
Barbara Parkins
Joanna Pettet
Kevin Tighe
Bobby Troup
Demond Wilson

1977[edit]

May[edit]

Hosts: ABC Team CBS Team NBC Team
Howard Cosell
Bruce Jenner
O.J. Simpson
Gabe Kaplan (captain)
LeVar Burton
Darleen Carr
Richard Hatch
Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs
Ron Howard
Hal Linden
Kristy McNichol
Penny Marshall
Jaclyn Smith
Telly Savalas (captain)
Sonny Bono
Kevin Dobson
Mike Farrell
David Groh
Linda Lavin
Lee Meriwether
Rob Reiner
Loretta Swit
Marcia Wallace
Robert Conrad (captain)
Elizabeth Allen
Lynda Day George
Carl Franklin
Karen Grassle
Dan Haggerty
Art Hindle
Kurt Russell
Jane Seymour
W. K. Stratton

November[edit]

Hosts: ABC Team CBS Team NBC Team
Howard Cosell
Telly Savalas
Gabe Kaplan (captain)
Fred Berry
Billy Crystal
Chris DeRose
Victor French
Cheryl Ladd
Kristy McNichol
Penny Marshall
Suzanne Somers
Parker Stevenson
Jimmie Walker (captain)
Adrienne Barbeau
Valerie Bertinelli
Kevin Dobson
Jamie Farr
Caren Kaye
James MacArthur
Jimmy McNichol
Loretta Swit
Lyle Waggoner
Dan Haggerty (captain)
Robert Conrad
Elinor Donahue
Patrick Duffy
Peter Isacksen
Lance Kerwin
Donna Mills
Belinda Montgomery
Michelle Phillips
Larry Wilcox

1978[edit]

May[edit]

Hosts: ABC Team CBS Team NBC Team
Howard Cosell
Bruce Jenner
Suzanne Somers
Gabe Kaplan (captain)
Debby Boone
Daryl Dragon
Kene Holliday
Steve Landesberg
Parker Stevenson
Toni Tennille
Cheryl Tiegs
Tony Randall (captain)
Kevin Dobson
James MacArthur
Denise Nicholas
Mackenzie Phillips
Victoria Principal
Bo Svenson
Jimmie Walker
Richard Benjamin (captain)
Rhonda Bates
Jane Curtin
Dennis Dugan
Melissa Gilbert
Arte Johnson
Lance Kerwin
Larry Wilcox

November[edit]

Hosts: ABC Team CBS Team NBC Team
Howard Cosell
Frank Gifford
Gabriel Kaplan (captain)
Debby Boone
Billy Crystal
Joyce DeWitt
Richard Hatch
Maren Jensen
Robert Urich
Robin Williams
McLean Stevenson (captain)
Valerie Bertinelli
LeVar Burton
Lou Ferrigno
Pat Klous
David Letterman
Tim Reid
Charlene Tilton
Robert Conrad (captain)
Joseph Bottoms
William Devane
Pamela Hensley
Brianne Leary
Wendy Rastatter
William Shatner
Caskey Swaim

1979[edit]

May[edit]

Host ABC Team CBS Team NBC Team
Howard Cosell Dick Van Patten (captain)
Scott Baio
Billy Crystal
Richard Hatch
Donna Pescow
Susan Richardson
Toni Tennille
Robert Urich
Jamie Farr (captain)
Catherine Bach
Valerie Bertinelli
Patrick Duffy
Lou Ferrigno
Leif Garrett
Victoria Principal
Gary Sandy
Robert Conrad (captain)
Todd Bridges
Mary Crosby
Jane Curtin
William Devane
Greg Evigan
Brianne Leary
Larry Wilcox

November[edit]

Hosts ABC Team CBS Team NBC Team
Howard Cosell
Billy Crystal
Dick Van Patten (captain)
Willie Aames
Diana Canova
Joanna Cassidy
Robert Hays
Max Gail
Kristy McNichol
Shelley Smith
Ed Asner (captain)
Valerie Bertinelli
Gregory Harrison
Howard Hesseman
Kathryn Leigh Scott
Judy Norton Taylor
Jan Smithers
Allen Williams
Robert Conrad (captain)
Greg Evigan
Gil Gerard
Melissa Gilbert
Erin Gray
Randi Oakes
Sarah Purcell
Patrick Wayne

1980[edit]

May[edit]

Hosts ABC Team CBS Team NBC Team
Howard Cosell
Joyce DeWitt
Cathy Lee Crosby (captain)
Scott Baio
Robyn Douglass
Grant Goodeve
Robert Hays
Kent McCord
Caroline McWilliams
Joan Prather
Chad Everett (captain)
Jonelle Allen
Catherine Bach
Gregory Harrison
Sherman Hemsley
Gary Sandy
Charlene Tilton
Joan Van Ark
William Devane (captain)
Gil Gerard
Karen Grassle
Pamela Hensley
Brian Kerwin
Randi Oakes
Sarah Purcell
Larry Wilcox

December[edit]

Hosts ABC Team CBS Team NBC Team
Howard Cosell
Cathy Lee Crosby
John Davidson (captain)
Willie Aames
Scott Baio
Phyllis Davis
Donna Dixon
Max Gail
Ann Jillian
Susan Richardson
Jamie Farr (captain)
Gregory Harrison
Diane Ladd
Donna Mills
Judy Norton Taylor
Tom Selleck
Joan Van Ark
Robert Walden
Arte Johnson (captain)
Byron Allen
John Beck
Greg Evigan
Erin Gray
Judy Landers
Sarah Purcell
Cristina Raines

1981[edit]

May[edit]

Hosts ABC Team CBS Team NBC Team
Howard Cosell
Erin Gray
Robert Urich (captain)
Scott Baio
Melanie Chartoff
Jeff Conaway
Linda Evans
Jenilee Harrison
Bo Hopkins
Ann Jillian
Tom Selleck (captain)
Danielle Brisebois
Gregory Harrison
Michele Lee
Leigh McCloskey
Judy Norton Taylor
Tim Reid
Charlene Tilton
Barbara Mandrell (captain)
Woody Brown
Melissa Gilbert
Brian Kerwin
Louise Mandrell
Randi Oakes
Skip Stephenson
Michael Warren

December[edit]

Hosts ABC Team CBS Team NBC Team
Howard Cosell
Lee Majors
Scott Baio (captain)
Douglas Barr
Cathy Lee Crosby
Donna Dixon
Telma Hopkins
Ann Jillian
Sam J. Jones
Andrew Stevens
Pernell Roberts (captain)
Mimi Kennedy
Lorenzo Lamas
Jared Martin
Donna Mills
Tim Reid
Charlene Tilton
Berlinda Tolbert
Gabe Kaplan (captain)
Maud Adams
Melissa Gilbert
Mark Harmon
Randi Oakes
Cristina Raines
James B. Sikking
Fred Willard

1982[edit]

May[edit]

Hosts ABC Team CBS Team NBC Team
Howard Cosell
Randi Oakes
William Shatner (captain)
Douglas Barr
Joan Collins
Lydia Cornell
John Davidson
Telma Hopkins
John James
Heather Thomas
Pernell Roberts (captain)
Catherine Bach
Danielle Brisebois
Audrey Landers
Brian Stokes Mitchell
Joan Van Ark
Robert Walden
Tom Wopat
Daniel J. Travanti (captain)
Debbie Allen
Mark Harmon
Nancy McKeon
Joe Piscopo
Cristina Raines
Lynn Redgrave
Bruce Weitz

December[edit]

Hosts ABC Team CBS Team NBC Team
Howard Cosell
Debbie Allen
William Shatner (captain)
Stephen Collins
Helen Hunt
John James
Heather Locklear
Kathy Maisnik
Heather Thomas
Demond Wilson
Kevin Dobson (captain)
Bruce Boxleitner
Delta Burke
Byron Cherry
Christopher Norris
Jameson Parker
Penny Peyser
Joan Van Ark
Daniel J. Travanti (captain)
Dean Butler
Tina Gayle
Melissa Gilbert
Ricky Schroder
Leigh Taylor-Young
Betty Thomas
Michael Warren

1983[edit]

May[edit]

Hosts ABC Team CBS Team NBC Team
Howard Cosell
Morgan Fairchild
John James (captain)
Scott Baio
Rachel Dennison
Lisa Eilbacher
Heather Locklear
Randi Oakes
Geoffrey Scott
Adrian Zmed
Tom Wopat (captain)
John Beck
Danielle Brisebois
Audrey Landers
Denise Miller
William R. Moses
Tracy Nelson
Ted Shackelford
Bruce Weitz (captain)
Peter Barton
David Birney
Meredith Baxter-Birney
Nancy McKeon
Cynthia Sikes
Mr. T
Betty Thomas

December[edit]

Hosts ABC Team CBS Team NBC Team
Howard Cosell
Robert Conrad
Donna Mills
William Shatner (captain)
Shari Belafonte
Daniel Hugh Kelly
Heather Locklear
Ben Murphy
Geoffrey Scott
Heather Thomas
Jill Whelan
William Devane (captain)
Ana Alicia
Rosalind Chao
Charles Frank
William R. Moses
Martha Smith
Andrew Stevens
Joan Van Ark
Mr. T (captain)
Edward Albert
Teri Copley
Melinda Culea
Chad Everett
Charles Haid
Vicki Lawrence
Cynthia Sikes

1984[edit]

May[edit]

Hosts ABC Team CBS Team NBC Team
Howard Cosell
Scott Baio
Debby Boone
John James (captain)
Shari Belafonte
Pamela Bellwood
James Darren
C. Thomas Howell
Ted Lange
Heather Locklear
Shawn Weatherly
William Devane (captain)
Richard Dean Anderson
Abby Dalton
Sarah Douglas
William R. Moses
Douglas Sheehan
Charlene Tilton
Celia Weston
Flip Wilson (captain)
Ellen Bry
Kim Fields
Michael J. Fox
Charles Haid
Mark Harmon
Vicki Lawrence
Lisa Whelchel

December[edit]

Hosts ABC Team CBS Team NBC Team
Howard Cosell
Shari Belafonte
William Shatner (captain)
Douglas Barr
Mary Cadorette
Tony Danza
Tony Lo Bianco
Heather Locklear
Tracy Scoggins
Brenda Vaccaro
William Devane (captain)
Constance McCashin
Jennifer O'Neill
Tim Reid
Douglas Sheehan
Deborah Shelton
Parker Stevenson
Charlene Tilton
Mark Harmon (captain)
Jane Badler
Teri Copley
Kim Fields
Michael J. Fox
Stepfanie Kramer
James B. Sikking
Marc Singer

1985[edit]

Hosts ABC Team CBS Team NBC Team
Joan Van Ark
Dick Van Dyke
Tony Danza (captain)
Deborah Adair
Mary Cadorette
Jack Coleman
Pat Klous
Ted McGinley
Emma Samms
Michael Spound
Lorenzo Lamas (captain)
Lucie Arnaz
Mary Frann
Jenilee Harrison
Doug McKeon
William R. Moses
Jennifer O'Neill
Dack Rambo
Bubba Smith (captain)
Lisa Bonet
Erin Gray
Kiel Martin
Nancy McKeon
Patricia McPherson
Ken Olin
Philip Michael Thomas

1988[edit]

Hosts ABC Team CBS Team NBC Team
Howard Cosell
Shari Belafonte
John Davidson (captain)
Rebeca Arthur
Allyce Beasley
Olivia d'Abo
Brian Robbins
Rob Stone
JoAnn Willette
Brian Wimmer
Lorenzo Lamas (captain)
Kristian Alfonso
Steve Kanaly
Daphne Reid (as Daphne Maxwell Reid)
William Sanderson
Jack Scalia
Nicollette Sheridan
Charlene Tilton
Greg Evigan (captain)
Teri Copley
Clifton Davis
Deidre Hall
Dawnn Lewis
Blair Underwood
Malcolm-Jamal Warner
Tina Yothers

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fretts, Bruce (June 17, 2013). "Eyes on the Prize", TV Guide, pp. 14 and 15.
  2. ^ SRO Productions

External links[edit]