When I was a kid watching Battle of the Network Stars (1976-1988), I was torn between chicken like stacked Willie Aames and lusciously lean Scott Baio (looking back, gross, but I was a kid!) and daddy Robert Conrad — who seemed admirably fit for being sooo old ... and was actually in his early forties. Gulp.
It was an insanely erotic cavalcade of teensy Speedos on men with big bulges and second-skin one-piece swimsuits on women. I mean. it was like nipples everywhere you looked.
Along with the sex, there was always the fighting — the stars took that shit seriously!
So sad looking back at everyone luxuriating in their physical primacy and realizing how many are now dead or in poor health.
There was a lame revival already, but now ABC is bringing the show back, 40 years after its first incarnation debuted. Wisely, they have opened it up to encompass TV stars in general, not just stars with shows currently on the air. (A. Nobody cares to see some of today's stars do anything but their show, and B. TV stars today are too big to agree to this!)
Crazily, they have been able to secure the participation of some of the actors who competed back in the day.
If only Rona Barrett were hosting.
Stars on the new reboot I would love to see in a Speedo, but I'm willing to bet we'll be lucky to see shirtless in board shorts: Matt McGorry, Josh Henderson, John Barrowman, Taye Diggs, Ryan Paevey, Nolan Gould (he's 18!), Ian Ziering, Gilles Marini, Lorenzo Lamas (still), Ted McGinley (still), Brant Daugherty, Galen Gering, Cameron Mathison, Thomas Calabro (still).
Via TVLine: ABC has gone all out! There are 20 teams (!) competing. They are:
TV Sitcoms (Bronson Pinchot, Tom Arnold, Dave Coulier, AJ Michalka, Tracey Gold) vs. TV Kids (Joey Lawrence, Corbin Bleu, Nolan Gould, Lisa Whelchel, Kim Fields)
Primetime Soaps (Ian Ziering, Josh Henderson, Gabrielle Carteris, Donna Mills, Mischa Barton) vs. ABC Stars (Olivia d’Abo, Shari Belafonte, Michael Fishman, Jason Hervey, Anson Williams)
Variety (Joanna Krupa, Nick Lachey, Vanessa Lachey, Gilles Marini, Jack Osbourne) vs. TV Sex Symbols (Keegan Allen, Traci Bingham, Rosa Blasi, Brant Daugherty, Galen Gering)
Cops (Erik Estrada, Larry Wilcox, Kelly Hu, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, Lorenzo Lamas) vs. TV Sitcoms (Todd Bridges, Leigh-Allyn Baker, Dave Foley, Willie Garson, Jenna von Oy)
White House (Cornelius Smith Jr., Marlee Matlin, Joshua Malina, LaMonica Garrett, Mary McCormack) vs. Lawyers (Elisabeth Rohm, Corbin Bernsen, Matt McGorry, Romi Dias, Catherine Bell)
TV Moms & Dads (Chad Lowe, Greg Evigan, Ted McGinley, Lesley Fera, Jackee Harry) vs. TV Kids (Jimmie Walker, Mackenzie Phillips, Jonathan Lipnicki, Krista Marie Yu, Jeremy Miller)
Famous TV Families (Danny Bonaduce, Barry Williams, Beverley Mitchell, Willie Aames, Charlene Tilton) vs. Doctors (Thomas Calabro, Taye Diggs, Rachelle Lefevre, Deidre Hall, Benjamin Hollingsworth)
Troublemakers (Vivica A. Fox, Paul Johansson, John Barrowman, Julie Benz, Catherine Bach) vs. TV Lifeguards (David Chokachi, Brande Roderick, Parker Stevenson, Nicole Eggert, Gena Lee Nolin)
ABC Stars (Ted Lange, Troy Gentile, Jill Whelan, Denise Richards, Joely Fisher) vs. Variety (Lance Bass, Joey Fatone, Adrienne Houghton, Cameron Mathison, Kelly Osbourne)
Cops (Marisol Nichols, Roma Maffia, Adrian Zmed, Fred Dryer, Ryan Paevey) vs. Sci-Fi/Fantasy (Lou Ferrigno, Vinnie Jones, Charisma Carpenter, Kevin Sorbo, Jill Wagner)
By the way ... Donna Mills is 76 years old!
Watch the new Battle of the Network Stars on ABC debuting June 29.