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TV Talk - Former Denver Bronco DeMarcus Ware starring in ‘Battle of the Network Stars’ reboot

June 15, 2017 Updated: June 15, 2017 at 3:20 pm
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photo - BATTLE OF THE NETWORK STARS - "TV Sitcoms vs TV Kids" - The revival of "Battle of the Network Stars," based on the '70s and '80s television pop-culture classic, will premiere on THURSDAY, JUNE 29 (9:00-10:00 p.m. EDT) on ABC. The original series from ABC Sports began in 1976 and continued for 13 years. The new "Battle of the Network Stars" will be a nostalgic throwback to the original series where TV celebrities blended athleticism with hilarious antics. (ABC/Kelsey McNeal)
DEMARCUS WARE
BATTLE OF THE NETWORK STARS - "TV Sitcoms vs TV Kids" - The revival of "Battle of the Network Stars," based on the '70s and '80s television pop-culture classic, will premiere on THURSDAY, JUNE 29 (9:00-10:00 p.m. EDT) on ABC. The original series from ABC Sports began in 1976 and continued for 13 years. The new "Battle of the Network Stars" will be a nostalgic throwback to the original series where TV celebrities blended athleticism with hilarious antics. (ABC/Kelsey McNeal) DEMARCUS WARE 

If you’re of a certain age there’s a good chance you remember the ABC series, “Battle of the Network Stars.” The program featured actors from ABC, CBS and NBC competing in a range of sporting events including swimming, kayaking, cycling and even an obstacle course. Legendary broadcaster Howard Cosell served as host, with a clever blend of mock seriousness, tongue firmly in cheek. 

The series began in 1976 and ran for 13 years and was a surprising hit. ABC is reviving “Battle of the Network Stars" and it premieres June 29. Boasting 100 celebs from 14 different networks (times sure have changed from the 70s and 80s), this new iteration is hoping to be a fresh take on an old classic. Traditional “Battle” events like the dunk tank, tug of war, and archery return as so do some of the celebrities that participated way back in the 1970s and 80s. ABC is even filming at the original site, Pepperdine University. The network clearly wants viewers to feel nostalgic during this 10 episode summer series. 

Of course, there are some changes to the format. The celebrities are now intermingled among various networks and put into groups such as TV Sitcoms, Lawyers and TV Sex Symbols. Also different is that the program features coaches in lieu of celebrity team captains. One team will get MMA Champion Ronda Rousey as their coach/team captain for the week, the other will get former Denver Broncos defensive lineman DeMarcus Ware. 

The hosts for “Battle of the Network starts are Mike Greenberg and Joe Tessitore of ESPN. Of course, it would be a sport without sideline reports so ESPN’s Cassidy Hubbarth and Cari Champion will be handling those duties. 

Below is the full list of all 100 stars competing. The ones with the asterisks by their names competed in the 70s and 80s version of the show. You're sure to see some familiar names. 

"Battle of the Network Stars" Matchup Roster

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)

Gazette media columnist Terry Terrones is a member of the Television Critics Association and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association. You can follow him on Twitter at @terryterrones.

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