ABC has rebooted the iconic “Battle of the Network Stars” with current ESPN hosts Mike Greenberg and Cari Champion. I applaud this effort. But everybody knows it’ll never recreate the stupid magic of the original series.
The dictionary defines “kitsch” as the following: “Art, objects, or design considered to be in poor taste because of excessive garishness or sentimentality, but sometimes appreciated in an ironic or knowing way.”
Yes, yes indeed. To all of that! Poor taste to have Adrienne Barbeau pulling her arms out of her sockets in the tug-of-war? Yes. Garish? Sentimental. Yes, and yes. But in the eyes of us in our late 40’s and early 50’s… it was ART!
The above Top 10 by the SportsCenter editors is an excellent representative sample of the wonderously silly endeavor. More longform stuff exists on YouTube, of course.
The new show can’t measure up, and will never measure up for several reasons. No Howard Cosell. Networks are no longer dominant TV entities. And there are precious few TV “stars” anymore.
Unless you got Chip and Joanna Gaines to team up against Teresa Giudice.
I mistakenly said on the radio the other day, that I could have swore that Gabe Kaplan (ooh, Mistah Kottah!) beat some African American actor in a 100 yard dash challenge – a major upset (as judging by the celebration!) Yet, upon further review, it was merely a VERY TAN Robert Conrad, who had been running his mouth and challenged Mr. Kotter to the race! Bah!
Most notable to me, was the final clip of Cosell, utterly selling out his call of the Tug of War. Epic, classic, Howard. What a showman. “These are not ath-a-letes… none of ’em… but that’s not what sport is all about!”