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Monday January 7, 2008 6:22 pm

Debut Review: American Gladiators

Posted by K.C. Morgan Categories: Prime Time, Reality, NBC, Renewals,

American GladiatorsZap. Nitro. Lace. Gemini. I’m not just being random here, I’m naming the original . For those of us whose memories stretch back that far, American Gladiators was a great show to watch - and it‘s even better to remember. Original, inspiring and chock-full of muscle-bound beauty, Gladiators ran from 1989 to 1996 and won viewers from a wide range of demographics. Young, old, scrawny or buff, everyone likes to see a single contestant best all the power that strength has to offer.

But I have to make a confession: when I heard was bringing this one back, I rolled my eyes and made a crack about this network’s sheer desperation to find programming. (Frankly, I stand by and maintain I’m not far from wrong. We are talking, after all, about the network which brought back and …I mean, come on).

But I was wrong. There, I said it. I’ll give this one - just this one - to NBC. It was a good idea to bring back , and after Sunday night’s two-hour debut I’m already hooked. and are the perfect hosts, both personable and professionally known for their musculature, and the new gladiators are just as ripped and menacing as the former muscle-bound group who once sent challengers toppling.

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In the two-hour debut, NBC stuck to the traditional American Gladiators formula, with a few new twists to make the show more “now.” Gladiators was always a competition between the mighty and those who challenged them, but now a new wrench has been thrown into the works. Not only are challengers competing to best the Gladiators, but to best each other as well. Narrowing the field of competitors down to only eight, the show will then allow these finalists to compete for the prize of $100,000.

And that’s not all. The winning contestant of the season will get to come back and become an American Gladiator on the next season. This promise I think is a little bold. Former hit and well-loved memory or not, this show could still easily tank. NBC could can it, and there might be no next season. I guess that’s a risk the fourth-place network is willing to take.

There are some new games and some old games with a few new twists, but at the heart of it all the show is still the same one we (or some of us, anyway) remember from the past. And…dare I say it? I think this time, NBC might finally have a hit - but then, the network wisely put this resurrection on the Monday night schedule, when there’s no way it can possibly get killed by .


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