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‘Battle of the Network Stars’: 5 things to know about the show

Willie Aames of

Willie Aames of "Eight Is Enough" in a tug-of-war on "Battle of the Network Stars" in 1980. Credit: AP / Rasmussen

ABC’s reboot of “Battle of the Network Stars” premieres on June 29. The original show ran as a series of specials from 1976 to 1988 and featured teams made up of stars from each of the three networks competing against each other in a variety of athletic competitions. Here are five things to know about the show:

1. Howard Cosell hosted or co-hosted all but one of the specials (he did not host the 1985 edition due to a falling-out with ABC, but he returned for the final edition in 1988).

2. Gabe Kaplan (ABC’s “Welcome Back, Kotter”), Telly Savalas (CBS’ “Kojak”) and Robert Conrad (NBC’s “Baa Baa Black Sheep”) were the captains of their teams on the first edition (November 1976)

3. David Letterman played for the CBS team in November 1978. (He was an ensemble member of Mary Tyler Moore’s short-lived variety series, “Mary.”)

4. Besides Savalas (Garden City), celebrities from Long Island who appeared on the specials included Billy Crystal (Long Beach) and Tony Danza (Malverne).

5. The reboot will feature 18 performers who also appeared on the original, among them: Lisa Whelchel and Kim Fields (“The Facts of Life”), Jimmie Walker (“Good Times”) and Todd Bridges (“Diff’rent Strokes”)


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