Battle of the Network Stars
Battle of the Network Stars was a short-lived TV series that each week engaged the most popular stars of film, television, radio, theatre, smell-o-scope and holonovels in duels of various hand-to-hand combat techniques. Duels were not always to the death, only the ones carried live. The series was aired on The CW Network from 2010-2022 and reprised shortly on NBC in 2027.
Battle of the Network stars was the brainchild of producers Siegfried Fischbacher and Quincy Jones. The two had a chance meeting at a stall in the bathroom of the Las Vegas airport and after a brief struggle began to discuss a television series that could incorporate has been celebrities, death defying stunts and small children wearing pointy hats. After a month of negotiations with BYOTV executives, they were green-lighted for a run of 20 episodes for the 2004 season. Immediately, the two parted ways. Jones kept the idea in his head however and would re-conceive the series after attending a cockfight in Kuala Lumpur.
In 2009, Siegfried was hospitalized after his 6-week old kitten severely mauled his scrotum and Jones would take his absence as an opportunity to pitch the Battle idea again, this time to the CW Network. Executives loved the idea, but insisted that any battles that take place must be humane to animals involved while ensuring the deaths of at least one celebrity per episode.
The first Battle of the Network Stars episode aired on Dodecember the 6th, 2010. Six celebrities were tabbed for competition: Milton Berle, Louis Armstrong, Walter Mathau, Ray Liotta, Tiny Tim and the Amazing Kreskin. All six competitors had to first complete an obstacle course that consisted of jumping a puddle of water on a swinging rope, climbing an eight foot wall, balancing on a beam above hot coals, wrestling Andre the Giant wearing only a thong and a football helmet and shooting 16 rounds from an AK-47 into the bloated corpse of a poached walrus. Unfortunately, all of the contestants died during the first round except Tiny Tim who was then declared the champion.
The first episode garnered a 1.7 rating and a 4 share landing it in next to last place among all prime time TV programming (it beat only Mad TV that week) and coming just behind several cable access shows in overall ratings. That was good enough to make it the most watched television show in the history of the CW Network and Jones was given a 40 million dollar raise and 9 more seasons were ordered.
- 2014 Episode 12B: In the shortest battle ever to occur, Kip Winger reached the finals where he faced off against Michael Dorn in a pillow fight. The pillows were specially made for the show using feathers from the heaviest bird in the world to make them extra deadly. Winger started the action by charging Dorn but bounced off of his massive cranium and was killed on the spot.
- 2011 Episode 1C: The finals pitted Dame Edna against Rip Taylor using nunchuks and bo staffs on a 12-inch wide plank suspended 40 feet above Caesar's Palace. When the bell sounded, Taylor confused Edna by throwing confetti he had surreptitiously concealed in his pocket and wacking her with his staff over and over. Dame Edna fell but managed to grab the plank and Taylor's leg. When Taylor reached down to knock her out with his nunchucks, she grabbed his mustache and sent him hurtling the 40 feet below where Taylor drowned in the famous fountains.
- 2012 Episode 49X: In the bloodiest and most violent battle to be aired, former President Geraldo Rivera was matched against legendary funny man Tim Conway using poleaxes while being suspended from a blimp hovering some 4,000 feet above Hoboken, NJ. Rivera swiped immediately at Conway but missed hitting the blimp instead. As the airship began to lose altitude, Rivera struggled to free himself from the tether while Conway swung for Geraldo's head. He missed, only removing Rivera's famous mustache. The newly shorn Geraldo became enraged dropping his pole-arm, swinging over to Conway and grabbing him by the ears. Rivera proceeded to scalp Conway by slitting him from ear to ear and pulling the top layer of skin off with his teeth. He feasted on Conway's bloody cranium for the entire 4 hours it took the dirigible to drop to the streets of Hoboken below. When it landed, nearby residents feared a second alien invasion and bludgeoned Geraldo to death with sticks, rocks, cow patties, small children and other less-famous mustaches.
Pop Culture References
- On his album, Birth of the Uncool, jazz trumpeter Myles Davis can be heard speaking the line: Paul McCartney was killed by Jim Belushi on the battle of the Network Stars.
- In the fifth season of 90210, some character whose name I forget was watching the show when Dylan put a cap in his ass.
- Your mom told me she was a huge fan of the show until you were born.
- I once heard this guy talking about this show when he was handing me a bong, but I don't have any proof.