Love to Interrupt
We are rekindling tradition...
sort of. This isn't your mom's Battle of the Network Stars,
which began in 1976. This has only NBC stars, but hopefully
will have that same tradition going for it. Maybe not - it's
based on teamwork, endurance, and commitment to winning.
Recaps by Gordon Pepper, GSNN
Airdate: August 16,
Lady One Question:
EP: Stuart Krasnow
Packager: Channel 4 Television
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August 16, 2003
are rekindling tradition...sort of. This isn't your
mom's Battle of the Network Stars, which began in 1976.
This has only NBC stars, but hopefully will have that
same tradition going for it. Maybe not - it's based on
teamwork, endurance, and commitment to winning.
We have 2 teams - the red and blue teams. Olympic Skier
Picabo Street is the captain for the red team, while
Olympic Decathlon winner Dan O'Brien is the captain for
the Blue Team. There are 7 battles - each one is worth
$10,000 for their favorite charity.
Picabo's team is Neil Flynn (Scrubs), Ali Landry (Spy
TV), Justin Long (Ed), Rena Sofer (Coupling) and Dondre
Whitfield (Hidden Hills). Dan's team is Brooke Burns
(Dog Eat Dog), Drake Hogestyn (Days of Our Lives), Mario
Lopez (America's Most Talented... Series), Amelia
Marshall (Passions) and Ross, the intern (Jay Leno).
Ross, the intern? Wha? Did we not have enough in the
budget to get 10 stars?
The first event is 'Swing for the Stars'. In this event,
one member of the team is strapped in a flying machine
and is used as a human catapult. When the team swings,
the person gets to put the ball in layers worth 10-80
points. A team gets 5 swings - and you can't get the
same point level twice. The team with the most amount of
Drake goes first - and the first shot is worth 80
points. He gets the second for 70, and the third for 50
= 200 total points. Dondre is up for the red team - and
they are not nearly as good as the blue team. They do
get 80 and 70 points, but they screw up a swing and they
find themselves trailing 200-150.
In the second round, we get a twist - this time, people
are blindfolded. That doesn't hinder Mario Lopez, who
hits a 70 - but he gets the second one also in the 70
point zone, so that one doesn't count. Ali Landry can
pull the game out for the Red Team - she gets the first
one for 80 points. All she needs is 50 points for the
win - and she hits it in the 70 for the 300-270 win and
Battle #2 is called 'Bowling at 83,000 feet'. All you
have to do is to roll a big ball down a mountain. Picabo
starts it for the red team - and she gets 40 points. Dan
counters for team blue and gets a big fat zero. Neil
also gets 40 points and Red is on a 80-0 roll. Brooke
gets blue on the board with a 50 point shot, but they
need an error from the red team. They don't get it yet,
as Rena hits 50 points to bring it back up to 130-50.
Amelia gets 40 points to keep the score within range
Justin can put the put the game away - but he gets a
zero and he could be the goat of the event. Could the
intern save the day for the Blue Team? No - he also gets
a zero and the Red Team skirts with the win. 'I'm
attached, so I can't even run away in shame.' Day 1 is
over, 2 Events are completed - and they both go to the
Red Team (2-0). We are left with both teams being given
a key - and them trying to figure out what to do with
Have they figured out what to do with it yet? Day 2
rolls around - and we don't get the answer yet, because
now, it's time for the ropes obstacle course. They have
a rope crawl, a rope bridge and a rope 4 by 4. When each
lap is completed, they have to pass the baton to each
other, and if they drop the baton, it's a 5 minute
The Blue team goes first. Mario and Brooke get through
their section with no difficulty. The baton gets passed
to Drake and Amelia, which means that Ross gets to sit
out this one 'It's a good thing I'm on the ground,
because I would have been on the ground 3 minutes ago.'
Well, it's 4:09 later - and that how long it took the
The Red team doesn't have to be perfect - but that can't
fall or drop the baton or it's game over. The order for
the red team is Neil to Ali to Dontre and Picabo. The
Red Team is holding their own, but they are running
behind the Blue team. They pick it up with Picabo and
Dontre's leg - they blow past what Drake and Amelia did
and get it done in 3:42. The Red team builds a hugs 3-0
lead. 'The Doritos Stretch I guess pays off.'
This is now a must-win for the blue team - but not
before seeing clips of Mr. T., Robin Williams, Michael
J. Fox, Penny Marshall and Ron Howard. This event is
Sea-doo Trivia. One team races through an obstacle
course - and that's how long that the other team has to
answer questions. Dan and Brooke run the course in 3:13,
while Dontre and Picabo run the course in 3:33.
Each team member swims to a buoy, which is worth 1-6
points. Once a buoy is reached, the team gets to answer
questions. Picabo goes first to a 2 point buoy - and the
Red Team gets all of the questions right for 6 points.
Rena is up next - and hits 3 points worth of questions.
Dontre gets to the 4 point buoy and they get all 3 for
12 points. They get a total of 35 points - but there are
at least 11 points that they should have had.
Rena challenges those questions - and she starts cursing
out the producers. Dontre comes to her aid. 'We have
cameras and kids...it's bull crap...you shouldn't be
saying the other word.' Well, at least you can't say
that the teams aren't taking this seriously.
There is a very famous phrase, which is 'when you whine,
you win.' The red team does enough whining - and they do
get 5 of the 11 points back for a total of 40 - but they
should have gotten the 6 points also . Could that come
back to haunt them?
Dan O'Brien, Drake and Brooke get to swim - and Ross the
intern finally gets to be useful. He takes control of
the game and pulls the team to a 41-40 victory. They get
the winning points with 33 seconds to spare, so I'm not
sure if the extra 6 points that the Red team should have
gotten would have helped. The Red Team is still up 3-1,
so the Blue Team still has a lot of road to hoe.
The event that's up is the water bucket relay. You take
buckets filled with water - and you have to put the
water in all of the receptacles. Whoever does this the
quickest wins. The Red Team starts - and they have a
decent plan, but it seems like they are taking their
sweet time in doing it. Sure enough, they get it done in
a very long 5:38. It's pretty bleak - and the Blue Team
should be able to take this one.
After being able to watch what the Red Team did, the
Blue team decides to use the smaller bucket strategy -
and that strategy works. They complete it in 5:04 and
they close within 3-2. Is it just me, or is the Blue
Team getting an unfair advantage by going second?
Next up is Battle Boats, which is a new version of the
Dunk Tank. That brings back images of Scott Baio and
Charlene Tilton, Catherine Bach and Gil Gerard - oh
wait, we see that on TV. The objective of this game is
to hit 2 targets get them both, and the person goes into
the water. Ross and Justin are the dummies on the
Both teams hit the first target, which means that
there's only one more left to hit. The Blue team realize
this and they position their target away from the Red
Team. The Red Team doesn't do the same and Drake hits
the last target. Justin goes down and the score is now
knotted at 3.
The Red Team is pissed. 'We are not losing 4 in a
row...we are not going to lose 4 straight events.' says
Dontre. Justin decides to relieve the tension by
convincing the team to moon the camera. 'The only thing
that people are going to remember is our asses.' We get
a mooning interlude...
Remember the keys that they were given? They will be
using them in the final challenge - THE MAZE. There are
3 levels worth of mazes - and they have to find 5
colored flags. The keys that they have open up canisters
that only contain the same colored flags. The team that
gets all 5 colored flags and sends them up to the Crow's
next (where the team captains are awaiting) wins the
After hours of searching - well maybe 10-15 minutes -
the Red team gets the first flag and leads 1-0. Ali is
second - and she very quickly finds the second flag.
Amelia finds the first flag - and she follows Ali to the
poles. BOth Red and Blue get the flags up at the same
time - and Red still has a full Flag lead.
Ross and Just are in the maze - and Ross gets the flag
first. While Justin is taking his sweet time, Ross has
gotten the second flag up. Drake, the next person in,
has gotten the third flag - and the Blue team takes the
lead while Justin is still lost. He finally finds the
flag - but not before Drake puts his flag up to give the
Blue team the lead.
Neil finally gets in the maze - and it's between him and
Brooke to find flag #4. Neil gets it and he takes the
lead back from Brooke, who has yet to find the flag.
Brooke gets the flag - but by that time, Neil has posted
up the 4th flag and Dontre has the lead going for the
Brooke finally gets her flag posted - and Mario is in
the maze too. Picabo doesn't know where the last
canister is - but Dontre finds it for them. Dan knows
where the fifth flag is - but he can't direct Mario to
it. The women of the Red Team finally direct Dontre to
his final flagpole - but he fastened it the wrong way.
This gives Mario a chance to win the game - but he still
can't find the flag. The Blue Team can not take
advantage of the Red Team's error - and Dontre comes
home for the win. Dontre makes his words stand up - and
despite the help that the Blue Team received, the Red
Team gets the deserved victory. The Red Team celebrates
with hugs, and we end the show with a flurry of ads.
My Take - You know that you have problems when the show,
named after the famous Battle of the Network Stars
moniker, gets no publicity, only has 1 network involved,
and one of the 'stars' is an intern (no offense to the
intern). This should be changed to 'Friendly Skirmish of
the fairly famous NBC people'. There is nothing that I
hate more than a brilliant idea that gets savaged into
mediocrity, and this falls under that category. I was
really looking forward to seeing this show - and that
went by the boards.
The format is terrible, some of the events are silly and
lifeless, and people need to realize that not everything
needs to be reinvented. As the Blue Team was down - they
started to get unfair 'breaks' in the game (penalizing
the Red Team on trivia questions, giving the Blue team
the chance to go second after watching what the Red Team
did, etc. If you want to make the game fair, then change
the format - but don't set it up where you have to give
a team some breaks to bring them back into the game and
make it seem 'fixed'.
I don't want to be excessively harsh - there were some
good parts in the show. I liked that the teams were into
it. I also liked the trivia, the dunk tank game and the
Maze finale, but there was no rhyme or reason for the
first 2 games and you shouldn't have to sit anyone out
for any of the games. Where is the audience? This should
be in a stadium-like setting to really get some juice
So much potential, so little realized - this one gets a
very generous C- from me - PLEASE bring back the past
elements back into it. I say this from my heart, because
this could be something very, very special, if you get
enough love, tradition and creativity behind it. This
could be a battle that is truly star-worthy.