Battle of the Network Stars

Nothing like a little friendly competition to work out differences and earn bragging rights. Such was the case with Battle of the Network Stars. This annual televised event that pitted the stars of the three major networks against each other, drew enormous viewing audiences through much of the decade.

Considering the fierce rivalry between networks, it’s amazing to consider that they actually worked together on Battle of the Network Stars, but they did just that, while the iconic sportscaster Howard Cosell called the plays.


It was all in good fun of course, but that didn’t mean that the competition didn’t get heated from time to time, as they battled in such events as running, kayaking, Simon Says, obstacle course, etc. The final two teams waged a spirited tug-of-war (The Incredible Hulk‘s Lou Ferrigno was a great teammate to have).

Most of the major TV stars of the decade appeared at one time or another on Battle of the Network Stars. Robert Conrad, Billy Crystal and Gabe Kaplan regularly served as team captains, coaching such stars as Robin Williams, Farrah Fawcett, Kristie McNichol, Linda Evans, McLean Stevenson and Ron Howard.


Battle of the Network Stars was filmed at the gorgeous campus of Pepperdine University in Malibu and ran for a respectable nine seasons on ABC, sometimes twice a year.

Today, it is a reminder of the different attitude of the time, when differences could be settled in a baseball dunk tank.


If you have fond memories of watching Battle of the Network Stars back in the 70s, I hope you’ll take a moment to share your recollections in our comments section below.

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1 Response

  1. Matt says:

    I loved this show as I remember it airing in January during the 70s. All of the activities took place outside in the sunshine which made for a real contrast on a bitterly cold snowy and gray LI day. I do remember that they also did shows from Crandon Park on Key Biscayne in Miami, Florida. Nothing like seeing palm trees and beaches on a miserably cold LI winter day. Would root for NBC and Robert Conrad because Baa Baa Black Sheep (a/k/a Black Sheep Squadron) was on the network and a favorite show of mine. It was great seeing the stars complete from the different networks. TV back then actually had substance. Not like the mindless drivel they put out now.

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