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Former 'Dancing' star Laila Ali to co-host NBC's 'American Gladiators'

By Christopher Rocchio, 11/09/2007 

NBC has announced Dancing with the Stars fourth-season celebrity participant and professional boxer Laila Ali will serve as co-host of the network's primetime revival of American Gladiators when it premieres later this season.

Ali, who finished third during Dancing with the Stars 4 with professional partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy, will co-host American Gladiators alongside Hogan Knows Best patriarch and wrestling star Terrence "Hulk Hogan" Bollea.

"Laila is a Gladiator in her own right," said Craig Plestis, NBC's executive vice president of alternative programming.  "Her fierceness in the ring is matched only by her charisma and authenticity. There is no competitor -- male or female -- who she can not relate to on a personal and competitive level."

Similar to the original American Gladiators franchise, which aired on syndication in the U.S. from 1989 to 1996, NBC's reinvention of the show will feature amateur male and female contenders pitted against eight new gladiator professionals.

Classic American Gladiators challenges including The Joust, The Wall, HangTough, and of course, the Eliminator, will all be upgraded and featured in the reinvented version of the show, along with a mixture of new competitions designed to test physical strength and endurance.

"It's an honor to be reintroducing this American classic to a new generation of fans," said Ali.

Ali married retired NFL wide receiver Curtis Conway over the summer, and American Gladiators represents her first foray into television hosting.

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