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NBC orders second edition of 'American Gladiators' primetime revival


By Christopher Rocchio, 01/14/2008 

NBC has ordered a second season of its American Gladiators primetime revival.

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The announcement was made by NBC's The Today Show co-host Meredith Viera during Monday morning's broadcast, which also featured appearances by professional first-season gladiators Don "Wolf" Yates and Gina "Crush" Carano.  NBC has yet to reveal when the show's second season will debut and how many episodes it will entail.

NBC and American Gladiators' MGM Television and Reveille production companies are currently organizing a nationwide American Idol-like casting tour to find the next batch of amateurs who will compete on the show's second installment, according to TV Week.

In addition, TV Week reported MGM is planning to launch an American Gladiators broadband website on January 28 that will include both clips from the original American Gladiators franchise -- which aired on syndication in the U.S. from 1989 to 1996 -- and also new content.

"American Gladiators is another example of how MGM franchises can be revitalized for today's audiences," MGM Television co-president Jim Packer told TV Week.  "The studio's strategy of reinvigorating popular franchises from our extraordinary library is definitely working, and our new AmericanGladiators.com broadband site will expand the franchise to the digital world."

NBC's primetime revival of American Gladiators premiered with a special two-hour broadcast on Sunday, January 6 that averaged 12.1 million total viewers and scored a 5.9/14 rating/share in the Adults 18-49 demographic.  At the time of its premiere, American Gladiators' debut had represented the highest Adults 18-49 rating of any new-show premiere on any network so far this season (last night's premiere of Fox's Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has since surpassed it).

American Gladiators currently airs one-hour episodes in its regular time period of Mondays at 8PM ET/PT.  Its January 7 time slot premiere averaged 10.9 million total viewers and scoring a 4.8/12 rating/share among Adults 18-49.

"American Gladiators has delivered everything we were hoping for and has come out of the gate as a top contender," said NBC executive Craig Plestis.  "We couldn't be more pleased with the audience reaction to this top-notch show all ages can enjoy."

American Gladiators' creator Johnny Ferraro described the show's revival as "a dream come true," according to TV Week, adding he "harassed everybody" to get the show back on the air before NBC Entertainment co-chairman Ben Silverman answered the call.

"It's not like we're doing what American Idol is doing -- it's more like Idol is doing what we we're doing," Ferraro told TV Week.  "We created reality television."



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