American Gladiators (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
American Gladiators is an American competition TV show airing on NBC and Citytv in Canada. Hosted by Hulk Hogan and Laila Ali, the show matches amateur athletes against each other and the show's own "gladiators" in contests of strength, agility, and endurance. It is a revival of the original American Gladiators which ran from 1989-1996, with elements of the UK version of the 1990s. An average of 12 million people watched the two hour premier.
The show is refereed by Al Kaplon, a former American League umpire, who can also be seen as the referee in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. Play-by-Play narration is handled by Van Earl Wright.
The show is taped at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, California.. It is produced by Reveille Productions and MGM Television.
A second season has been ordered by NBC; no other details are available at this time.
American Gladiators premiered on Sunday January 6, 2008, moving afterwards to Mondays at 8:00 ET/PT on NBC.
American Gladiators is conducted in a tournament style format. 24 contenders (12 men, 12 women) were selected to participate. The tournament is round-based, with each episode documenting two separate matches - one between two men and one between two women. Each match consists of several events played for points against the gladiators. Should a contender become injured and unable to continue, an alternate takes his or her place and inherits any points earned.
The final event is the Eliminator, which pits the two contenders against each other in a obstacle course race, with each point ahead the leader is at the time worth a half-second head start in that event. The four men and four women who win their preliminary round matches with the fastest Eliminator times advance to the semi-finals, where they will face off in another round.
The winners of each semi-final match will advance to the finals. The Grand Championship winners will each receive $100,000, a 2008 Toyota Sequoia, as well as the right to become a Gladiator for the second season, which is scheduled to be taped in spring 2008 for a summer airing.
When ESPN Classic launched reruns of the original series, ESPN.com had an online chat session with Dan "Nitro" Clark, who is also the coordinating producer with the revival. During the chat, Clark noted MGM Television was planning a revival of the show. After discussions with MGM, NBC confirmed in August 2007 that a revival would be produced by Reveille Productions and MGM Television for a mid-season debut. Shortly thereafter, NBC announced a casting call on its website. The first ad for the revival aired during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 22, 2007. Although some analysts believe that the show was revived in response to talks of an upcoming WGA strike, which was ongoing at the time of AG's premier, evidence of this is inconclusive.
Blast - Jennifer Barry (Reserve)
Crush - Gina Carano
Fury - Jamie Reed
Hammer - Michael Briehler (Reserve)
Hellga - Robin Coleman
Justice - Justice Smith
Mayhem - Romeo Williams
Militia - Alex Castro
Siren - Valerie Waugaman
Stealth - Tanji Johnson
Titan - Michael O'Hearn
Toa - Tanoai Reed
Venom - Beth Horn
Wolf - Don "Hollywood" Yates
For information about the events, see American Gladiators events.
Changes to Original Events in Revival
Assault: The first weapon is a Slingshot to fire a ball the contender begins the event with. The second station is a rotating turret that the contender must rotate into position and load themself. The third station is a sand pit where an arrow is hidden for the crossbow waiting at station four. The contenders are given a smokescreen at station three to assist them in moving to station four. Contenders get one point for each station completed. If they hit the target, the Gladiator is launched off the platform and into the water.
Gauntlet: Contenders earn two points for each of four Gladiators they pass within the 30 second time limit and an additional two points if they can break through a foam wall 10 feet away from the final Gladiator, for a maximum of 10 points. The rule change is similar to the UK Series 7 and 8.
Hang Tough: The course is shorter, and the course is situated over a pool of water.
Powerball: The time limit is 60 seconds. In addition, the playing field is lined with padded walls, which means there is no "out of bounds", and the scoring bins have much wider openings.
Pyramid: Each Gladiator can only defend against one selected contender. Once the contender has their feet onto the top of the Pyramid tier marked with a white dotted line, the player earns five points. Pressing the button at the top within the 60 second time limit is worth five additional points for the Contender to do so and ends the event.
Joust: The only considerable difference is the platforms are situated over a pool of water.
The Wall: The Wall is eight feet higher, now 40 feet, and contenders are given a seven-second head start. Contenders pulled from the Wall are dropped into the water. Contenders can also gain 5 points if they remain on the wall for the entire 60 seconds.
The Eliminator: The contenders first climb an 8-foot wall with the help of a rope. They then dive off the top of the wall into a pool and swim under a fire set on the surface. They exit the pool by climbing up a thirty-foot cargo net. At the top is a cylinder that rolls down a track with the contender holding on. They must then negotiate a hand bike before walking down an inclined balance beam. When they reach the bottom of the beam, they must climb the Pyramid and descend using a zipline. Then the contenders run up an inclined reverse-treadmill, dubbed the "Travelator", with a rope for assistance. The finish line is a wall of padded blocks through which the contender must crash.
From UK Gladiators
Hit & Run: The contender traverses a 50 foot suspension bridge hanging above the water tank. Four Gladiators, two on each side of the bridge, attempt to knock the contender off using 100-pound demolition balls. Contenders receive two points for each successful trip across the bridge within the 60 second time limit, and must press a button on the platform to register the points (a difference from the UK version, which required contenders to touch the rail at the back of the platform). Furthermore, there is no penalty for crawling on the suspension bridge, as there was in the UK version.
Earthquake: The contender and Gladiator wrestle on a 12-foot diameter platform that is suspended above the floor, and is moved during the event. If the Contender takes the Gladiator off the platform, they are declared the winner, even if they also come down in the process. Contenders get 10 points if they pull the Gladiator down, and 5 points if they last the entire 30 seconds. Holding on to the wires supporting the Earthquake ring is legal. The event is similar in concept to "Conquer", the second part of "Breakthrough and Conquer".
The Final 8 is made up of the best eight eliminator times (four men and four women).
Note ": Replaced the original Contender, who was forced to retire after suffering an injury. Jessie Adams suffered a knee injury in Powerball, while Adam Levin suffered a torn ACL in Powerball.
Note x: Has clinched a spot in the Final 8
Note y: Preliminary Winner eliminated from contention for the Final 8
Note z: Will lose contention for the Final 8 if time is beaten
At the end of episode 4, which aired on January 21, 2008, a recap of Eliminator times for the then current final 8 were shown, which incorrectly listed Molivann Duy with a time of 3:13 and Monica Carlson with a time of 2:20.
According to a press release from MGM, and in addition to the MGM website dedicated to the original version of the series (americangladiators.com, on-line January 28, 2008, also links to the revival) and a multi-city live tour (similar to the early 1990's tour), an animated television series based on the American Gladiators franchise is in development.