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Report: American Gladiators Gets New Modern Revival

Report: American Gladiators Gets New Modern Revival

The popular stunt game American Gladiators is getting ready for yet another comeback.

1990’s nostalgia has never been greater and executives are taking full advantage. According to TV Guide, American Gladiators is getting ready to return for a second revival. Executive producer Arthur Smith, who is behind Hell’s Kitchen and American Ninja Warrior, is behind the newest attempt. The series is being shopped to broadcast and cable networks. Casting will commence once it finds a home.

In a statement to TV Guide, Smith said, “It’s a little darker, more intense, more serious. It’s a little less red, white and blue. And there’s no spandex. Spandex has left the building.” Fans of the series who were disappointed by the WWE-ification of the most recent version may be a bit happy about that.

American Gladiators originally ran from 1989 to 1996 in first-run syndication. It was followed by a revival on NBC in 2008 which quickly fizzled out after two seasons.

This new version, according to Smith, will incorporate elements made popular by mixed martial arts and media like The Hunger Games.  He says, tonally, this new version is most post-apocalyptic than professional wrestling, but it has the same spirit.

“I feel Gladiators is a big, broad family show,” Smith said to TV Guide. “I’ve always been a big fan of the show. Six years ago is eons ago. But what we’re planning is a much bigger different from the original, and much different from the NBC show.”

I’m all for seeing what he can do to the series. I think season two of the NBC revival started to get some things right, but, come on, it started to look a bit cheesy and ridiculous. I’m very curious and excited to see where they can take this.


By the way, over the 4th of July holiday, Hitfix incidentally ran a fun story about why American Gladiators is so great. Check it out here.  What timing.

Source: TV Guide


  1. WhiteHatBobby

    Not a surprise that MGM is looking at a Silver Anniversary Revival. The 2008 revival was “replacement programming” that took from the British version and had bad hosts, but did its job decently while the networks were devoid of programming from the WGA strike. A special revival with more legendary staffers working behind the scenes would be appropriate (Adamle, Clark) would only fit the anniversary theme.

  2. Erik D

    I couldn’t have been more disappointed with the revival. The gladiators were terrible, the WWE-like presentation was stupid, and the Eliminator was too long–contestants would get worn out rendering head starts (and thus the rest of the show that determined them) pointless.

    I like the idea that the Ninja Warrior guys are on this one though. They do a great job making ANW look like a sporting event rather than a video game like the Gladiators revival.

  3. Brig Bother

    “He says, tonally, this new version is most post-apocalyptic than professional wrestling, but it has the same spirit.”

    i.e. it’s Battledome.

  4. WhiteHatBobby

    Erik, as I noted, the 2008 revival was rushed because of the writers’ strike and even to play on presenter Hulk Hogan (nowhere near Mike Adamle, if you asked me; would love to see Adamle be part of the revival along with Dan Clark) and that is very important to note about the revival. Sad about Todd’s death earlier in the year — he was part of the best-known Gladiators hosting team.

    Absolutely. MGM (which owns the franchise) would love to make the revival a true celebration of the heritage of the show’s original roots. Also the tournament format should go back to a fair number of games similar to the original series’ Seasons 3-5, equal number of “score as much as possible” and “10-5” games before heading to the Eliminator where the entire score of the match, NOT the time in the final game, determining finals.

    Classic favourites should be part of the game along with new ideas. We’re talking Powerball, Assault, Joust, Hang Tough, the Wall, Breakthrough and Conquer, along with the Gauntlet and other games that will make it tougher.

    Agree about the ANW as an event feel, similar to the original Adamle “Gladiators”.

  5. The Starkman

    the 08 version was so bad I’ll wait until it’s on the air…and even there let’s be fair…Really only season’s 2-3-4 were good (the Christiansen year and the Czonka Years) The others relied too much on bungee cords and not enough on physical skill.
    No to adamle…sadly has flameout in the WWE will be too remembered by their target demographic.
    I liked Van Earl Wright with the Voice Overs tho I dunno if he could be an announcer. Hogan and Ali were the problem….all pit reporters no Play by play or anylsis
    And I think you need a little more cheese than serious but they’re going more hunger games, which screams to me more the giant q tip joust and the excuitioner hood on the ref season 1. cheese has helped similar stunt shows like Wipeout (Which uses many eliminator like stunts)
    As for hosts, I’d think someone like Steve levy would be a good mix between Dark and Cheezy for me…but I doubt ABC would allow anyone to go to a wipeout competitor. John Anderson has proven you can do both serious sports and a stunt show so I think you could get a serious sportscaster.
    If you’re really going dark, what about a Dick Stockton or Eli Gold (Alabama Football and NASCAR Radio voice) Would be like Jim Ross but without the Bells Palsy or WWE baggage)
    As for color guys, Dan Clark almost took it too seriously (not like that was a terrible thing) but he loves the show…so could work.
    Again Doubt ESPN would let you use a Melrose, but how bout another sense of humor but dead serious hockey guy like Roneick or Keith Jones? Seems like a place for an ex hockey guy rather than an ex NFL guy.

  6. TheOriginalDonald

    Will they bring in Terry “T-MOney” Crews and his POSSE????????

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