How Mr. Cosell lasted so long in the broadcasting industry is a mystery to me. Perhaps he was in tune with what a lot of middle-aged, white males were thinking but were sometimes afraid to say out loud. All I know is that he was fired from MNF in 1983 for his racist comments during a telecast and he shouldn't have been brought back as the host of this Battle Of The Network Stars telecast in 1984. Maybe it was a contractual thing. He had a lot of snotty comments to make regarding the participants and obviously thought of women as being nothing but weak, pretty little things to be admired and fondled but otherwise ignored.
Things get off to a dull start with a kayak relay and a swimming relay. Neither competition was very close and they are dull to watch. My favorite event was the third one held...3-on-3 football. CBS Captain William Devane was quite impressive as his team's QB. Abby Dalton caught a couple of touchdown passes and Lisa Whelchel (for the NBC team) snagged a beautiful one over her shoulder. Not bad for a couple of girls! The baseball dunk event is one of those dunk tanks where one celebrity tosses a ball at a target and tries to knock another celebrity into the water. ABC thought it would be more interesting if the viewer didn't get to see the target. They show the contestant throwing the ball and then the person sitting over the water either falls in or they don't. It's a stupid idea that didn't work well at all. I wanted to see the target and see how accurate the throws were.
The obstacle course should've been upgraded after all those years of the same simple nonsense. The whole course could be beat in under 20 seconds. This was NOT American Gladiators! The running relay was boring and the only thing notable about the tandem-bike relay was Charlene Tilton. Her team was winning but she didn't pedal the bike at all and made her partner Richard Dean Anderson do all the pedaling while she just sat there getting a free ride. It cost her network CBS the victory in this event. Wonder what she was thinking.
For those of you who are dying to know who won the competition...here is a SPOILER alert! Despite a HUGE victory in the relay race, ABC was left in the dust overall and came in third. That set up a tug-of-war between CBS and NBC. Not surprisingly, little Michael J. Fox, Lisa Whelchel, Vicki Lawrence and the NBC crew was no match for the tough guys on the CBS team. Billy Moses and Richard Dean Anderson switched off sitting in the first position on the rope and used it to their advantage. It provided an energy boost which drove them to victory.
By the time the 16th installment of BOTNS rolled around, little had been done to keep it fresh. It was (and in my opinion still is) a fun concept that needed more changes to keep it interesting. It also needed much less of annoying personalities such as Cosell and the unbearably unfunny Flip Wilson. 3/10
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