Battle of the Network Stars

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Battle of the Network Stars TV Poster Image
Revival of campy, classic competition is fun for families.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Teamwork, good sportsmanship, positive body images are themes. Men and women are treated equally.

Positive Role Models & Representations

They try, they fail, they laugh, and they're all good sports.


Falls, bumps, scrapes; humorous threats.


Shirtless men, people in bathing suits. A brief concern about wearing a bathing suit and negative publicity is raised. One team is made up of TV "hunks."   


Occasional use of words such as "damn," "ass."


References are made to TV shows, show characters, and the like. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Battle of the Network Stars, a revival of the classic series of the same name, features fun, sort-of-athletic competitions between popular TV actors. There's some humorous trash talking, and participants sometimes fall and sustain some bumps and bruises, but no one is seriously hurt. Despite some occasionally strong words such as "ass" and "damn" and some mild sexual innuendo (shirtless men and discussion of "hunks"), it’s family-friendly and promotes good sportsmanship and teamwork. It also offers some positive body-image messages here and there, too. There are frequent references to TV shows and the characters the contestants portray(ed) throughout.

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What's the story?

Based on the classic series (1976–1988) of the same title, BATTLE OF THE NETWORK STARS is a reality competition featuring celebrities competing against each other for athletic glory. Each episode features actors from a wide range of popular television series competing in events ranging from swimming races and obstacle courses to sinking each other in the infamous dunk tank competition. The teams of five, which are organized by acting or TV show categories rather than networks, are coached by Super Bowl champ Demarcus Ware and champion MMA fighter Ronda Rousey. Throughout it all, ESPN commentators Mike Greenberg and Joe Tessitore offer semi-serious commentary, while sports reporters Cassidy Hubbarth and Cari Champion conduct sideline interviews. The team that wins the most contests and earns the most points wins. 

Is it any good?

This fun, lighthearted revival features celebs doing their best to show that they can survive, if not excel at, events resembling athletic activities. Participants exhibit a competitive spirit and a sense of humor as they compete in the equivalent of a high school field day. Commentators pay homage to the original series and its famous host, Howard Cosell, by donning classic ESPN jackets. They also add to the fray with their brand of deadpan, deprecating humor. 

Those who watched the original show will probably feel a bit nostalgic, especially when seeing Battle veterans such as Kim Fields and Lisa Whelchel competing. But audiences will see lots of popular actors new to the scene, such as Modern Family’s Nolan Gould and High School Musical’s  Corbin Bleu, also battling their way toward glory. But regardless of whom you root for, Battle of the Network Stars offers lots of entertaining moments the whole family can enjoy. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the reasons a classic show might get revived decades later, like with Battle of the Network Stars. Is it because of the show's previous popularity? 

  • Why do actors agree to appear on or compete in shows such as Battle of the Network Stars? Do they get paid for doing so? Is it for the publicity? Do you think they have fun doing it?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love competition shows

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