- Network: FOX
- Series Premiere Date: Jan 1, 1989
This is Malibu. The cool, laid back surfer at home on the beach. You're looking at Lace. Feminine, sexy but always a lady. You're looking at Gemini. A split personality. Calm one minute, violent the next. This is Zap. Strong, silent, the Terminator. You're looking at Nitro. Cocky, explosiveThis is Malibu. The cool, laid back surfer at home on the beach. You're looking at Lace. Feminine, sexy but always a lady. You're looking at Gemini. A split personality. Calm one minute, violent the next. This is Zap. Strong, silent, the Terminator. You're looking at Nitro. Cocky, explosive and always aggressive. And this is Sunny. The All American Woman. These are the American Gladiators and the events that they compete in are fast paced, exciting, confrontational, visually interesting, action oriented and capable of producing emotional moments.
American Gladiators first premiered in January of 1989 along with RollerGames. It originally started out in a Colosseum-like setting at Universal Studios consisting of two male & female contestants chosen at regional tryouts that pitted their strengths, speed and skills against the highly trained pro athletes, the American Gladiators.
The 1st Season:
The original American Gladiators consisted of Gemini, Zap, Nitro, Lace, Malibu and Sunny. Mike Adamle and Joe Theismann hosted. The events included The Joust, The Assault, Powerball, The Human Cannonball, Breakthrough and Conquer and the Eliminator. The 1st Half Season winners were Tracy Phillips and Brian Hutson while Nancy Petitto and Craig Williams were the runner-ups.
The 1st Season 2nd Half:
Four new Gladiators joined Gemini, Zap, Nitro and Lace for this second half of the season. They were Laser, Blaze, Gold and Titan. A new event called the Wall was added as well as a new Co-host, Todd Christensen. The 2nd Half Season winners were Lucian Anderson and Bridget Venturi while Wendy Brown and Elden Kidd were the runner-ups. In the Grand Championship, Brian Hutson and Bridget Venturi won over Tracy Phillips and Lucian Anderson.
The 2nd Season:
Four new Gladiators joined the ranks among Gemini, Lace, Nitro, Gold, Laser and Blaze. They were Turbo, Ice, Thunder and Diamond. Larry Csonka joined Mike Adamle as the new co-host. 2 new events called Atlasphere and Hang Tough were added to the events list. This year began the season were it was split into two halves. The 1st Half winners were Maria Nichting and Rico Costantino while Trish Tillotson and John Adams were the runner-ups. The 2nd Half winners were Dorian Cumberbatch and Craig Branham while Deena Telly and Scott Deiter were the runner-ups. Craig and Dorian competed against Rico and Maria and came out as the Grand Champions of Season 3. In the Alumni Championships, Lucian Anderson and Cheryl Ann Silach from the 2nd Season competed against Terry Moore and Aimee Ross from the 1st Season to win.
The 3rd Season:
Zap makes a return to the arena along with 3 new Gladiators; Tower, Storm and Viper who joined Gemini, Lace, Nitro, Gold, Laser, Blaze, Thunder, Ice, Turbo and Diamond. The Maze and Swingshot were the two new events that were added. Also, this season, one of 2 new segments where fans could write in and Ask A Gladiator a question and the other one was were the Gladiators recalled moments in their Gladiator history that most impressed them called Gladiator Moments. The 1st Half winners were Kimberly Lenz and Mark Ortega while Kristi Kropp and Tim Goldrick were 1st Half runner-ups. The 2nd Half winners were Kathy Mollica and Joseph Mauro while Susan Stencil and Darrell Gholar were 2nd Half runner-ups. Mark and Kathy won over Joseph and Kimberly for the Grand Championship.
A special Pro-Football Challenge of Champions debuted. Charles White, former Los Angeles Rams & Cleveland Browns running back won over Greg Pruitt, Phill Villapiano, Jim Kiick, Cliff Branch and Jack Ham.
The 4th Season: added two new events called Sky Track and Super Powerball as well as seven new Gladiators. Sky, Elektra, Sabre, Cyclone, Siren, Havoc, Lace #2 and Atlas joined Zap, Laser, Diamond, Turbo, Tower, Storm and Viper.
The 1st Half winners were Betsy Erickson and Cliff Miller while Ted LePage and Annette McBride were the runner-ups. The 2nd Half winners were Cheryl Wilson and Marty DePaoli with Katy Ramsey and Kevin Weber as the runner-ups. Cliff and Cheryl defeated Marty and Betsy to win the Grand Championship for Season 5.
Returning this season were three special Challenge edition episodes. The Pro Football Challenge of Champions II, Charles White defended his title against Tony Dorsett, Seth Joyner, Mark Clayton, Drew Hill and Wesley Walker.
The Gold Medal Challenge of Champions with former Olympics Athletes debuted. Cathy Turner, 1992 Gold & Silver Speed Skating and Bill Johnson, 1984 Gold Downhill Skiing emerged as the winners over Alice Brown, Nancy Lieberman, Danny Manny and Tyrell Biggs. This year, the first ever International Challenge of Champions debuted. Peggy Odita from Nigeria and Dan Franke from USA emerged as the winners over Denise Sharps from USA, Yemi Alade-Fa from Nigeria, Lia Lourens & Berend Veneberg from Holland, Weininger Irwin & Vanda Fairchild from Great Britian, Verena Huenh & Uwe Knebel from Germany & Takahiro Kondo & Janet Moon from South Korea.
Beginning with the 5th Season, major changes happened as the American Gladiators' set got a make over. Four new events; the Gauntlet, Tug-O-War, Whiplash and the Pyramid were added to the competition. Five new Gladiators Hawk, Jazz, Tank, Rebel and Dallas joined Zap, Laser, Turbo, Tower, Sky, Sabre, Siren and the return of Ice as well as a new co-host, Lisa Malosky, for Mike Adamle.
The 1st Half winners were Kimberly Tyler and Wesley Berry while Cathy Marino and Sean Goodwin were the runner-ups. The 2nd Half winners were Peggy Odita and Troy Jackson while Donna Toyeba and Joseph Edwards were the runner-ups. In the Grand Championships, Peggy and Wesley defeated Kimberly and Troy.
The Armed Forces Challenge debuted pitting the American Gladiators against the best of the Marines; Loretta Vandenberg & Freddie Thompson, the Air Force; Katherine Smith & Max McDonald, the Army; Laura Kerr & James Sparrow and the Navy; Kristin Keidel & Carl Packer.
The Gold Medal Challenge of Champions II was issued and Michele Mitchell-Rocha & Mitch Gaylord emerged as winners over Valerie Brisco, Mark Breland, Mel Stewart & Betty Okino.
Due to the growing popularity of American Gladiators throughout the world, the 2nd International Challenge debuted with contenders coming from the Bahamas, Japan as well as the Grand Championship winners from the British and Finland Gladiators shows. Michael Sidney of the USA & Minna Karhu of Finland were crowned as the 2nd International Champions.
The 6th Season debuted a new event called Snapback as well as the Gauntlet, Tug-O-War, Whiplash, Pyramid, Powerball, Breakthrough and Conquer, Hang Tough, the Wall, the Assault, the Joust, Swingshot, Skytrack and the Eliminator. Nitro returned to the Gladiator line up consisting of Zap, Laser, Ice, Turbo, Sky, Siren, Sabre, Hawk & Jazz. This year there were 14 qualifying rounds. The best times out of these round were then picked to head to get the contenders into the Semifinals then into the Crunch Time Event debuted which is where the Contenders points were ... as well as the Gladiator Newsflash. Adrienne Sullivan & Kyler Storm were Season 7 Grand Championships while Liz Ragland & Daniel Cunningham were the runner ups.
This season had 6 different specials. In the 2nd Armed Forces Challenge, the Marines retained their title. The Gold Medal Challenge of Champions III saw the return of Mitch Gaylord retaining his title with Picabo Street winning over Bob Ctvrtlik & Debi Thomas. An All Star-Celebrity Challenge where Dean Cain & Debbe Dunning emerged the winners over John C. McGinley, Heidi Mark & American Gladiators Host Mike Adamle. The NYPD VS. the LAPD where Michael Diaz & Teresa Ogburn of the NYPD won over Arthur Tom & Angela Shepard of the LAPD. USC VS Notre Dame had former USC football players challenging former Notre Dame players. Charles White & Anthony Davis defeated Alan Pinkett & Vagas Ferguson. The Battle of the Best debuted with former Grand Champions from seasons past gathering to compete. Wesley Berry & Peggy Odita Season 6 Grand Champions were triumphant over Mark Ortega & Kathy Mollica Season 4 Grand Champions and Cliff Miller & Cheryl Wilson Season 5 Grand Champions.
As the regular season finished, the American Gladiators ventured out; Internationally. Nitro, Ice, Sky, Sabre, Jazz & Hawk traveled over to London to The International Gladiators I to compete alongside fellow International Gladiators from Russia, Finland & Great Britain. Eunice Huthart & Wesley Berry are crowned the International Gladiators Champions with Kim Tyler & Paul Field coming in as runner-ups. Also debuting this year was Gladiators 2000 which pitted teens against each other while testing their knowledge on health and fitness. 4 of the American Gladiators would mentor and compete with the teens throughout the show. Events included the Assault; where the opposing teams' Gladiator Adviser had to run through the Assault battlefield, the Wall, the Food Pyramid; which consisted of items from the 5 basic food groups and the Slingshot. The teams' which consisted of a boy and girl, earned extra points after events where they were asked a question about what the Gladiator had just taught them. The final event was the Eliminator, which was smaller in size, where the kids had to answer questions before moving on through the obstacle. Half way through, they would tag their partner who would then continue on through the rest of the course. They would get 25 points for each question they answered correctly and and extra bonus for the fastest time. Peggy Odita came back to referee while Ryan Seacrest and Maria Sansone hosted the show.
The 7th Season. Only a couple things changed for this season. Dan Clark, aka Nitro, was now co-hosting with Mike. Events; Snapback, the Gauntlet, Tug-O-War, Whiplash, Pyramid, Powerball, Breakthrough and Conquer, Hang Tough, the Wall, the Assault, the Joust, Swingshot, Skytrack and the Eliminator stayed the same as well as the Gladiator line up of Laser, Ice, Turbo, Sky, Siren, Sabre, Hawk & Jazz. There were 5 special that came out this year. Playboy Models vs Underwear Models Challenge were Tom Hintnaus & Rebecca Ferratti win over Tracy James & Renee Tenison Baywatch vs Lifeguard Remy Smith & Jenny Susser win over David Chokachi & Gena Lee Nolin Celebrity Pro Football Challenge crowned Debbe Dunning & Roger Craig over Jennifer Flavin & Chris Mims. The winners received $10,000 for the charity of their choice.
Battle of the Best II crowned for a 2nd year in a row, Peggy Odita & Wesley Berry over Adrienne Sullivan & Kyler Storm. Alumni Show were Zap challenged Dallas. The experience over the youth. In the second season of Gladiators 2000, Valerie Rae Miller became the new co-host. The Gladiators were reduced down to 1 per team
The Events: Powerball: Contestants stuff plastic balls into 5 cylinders while the 3 Gladiators defend them by tackling, wrestling the contender or knocking them out of bounds.
The Assault: Contestant weaves around through an obstacle course attempting to shoot a bulls-eye above the Gladiator who is shooting at them from a cannon with tennis balls.
Breakthrough and Conquer: A no-holds-barred hybrid of one-on-one football and sumo wrestling. In Breakthrough, the contender carries a football attempting to score past the Gladiator. In the Conquer Ring, the contender attempts to remove the Gladiator out of the ring.
The Joust: The contestant wielding a pugel stick attempting to knock the Gladiator off of a bridge/pedestal.
Human Cannonball: The Gladiator stands on an elevated platform and tries to avoid getting knocked off by a contestant flying at them on a rope swing.
The Wall: The contenders climb a 32 foot Wall and the Gladiators chase after them in an attempt to pull them off.
Atlasphere: Contestants roll around in a giant metal ball attempting to score points while the Gladiators defends the goals.
Hang Tough: Contenders swing on a grid of rings in an attempt to get to the other platform while Gladiator pursues.
Swingshot: Contestants bungee jump up to a pole and grab scoring balls while the Gladiators attempt to stop them.
The Maze: Contenders race through the Maze to the finish but the Gladiators throughout attempt to stop or slow them down.
Skytrack: A 20 feet upside-down race track where the contenders and the Gladiators race to the finish line.
Super Powerball: Like Powerball, contestants stuff plastic balls into 3 cylinders while only 2 Gladiators defend them.
Gauntlet: Contenders have 25 seconds to run through an 80-foot long, half pipe, open field lined with Gladiators stationed in five active combat zones attempts to stop them with a varied armory of weapons.
Pyramid: Contestants have 60 seconds to climb and navigate a steep 35-foot pyramid, made of padding, attempting to reach top while avoiding 2 Gladiators stationed to prevent them from reaching their goal.
Tug-O-War: Contestants compete against a Gladiator on a tilting platforms spaced 10 feet apart and raise 15 feet above the mats. The contender has to pull the rope to their side or pull the Gladiator off their platform.
Whiplash: The contenders and Gladiators battle in a total battle of body strength. Each grab onto a triangle shaped dog bone and the contender attempts to rip it out of the Gladiators hand or force them outside of the playing mat.
Snapback: Contestant and Gladiator were connected to a bungee cord were the contestant tried to score points and the Gladiator attempted to stop them. The final event was an obstacle course called the Eliminator. Each contestant battled each other in an attempt to finish first. Through out the years, the Eliminator has gone through many changes in appearance, from rolling balls up ramps to climbing over walls to a zip line to the final straight away. The show started out on the CBS/Fox Network and then moved to the USA network. Most of the first two seasons were taped at Universal Studios Hollywood. In 1991, they moved to CBS/MTM Studios. International episodes were taped in Birmingham, England, home of the British version. The show was produced by Trans World International with Four Point Entertainment and was distributed by Samuel Goldwyn Television.… Collapse
- Genre(s): Game Show
- Season 4 premiere date: Jan 1, 1989
- Episode Length: 60
- More Details and Credits »