Battle of the Network Shows
Each week, hosts Rick Brooks and Mike Cowgill explore the TV of the '70s and '80s through hand-picked episodes.
info_outline Episode 9-8: The Soul Train The Emotions and Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly 08/05/2021
Episode 9-8: The Soul Train The Emotions and Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly Our listeners have spoken again and voted for us to take a ride on The Soul Train. We ride it all the way back to 1977 for a bit of funk, a bit of disco, the Soul Train Scramble, the Soul Train Line, plus performances by The Emotions and Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly. Get on board!
info_outline Episode 9-7: The Master "Fat Tuesday" 07/29/2021
Episode 9-7: The Master "Fat Tuesday" Nothing says New Orleans like Mardi Gras, and nothing says Mardi Gras like ninjas, and nothing says ninjas like Lee Van Cleef and Timothy "Salami" Van Patten facing off against a BOTNS favorite in a shocking heel turn! Join us as we look back at NBC's short-lived attempt at cashing in on the eighties ninja craze The Master.
info_outline Episode 9-6: The Baseball Bunch "Chet Lemon" 07/22/2021
Episode 9-6: The Baseball Bunch "Chet Lemon" Summer in America means baseball, so break out the peanuts and Cracker Jacks. For a few years in the eighties, Major League Baseball made an educational baseball show for kids--The Baseball Bunch. Johnny Bench, the Famous Chicken, the Dugout Wizard, and guest Chet Lemon teach the Bunch about shagging flies, eating right, and more.
info_outline Episode 9-5: Alice "Mel's Recession" 07/15/2021
Episode 9-5: Alice "Mel's Recession" In a season two episode of the long-lived Alice, diner owner Mel receives bad news from his accountant and decides he has to give one of the waitresses "the sack." In the ensuing struggle to keep their jobs, the ladies all end up at Mel's fortress of slobitude. We dive into this, the characters' transition from the big screen to the small screen, and Rick's mild obsession with the show.
info_outline Episode 9-4: PSAs 07/08/2021
Episode 9-4: PSAs Along with entertainment and advertising, public service announcements, or PSAs, filled the airwaves in the seventies and eighties. This week, we pick a range of them to discuss, featuring lessons on nutrition, health, safety, and morality, plus music, celebrities, animated characters, and Droids. Most importantly, we might all learn a little something along the way.
info_outline Episode 9-3: Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July 07/01/2021
Episode 9-3: Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July A Christmas special in July?! Not just any Christmas in July special either. This 97-minute Rankin-Bass special might have it all...literally. Ancient history rears its head when an evil king wakes from a long slumber. If he succeeds, Rudolph could lose his shiny nose, Frosty and family could melt, Santa could lose Christmas, Ethel Merman could lose her circus, and the world could plunge into an eternal winter! Happy Christmas in July!
info_outline Episode 9-2: SCTV "Zontar" 06/24/2021
Episode 9-2: SCTV "Zontar" This week, we take a look at the classic sketch comedy show SCTV in an episode that includes G. Gordon Liddy on a children's show, George Carlin and Don Rickles in rom-coms, an alien invasion, and perhaps most importantly Conrad Bain's twin brother Hank Bain (played by Conrad Bain's twin brother Bonar Bain)!
info_outline Episode 9-1: The Rockford Files "The Oracle Wore a Cashmere Suit" 06/17/2021
Episode 9-1: The Rockford Files "The Oracle Wore a Cashmere Suit" In our season 9 premiere, we investigate one of the quintessential detective shows "The Rockford Files." Rockford butts heads with a celebrity psychic, the police, a manic drummer, and a slick music executive in David Chase's first "Rockford" teleplay.
info_outline 50 Saturday Mornings Ago 05/13/2021
50 Saturday Mornings Ago In this extra-sized bonus episode, we look at the Saturday morning schedule from spring 1971. How did the networks compare? Did Saturday morning '71 look much like '81? What show had a character named Doughnut, and how on earth does Phil Collins fit into all of this? Pour some cereal and sit close to the speakers because we have the answers!
info_outline The TV Guide Game March 30, 1981 03/30/2021
The TV Guide Game March 30, 1981 This week, we go back 40 years for the TV Guide game to March 30, 1981, when a major historical event disrupted the TV schedule. Rick tries to guess what Mike would have watched from the originally planned schedule, and we ponder a number important questions raised by the schedule and the day's events.
info_outline Michael Learned or Michael Lerner 03/11/2021
Michael Learned or Michael Lerner In the grand tradition of Patrick Simmons or Gary Sandy, we proudly present another unique podcast game when Mike asks Rick to determine whether Ma Walton herself Michael Learned or venerable character actor Michael Lerner fits a given trivia question. Is Rick learned enough to face the challenge?
info_outline Fame Game 7 02/18/2021
Fame Game 7 When last we played The Fame Game, Mike secured a victory after the previous "Ruth Buzzi Fiasco." Can he turn that victory into a streak, or will the ghosts of previous losses once again haunt him? Find out now when Rick puts Mike through another round of The Fame Game!
info_outline Season 8 BATTY Awards 02/04/2021
Season 8 BATTY Awards night in retro TV podcasting," the BATTY Awards. As always, the awards include the expected like outstanding male and female performances, the unique like outstanding facial hair and nonhuman, and the downright unexpected--you'll have to listen to find out. Plus, we hand out another Robert Pine Genius Award!
info_outline Mailbag at Battle of the Network Shows 01/28/2021
Mailbag at Battle of the Network Shows This week, we answer open up the mailbag and answer questions from our Facebook group. We give our thoughts on expanding our format, how we got started, our favorite shows from the seventies and eighties, and, perhaps most importantly, our thoughts on Elvis. Also, we commit to a subject for season nine.
info_outline Episode 8-13: Holiday Special "The Little Rascals Christmas Special" 12/17/2020
Episode 8-13: Holiday Special "The Little Rascals Christmas Special" On this year's holiday special, cartoon versions of the Little Rascals learn some difficult lessons about eavesdropping, paying attention to weather forecasts, running scams, and being greedy, little so-and-sos during difficult economic times. It's really sweet.
info_outline Episode 8-12: Night of One Hundred Stars 1982 12/10/2020
Episode 8-12: Night of One Hundred Stars 1982 To celebrate our 100th episode, more or less, we look at Night of One Hundred stars and ask the important questions like: what do you do for 2 ½ hours with 200 stars; if you have 200 stars, why call it night of 100 stars; and will this song ever end?
info_outline Episode 8-11: Darkroom: "The Partnership, Daisies, Catnip" 12/03/2020
Episode 8-11: Darkroom: "The Partnership, Daisies, Catnip" In another listener request episode, we discuss the short-lived horror anthology Darkroom. Hosted by James Coburn, Darkroom delves into the macabre and mysterious lurking, sometimes literally, under the mundane world. In this episode, Mr. Haney has plans for an unsuspecting David Carradine, Rue McClanahan talks to the daises, and guy learns the hard way not to mess with cats.
info_outline Episode 8-10: Newhart "Thanksgiving For the Memories" 11/26/2020
Episode 8-10: Newhart "Thanksgiving For the Memories" Celebrate Thanksgiving BOTNS style with classic eighties sitcom Newhart. Dick Loudon loves Thanksgiving at home the way children love Christmas, so naturally, a series of unforeseen events nearly ruins it until three wise men save the day.
info_outline Episode 8-9: 60 Minutes March 13, 1983 11/19/2020
Episode 8-9: 60 Minutes March 13, 1983 This week, we put on our reporters' caps, riffle through the papers on our desks, and try to parse out what makes ratings juggernaut 60 Minutes so iconic. Along the way, we also get to explore some vintage commercials, the sartorial choices of some of the reporters, and ask some unexpected what-if questions? It doesn't get more hard-hitting than this!
info_outline Episode 8-8: The Greatest American Hero "The Shock Will Kill You" 11/12/2020
Episode 8-8: The Greatest American Hero "The Shock Will Kill You" Believe it or not, it took eight seasons for us to get to The Greatest American Hero. After steering a powerless space shuttle to a safe landing, Ralph turns into a walking magnet, and only he, Bill, and Pam stand in between a electricity-eating space monster and doom! What a scenario!
info_outline Episode 8-7: Tucker's Witch Aired and Unaired Pilot 11/05/2020
Episode 8-7: Tucker's Witch Aired and Unaired Pilot In short-lived detective series "Tucker's Witch," a married couple solves crimes with a little help from the wife's extra psychic abilities. In a twist, Ted Danson plays the villain. In another twist, producers recast the leads and refilmed the pilot for air. In another twist...we talk about both.
info_outline Episode 8-6: Poor Devil 10/28/2020
Episode 8-6: Poor Devil In TV movie "Poor Devil," Sammy Davis Jr. the demon sees a chance to get out of the furnace room if Christopher "Lucifer" Lee will just let him convince Jack Klugman to sign over his soul. Also, Adam West plays a jerk. What the h-e-double-hockey-sticks?!
info_outline Episode 8-5: Duck Tales "Once Upon a Dime" 10/22/2020
Episode 8-5: Duck Tales "Once Upon a Dime" This week, we dive into the deep end of the money bin as we take on a lister request, eighties cartoon Duck Tales. On every duck's favorite holiday, Dime Polishing Day, Scrooge McDuck tells the duck tale of how he got his number one dime and became the world's richest duck.
info_outline Episode 8-4: Columbo "A Stitch in Crime" 10/15/2020
Episode 8-4: Columbo "A Stitch in Crime" Classic detective Columbo squares off with a doctor as arrogant as Columbo is rumpled. That doctor--Leonard Nimoy. We're not sure, but it might be possible that Columbo, if things go right, could maybe catch him...but will we ever really know?
info_outline Episode 8-3: Evel Knieval meets Wide World of Sports 10/08/2020
Episode 8-3: Evel Knieval meets Wide World of Sports This week, we span the globe to bring you our most daring episode yet! Join us for all the thrills, spills, and chills when Evel Knieval meets ABC's Wide World of Sports!
info_outline Episode 8-2: Back to the Egg--1980-81 TV Season 40th Anniversary 10/01/2020
Episode 8-2: Back to the Egg--1980-81 TV Season 40th Anniversary This week, we take a broader approach than normal as we celebrate the--oof--40th anniversary of the troubled 1980-81 TV season. Strikes, Olympic boycotts, elections, "Shogun," "Who Shot J.R.?" and more--we try to cover it all. Plus, a surprising amount of egg talk.
info_outline A Very Brady Bonus 09/28/2020
A Very Brady Bonus You might think we'd run out of things to say about The Brady Bunch, but we've found a little more to say. In this supplemental episode, we talk about the iconic opening credit sequence. Who looks the most awkward? Plus, what effects wizard created the sequence, and how did he do it?
info_outline Episode 8-1: The Brady Bunch: The Big Bet 09/24/2020
Episode 8-1: The Brady Bunch: The Big Bet It only took eight seasons, but we finally talk about our second-favorite 8-member family--9 if you count Alice, which we do--the Brady Bunch! Bobby and Greg make a bet, and the unexpected winner becomes a tyrant! Plus one of our hosts wrestles with his complicated feelings about the show.
info_outline A Preview of Things to Come: Season 8 09/17/2020
A Preview of Things to Come: Season 8 This week, we give you a quick preview of our upcoming season 8, which premieres Thursday, September 24, 2020. We also tell you where else you can hear Rick and Mike, and we somehow manage to work Jeffrey Scott and Kenny Rogers into the discussion.
info_outline Season 7 BATTY Awards 08/27/2020
Season 7 BATTY Awards BROADCASTING FROM ACROSS ALL TIME AND AND SPACE, BATTLE OF THE NETWORK SHOWS PROUDLY PRESENTS THE SEASON SEVEN BATTY AWARDS! EXPECT THE BIGGEST AND BRIGHTEST NAMES OF THE SEVENTIES AND EIGHTIES...AND YAKOV SMIRNOV. AWWW. THRILL AT CLASSIC CATEGORIES LIKE BEST SHOW, BEST EPISODE, AND OF COURSE OUTSTANDING FACIAL HAIR. SQUEAL WITH DELIGHT WHEN CHARO PLAYS A MEDLEY OF THE BEST THEME SONG NOMINEES! AND PRAY THAT NO ONE GETS MURDERED WITH JESSICA FLETCHER AROUND! JOIN US NOW FOR THE SEASON SEVEN BATTY AWARDS!