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 Fame Game: Round Five 04/30/2020
Fame Game: Round Five We return for another exciting round of the Fame Game! Will Mike be able to guess this week's BOTNS-era celebrity, character, or possibly location, or will he go down trying? Plus, what have Bobby and the BOTNS Orchestra been up to? Find out this week!
info_outline List-o-rama: Action Figure Wish List 04/16/2020
List-o-rama: Action Figure Wish List While shows ranging from Transformers all the way to M*A*S*H had action figures during the BOTNS era, plenty didn't, so we offer up a double-decker wish list. First, we look at toys we would have wanted as kids at the time. Then we list toys based on the era we'd love to have now. Join us for all the action and play along with your BOTNS action figures!
info_outline 7-12: Transformers "Auto-Bop" and "Prime Target" 03/19/2020
7-12: Transformers "Auto-Bop" and "Prime Target" Nothing screams the eighties more than break dancing and transforming robots. You wouldn't expect to find them in the same place, but "Auto-Bop" does just that as Blaster and Tracks help some break dancers stop the Decepticons from hypnotizing patrons of Club Dancetron in order to build an office building. Plus, a big game hunter and his immortal butler try to capture Optimus Prime!
info_outline Episode 7-11: Battle of the Network Promos 03/12/2020
Episode 7-11: Battle of the Network Promos Back in the seventies and eighties, the big three networks used elaborate promotional campaigns involving memorable slogans, catchy jingles, celebrity appearances, and everything from picnics to fantasy sequences to hot air balloon rides. This week, we pit some of these campaigns against each other in a heated, yet celebratory competition.
info_outline Episode 7-10: Soap "Pilot" 03/05/2020
Episode 7-10: Soap "Pilot" Part soap opera parody, part socially relevant comedy, Soap broke new ground in the late seventies and early eighties, stirring up controversy months before it ever aired. Writer Susan Harris and and a stellar cast covered everything from feminism to gay rights to ventriloquism. Confused? You won't be after listening to this episode of Battle of the Network Shows.
info_outline Episode 7-9: The Beachcombers "Blue Plate Special" 02/27/2020
Episode 7-9: The Beachcombers "Blue Plate Special" This week, we head north to Canada to take a look at venerable institution The Beachcombers. In "Blue Plate Special," Nick and the gang to save local cafe Molly's Reach from getting bulldozed for condos. Meanwhile ne'er-do-well Relic tries to sabotage their efforts from the inside so that the can profit from them later.
info_outline Episode 7-8: Charo! 02/20/2020
Episode 7-8: Charo! Charo! World-renowned flamenco guitarist! Charo! Frequent guest on the Love Boat! Charo! Mysterious! Charo! We couldn't do a podcast about seventies and eighties TV and not eventually talk about Charo! In this case, we talk about her 1976 variety special with bandleader Frank DeVol and special guest star Mike "Mannix" Connors! Say it with us one more time. Charo!
info_outline Episode 7-7: Doctor Who "Genesis of the Daleks" 02/13/2020
Episode 7-7: Doctor Who "Genesis of the Daleks" We travel through time and space with the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker), Sarah, and Harry as they try to stop the genesis of the Daleks at the hands of Davros. He's quite mad, you know? We also do our best to understand a little of the history of the Doctor Who phenomenon.
info_outline Episode 7-6: Murder, She Wrote "Murder Takes the Bus" 02/06/2020
Episode 7-6: Murder, She Wrote "Murder Takes the Bus" On a dark and stormy night, America's favorite mystery writer/amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher takes a bus ride with a bevy of guest stars. While they hole up in a roadside restaurant, a passenger gets murdered, and everyone's a suspect (except Jessica and Amos natch). Whodunnit? Whydunnit? Will Jessica figure it out, or will they all fall victim one by one? Most importantly, will they make it to the Sheriff's Conference in time for Amos to get some potato soup? Let the man have his potato soup!
info_outline Episode 7-5: Spider-Woman "Pyramids of Terror" 01/30/2020
Episode 7-5: Spider-Woman "Pyramids of Terror" If you ever wanted to watch a cartoon featuring a spider-powered heroine who also runs a magazine with her know-it-all nephew and sexist photographer as they face off against space mummies, travel the world in seconds, and make Spider-Man look like a dope, then we have the cartoon for you! 1979's Spider-Woman cartoon, based on the Marvel character of the same name, has literally everything...in the first episode "Pyramids of Doom."
info_outline Episode 7-4: Head of the Class and What a Country 01/23/2020
Episode 7-4: Head of the Class and What a Country The classroom provides the settings and the Cold War provides the backdrops of these two mid-eighties sitcoms. In Head of the Class, the IHP team faces off a with a team of Russians, and Eric struggles between dueling pulls of cooldom and nerddom. Across the country, Yakov Smirnoff and a band of would-be citizens learn to become good Americans, and one learns that the path to love might lie in remaining true to himself rather than playing it hep. Plus, Yakov raps
info_outline Episode 7-3: 3-2-1 Contact "Light/Dark: The Electromagnetic Spectrum" 01/16/2020
Episode 7-3: 3-2-1 Contact "Light/Dark: The Electromagnetic Spectrum" We here at BOTNS don't just want to entertain. We want to educate, especially for our vaunted 2- 11-year-old demo, and what better way to educate than to talk about classic kids science show "3-2-1 Contact" talking about light by going behind the scenes at a KISS concert?
info_outline Episode 7-2: Pray For the Wildcats 01/09/2020
Episode 7-2: Pray For the Wildcats We dive into the wild world of made-for-TV movies with a real whopper, Pray For the Wildcats. Ad men William Shatner, Robert Reed, and Marjoe Gortner try to seal the deal on a campaign by taking a dirt bike trip across Baja with a malevolent Andy Griffith! Plus Angie Dickinson!
info_outline Episode 7-1: Miami Vice "Smuggler's Blues" 01/02/2020
Episode 7-1: Miami Vice "Smuggler's Blues" Season 7 launches with an explosive start as we delve into quintessential eighties drama Miami Vice! Guns, cars, boats, airplanes, swagger, fashion, music, explosions, weird dancing kids, Glenn Frey, Richard Jenkins--this one has it all and then some! Crockett and Tubbs go undercover to Colombia to buy some drugs to stop a kidnapper/murderer in Miami. We think.
info_outline Yogi Bear's All-Star Comedy Christmas Caper 12/19/2019
Yogi Bear's All-Star Comedy Christmas Caper We celebrate the holidays with Yogi Bear and the gang as they try to cheer up a little girl in a jam-packed 23 minutes. How will the big city react to bears on its streets? Will Yogi find any pic-i-nic basket? How much does Augie Doggie really love his Doggie Daddy? How many Hanna-Barbera characters show up? Do we discover the true meaning of Even?
info_outline TV Guide Game: June 7-13, 1986 11/28/2019
TV Guide Game: June 7-13, 1986 We start to ramp up for season 7 with another round of the TV Guide Game, this time from the summer of '86! When school lets out and the sun stays out longer, what better way to spend your time than in front of the tube? This game includes such luminaries Jack Klugman, John Stamos, Valerie Harper, and two "Seinfeld" dads!
info_outline Season 6 BATTY Awards 10/17/2019
Season 6 BATTY Awards Live on tape from Tommy Westphall's snow globe, it's the Season 6 BATTY Awards! Join Rick and Mike as the stars vie for top awards like: Best Show, Best Episode, and Outstanding Performance by a Non-human! It all happens!! on theSeason 6 BATTY Awa
info_outline Gary Sandy or Patrick Simmons 10/10/2019
Gary Sandy or Patrick Simmons On our recent "What's Happening!!" episode, Mike suggested that WKRP actor Gary Sandy and Doobie Brother Patrick Simmons share an uncanny resemblance. Now he puts Rick to the test to see if he can differentiate between Sandy or Simmons, and we learn a few things along the way!
info_outline Episode 6-12: What's Happening!! "Doobie or not Doobie Parts 1 and 2" 08/22/2019
Episode 6-12: What's Happening!! "Doobie or not Doobie Parts 1 and 2" We take it to the streets in our season 6 finale with a real Doobie--er, doozy. Join us as we groove to the infamous Rerun bootlegs the Doobie Brothers episodes of What's Happening!! Does it live up to memory or play a bit like a poorly recorded bootleg of a major rock act in a high school gym? We'll let you know, but how can you go wrong with laughter's the best medicine and music is the doctor?
info_outline Episode 6-11: St. Elsewhere "Close Encounters" 08/15/2019
Episode 6-11: St. Elsewhere "Close Encounters" This week, we return to Boston and travel to the very center of the Tommy Westphall Universe to talk about classic hospital drama St. Elsewhere. Betty White pays a visit to investigate the condition of an astronaut, Denzel Washington and Alfre Woodard get cozy, an amnesiac decides he's Mary Richards...much to the consternation of "The Bob Newhart Show's" Mr. Carlin.
info_outline Episode 6-10: Legends of the Superheroes 08/08/2019
Episode 6-10: Legends of the Superheroes Long before the Avengers assembled on the silver screen, the Arrowverse filled the CW schedule, or Netflix canceled the Defenders, NBC and Hanna-Barbera gathered some of DC Comics' greatest heroes and villains for a live-action TV event, and they chose the most obvious setting...the comedy variety special. 1960s Batman stars Adam West, Burt Ward, and Frank Gorshion join various standups, comedic actors, and unknowns in one of the oddest curiosities of the 1970s. Also, BOTNS fav Ed McMahon!
info_outline Episode 6_8: Jem and the Holograms "The Jem Jam" Parts 1 and 2 07/25/2019
Episode 6_8: Jem and the Holograms "The Jem Jam" Parts 1 and 2 In another listener poll, our listeners chose eighties cartoon Jem and the Holograms. We chose two episodes promising appearances by stand-ins for some of the biggest acts of the eighties. Can you guess the real identities of the likes Roland Owens, Luna Dark, Johnny Deacon, Ron Cox, and the mysterious Lina Lerner? Also, some of the Starlight girls have some issues--including Vietnam flashbacks--the Misfits cause trouble, and bears bear!
info_outline Episode 6-7: Moonlighting "My Fair David" 07/18/2019
Episode 6-7: Moonlighting "My Fair David" Fed up with David's antics--limbo party, anyone--Maddie challenges him to act like an adult for a week. Will he, or won't he? Also, some guy gets kidnapped or something. Plus, we put on our own detective hats and try to answer whether the "will they, or won't they?" aspect of the show truly caused its demise?
info_outline 6-6: Greatest Sports Legends Terry Bradshaw and Bob Uecker 07/11/2019
6-6: Greatest Sports Legends Terry Bradshaw and Bob Uecker This week, we look back at an unofficial TV genre, weekend dad TV, the kind of show that might fill the gap between the early game and the late game. Greatest Sports Legends combines interviews and documentary footage to cover the great athletes of the day. In a typical episode, Willie Stargell interviews Terry Bradshaw. Then an atypical episode parodies the show buy focusing on legendary bad player, raconteur, announcer, and actor Bob Uecker.
info_outline 6-5: Growing Pains "Thank God It's Friday" and "This is Your Life" 07/04/2019
6-5: Growing Pains "Thank God It's Friday" and "This is Your Life" This week, we take a long, hard look two episodes of our Eighties Family Sitcom listener poll winner Growing Pains. In "Thank God It's Friday," Mike faces a tough decision when he finds himself at a cocaine (cocaine?!) party! Then a tonsillectomy sends Ben on a long, strange trip that includes the Skipper and a stunning heel turn by Danny Cooksey! Pull on your favorite pastel baggy sweater and cozy up to your hi-fi for Growing Pains.
info_outline 6-4: Donahue "The Clean Up TV Campaign" 06/27/2019
6-4: Donahue "The Clean Up TV Campaign" Is the caller there? Is the caller fed up with filthy TV? Well find out how people felt in 1981 as silver-haired TV talk legend Phil Donahue talks to Pastor John Hurt of the Clean Up TV Campaign and Chicago TV critic Gary Deeb. What shows did 1980s churchgoers find the most offensive? How did the Campaign actually want to clean up TV? What did the studio audience think? Plus which BOTNS favorite does Gary Deeb call a "toilet show"?
info_outline 6-3: Hardcastle and McCormick "Killer B's" 06/20/2019
6-3: Hardcastle and McCormick "Killer B's" Start your ignition, rev your engine, put the pedal to the metal, and accelerate into a high-octane episode full of high-octane action, high-octane bickering, and high-octane Buddy Ebsen! Our spark plugs are firing on all cylinders as we pull one of those sweet spin aroundy moves and, um, hydroplane into "Hardcastle and McCormick." Yeah, we’re car guys. So what?
info_outline 6-2: Super Station WTBS 06/13/2019
6-2: Super Station WTBS This week, we break format to look back at the original cable super station WTBS, including Mike's memories of it as the cool independent channel in Atlanta, Rick's memories of it on cable in Pennsylvania, an overview of its influence on the TV landscape, a discussion of the mercurial Ted Turner, plus talk of the America's Team the Atlanta Braves, wrasslin', and of course the programming from cartoons to WTBS' early attempts at original content. We also check out short-lived sketch comedy show "Tush."