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 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."
info_outline 6-1: Cheers "Power Play" and "The Heart is a Lonely Snipehunter" 06/06/2019
6-1: Cheers "Power Play" and "The Heart is a Lonely Snipehunter" We start season six with one of the all-time greats, exploring the Diane years of "Cheers." First, Sam and Diane finally give in to their feelings, only things take a little longer to get going that Sam hoped. Then Diane meddles on behalf of Frasier, getting him invited on a fishing trip that turns into a snipe hunt for the haughty shrink.
info_outline List-o-rama: TV Shows That Should Have Had Comic Books 03/28/2019
List-o-rama: TV Shows That Should Have Had Comic Books Back in the BOTNS era and before, many TV shows had licensed comic book adaptations, but many more didn’t. Rick and Mike pick five each that should have had their own comic, suggest possible details like look and format, and Mike even offers to write some of them! Join us for this mixed media adventure.
info_outline Golden Girls Mad Libs Volume 1 02/28/2019
Golden Girls Mad Libs Volume 1 In this week's bonus episode, we play a couple rounds of Golden Girls Mad Libs, combining two of podcasting's biggest trends -- grammar and senior citizens. We learn a little about parts of speech, the girls themselves, and maybe, just maybe ourselves.
info_outline That Time We Met Robert Pine 02/14/2019
That Time We Met Robert Pine This week, we talk about a recent opportunity we had to meet the great Robert Pine, patron saint of Battle of the Network Shows! Then to sweeten the deal, we offer an encore presentation of our "Lowenbrau" episode, featuring one Robert Pine!
info_outline The Season 5 BATTY Awards 01/31/2019
The Season 5 BATTY Awards Join us on the Astral Plane as we celebrate season 5 of Battle of the Network Shows with the Season 5 BATTY Awards! Will classics like MASH, Hill Street Blues, and The Jeffersons run away with the awards, or will a dark horse or two emerge victorious, could a wooden plank win an award, and what's that floating above Rick's head? All this and more on the Season 5 BATTY Awards from the Astral Plane.
info_outline 5-12: Saturday Night Live with Ray Charles 01/03/2019
5-12: Saturday Night Live with Ray Charles Season 5 draws to a close with Saturday Night Live and the Not Ready for Primetime Players. Ray Charles serves as host and musical guest, making for a unique episode, and we get into the value of SNL then, later, and even now, and we even attempt a couple impressions of impressions. Also, thanks to our listeners for voting for this one.
info_outline 5-11: When Things Were Rotten and Best of the West 12/27/2018
5-11: When Things Were Rotten and Best of the West This week, we take a look at two forgotten sitcoms, the Mel Brooks Robin Hood spoof “When Things Were Rotten” and early eighties oater “Best of the West.” Along the way, we meet some old friends, encounter another take on Who’s on First, and get into a heated exchange about “Alias.”
info_outline 5-10: The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula 12/20/2018
5-10: The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula Long before cinematic shared universes were a thing, the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, shared rotating weeks of "The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries," and met each other on screen in a series of crossovers. They also met Dracula! Or maybe someone pretending to be Dracula! Suspects include Paul Williams, Lorne Green, and the mayor of Transylvania.
info_outline 5-9: The Jeffersons "A Case of Black and White" and "The House That George Built" 12/13/2018
5-9: The Jeffersons "A Case of Black and White" and "The House That George Built" After George airs his feelings about mixed marriages, he has to engage in full-on farce to save a business deal. Years later, a near-death experience leads him to open a museum...about himself.
info_outline 5-8: Hill Street Blues "Spotlight on Rico" 12/06/2018
5-8: Hill Street Blues "Spotlight on Rico" This week, we delve into the gritty, chaotic, groundbreaking Hill Street Blues. We hit all the important topics: the large cast of character actors, the serialized storytelling, the classic theme song, and the mustaches. Guest stars include Dennis Franz, Jonathan Banks, a robot, and Sonny Crockett?!
info_outline 5-7: BJ and the Bear "Cain's Cruiser" 11/29/2018
5-7: BJ and the Bear "Cain's Cruiser" Trucker B.J. McKay and his best pal Bear, a chimp, face off with Sheriff Cain and his supercar...designed and built by one Erin Gray. We dig deep into this one, speculate on its role as the possible secret origin of Knight Rider, and pitch our own trucker show Truckstop Lawyer.
info_outline 5-6: The Waltons "The Thanksgiving Story" 11/22/2018
5-6: The Waltons "The Thanksgiving Story" After your Thanksgiving feast, gather round the radio for a BOTNS-style Thanksgiving with The Waltons. This one has everything you'd want from Thanksgiving: family, turkey hunting, romance, moonshine, a pageant, test taking, and a major head injury. Plus, we speculate on the comics in John-Boy's self-published regional newspaper.
info_outline 5-5: Charlie's Angels "Lady Killer" 11/15/2018
5-5: Charlie's Angels "Lady Killer" In a perfect BOTNS-era plot, Charlie's Angels (original class) go undercover at "men's" magazine "Feline" to stop a murderer from killing more centerfolds. Jill (Farrah Fawcett) might even have to become a centerfold! Guest stars include BATTY award winner Hugh O'Brian and the great Alan Fudge!
info_outline 5-4: Hee Haw 11/08/2018
5-4: Hee Haw Our listeners voted again, and we listened. Pick and grin with us as we discuss two episodes of country variety classic "Hee Haw," featuring Freddy Fender, Melba Montgomery, Johnny Cash, and La Costa. Crank up the laugh track, let the banjo licks fly, and don't let the fence hit you on the way out. Plus, we hear an extra-special "Hee Haw" story from one our listeners.
info_outline 5-2: Halloween is Grinch Night 10/25/2018
5-2: Halloween is Grinch Night Listen to us yammer and yack about this lost gem of the small screen. The Grinch and Halloween? Has anyone ever seen such a scene?! We give you the why, the where, the Who, the when, and maybe if you're lucky the to what extent! Let's have a good time, let's make a good rhyme, let's have a little fright but try to keep it light, for Halloween is Grinch Night!