'Superstars' returns to tube
Sports-themed TV competish “The Superstars” is poised to make a comeback — but this time with celebrities.
Juma Entertainment (“The Singing Bee”) has partnered with Blue Equity’s Blue Entertainment Sports TV (Best), which owns the franchise, to create a primetime version of “The Superstars,” which has aired in several forms since 1973.
As originally created, “The Superstars” pitted athletes against each other in a wide variety of sports to determine an all-around champion. U.S. Olympic pole vaulter Bob Seagren won the first edition; more recently, football player Jason Sehorn and skiers Hermann Maier and Bode Miller have been victorious.
New version will pit eight coed teams of celebs against each other in a series of events, ending with an obstacle course (in which the lowest-scoring celeb duo is eliminated).
Juma’s Bob Horowitz, who will exec produce, hopes to take advantage of the interest in the Beijing Olympics, as well as the popularity of celebrity reality skeins like “Dancing With the Stars” and the success of the summer ABC entry “Wipeout,” which is centered on a complicated obstacle course.
“We’ll take the basics of a lot of the old games that have been played in all the years on ‘The Superstars’ and revamp them and modernize them,” he said. “This will be a serious competition, where they’ll want to win and will train as a team and compete as a team.”
As on “Dancing With the Stars,” participants will be paid an appearance fee. Winners will choose a charity to which they will donate their prize money.
Horowitz and Blue Equity plan to pitch the new “Superstars” to networks over the next week.
Created 34 years ago by Barry Frank and Dick Buttons as a segment on ABC’s “World Wide of Sports,” “The Superstars” aired on the Alphabet net through 1984. NBC Sports then picked it up, followed again by ABC and then CBS Sports. “Superstars” hasn’t aired in the U.S. since 2002, although the U.K. version — which also started in 1973 — was revived this summer by terrestrial channel Five.