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2008: American Gladiators Is Back!

We heard the original executives of American Gladiators were going to bring back a newer version of the show... Learn more about what is going on, who will star in the show, when it will air on NBC and more!

By: Ron Avidan

A few months ago, we heard that the original executives of American Gladiators were going to bring back a newer version of the show, that the timing was right in the television world. It was interesting, given the fact that I had known a few of the original Gladiators, and that this show was going to come back in a big way, on a national network, namely NBC. The original American Gladiators was shown in the U.S. market from 1989 to 1996, and there were others also, including the British Gladiator show too.


The Tryouts

The first tryouts were to be held at Gold's Gym Venice (which is in Los Angeles) on September 8th, the heart of the bodybuilding and fitness community, in which this gym is legendary as all famous bodybuilders have trained there at least once in the last few decades.

Other cities on the course for the new Gladiators included:

  • Brooklyn (Paerdegat Athletic Club, Sept 15)
  • Chicago (Windy City Field house, Sept 16)
  • Miami (The Ice Palace Film Studios, Sept 22)
  • Dallas (Arlington Courts, Sep 22)
  • Las Vegas (Sept 30)

You had to be 18 years old, and a legal resident of the USA.


-> Mike O'Hearn:

    Mike O'Hearn, Number LA349, was quite interested in becoming a Gladiator again. In his tryout, Mike did 35 pull-ups in 30 seconds, the circuit course in 50 seconds, and the 40 yard dash in 4.90 seconds.

RELATED POLL
What Is Your Favorite American Gladiator Event?

Assault
Powerball
Breakthrough And Conquer
Joust
The Wall
Other

    Mike, at the Los Angeles tryouts, had the attitude and was destined to be the prime face of the new Gladiators. He had the experience in this type of show, as he was a Gladiator before, and was also on Battle Dome.


-> Jamie Reed & Valerie Waugaman:

    Jamie Reed auditioned in Las Vegas, as did Valerie Waugaman - and out of quite a field here - truly impressed the producers. Both were in Las Vegas for Olympia Weekend bodybuilding, fitness and figure shows, as this was a great time to try out. I have known Valerie for a while now, as she always has quite the attitude and style to impress. Jamie Reed won her figure class at the 2007 NPC USA's, and was also a rising star.

Jamie Valerie
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Jaime Reed & Valerie Waugaman.


-> Beth Horn & Tanji Johnson:

    Beth Horn, is from Chicago, and also is known in the figure and fitness world, and has competed quite a number of times too. Tanji Johnson, from Seattle, also is an excellent competitor in the fitness world, and also had just competed in a contest.

RELATED ARTICLE
Tanji Johnson Interview!
Fitness and Figure champion Tanji Johnson has come a long way in a short time. I saw Tanji for the first time at the 2000 NPC Inland Pacific show in Spokane.
[ Click here to learn more. ]


-> The Finals:

    These four, among hundreds, would make it to the finals, and onto national television.

    But besides these and the other finalists, there were hundreds of our friends in the fitness, figure and bodybuilding community who tried out to be a new American Gladiators. And although we didn't comment on the trials and tribulations of almost making it in, we heard lots of stories on making it through the first round, in getting into the training camps, into contract negotiations and much more.

    It is an exciting time, and come January 6th, some of our colleagues and friend will be there worldwide on television for all to see.

Tanji Johnson
Tanji Johnson
2007 All-Star Fitness Pro Champion!
Photo By Isaac Hinds.

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Tanji Johnson
Tanji Johnson
2006 Fitness Olympia Competitor.
Photo By SecondFocus.

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The First Day Of Shooting

I was fortunate to be able to go to check out the Gladiators, the production, the stage and the set on the first day of shooting. This was courtesy of the man himself, Johnny Ferraro, who is the creator and one of the executive producers of the show. Johnny and I had spoken a number of times, and I found Johnny to be quite a cool guy, who loves the concept of the American Gladiators, and took me under his wings to show me around the set.

I drove with Johnny and his son onto Sony Studios in Culver City, where they are taping in Stage 30. We parked right in from of the stage, where the lines had already formed for the hundreds of people coming to see the live filming of the show. We didn't even have to go through the metal detectors.

Jaime Reed
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Jaime Reed.

video 
Photo Shoot With Jamie Reed!

Join Photographer Isaac Hinds as he turns the lens on former pole vaulter Jamie Reed! Special cameo appearances by Rob Klein and Kenny Kassel!

Windows Media (15.9 MB)


-> On The Set:

    Coming onto the set, I was amazed at just how big the whole scene was. On that first day, there were four events on the stage, the Gauntlet, the Wall, the Joust, and the Pyramid. The Jousting event was to be held over a huge water tank, which means that someone was going to get wet. The Gauntlet, which is the first photo you see out there that was leaked with Mike O'Hearn in it (with Wolf, and Toa in the background), is an amazing display.

FORUM THREAD
Mike O'Hearn
Just saw Mike on the American Glads commercial while watching the Steeler game. Gotta give props. Mike is one of the STRONGEST bb I have ever seen. Seen him train quite a bit over the years and the guy can lift some heavy poundage and is always in great shape. - slik.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

    There must be at least 1,000 lights on this set, various colors and quite more technologically advanced than the original series. There were two places for the audience to sit on this day, one where the Gauntlet and the Pyramid was, and the others where the Joust and the Wall was. In the middle, between these sets, was were the hosts would be standing. It was pretty cool.

Click The Play Button To See Behind The Scenes
On The American Gladiators Set.

    Once I was on the set, they were nice enough to let me check out anything I wanted. So I did. I went behind the stages, around the sets, and looked around. First thing I noticed is that there were at least 100 people working on this set, and an astounding amounts of cables, television cameras, lights situated in all the right places, and a lot of plasma televisions making sure that the producers can get the right shots. There was also a number of wardrobe areas, an area where there was a small gym (including exercise bikes and gym equipment), and of course, where the Gladiators were.

Robin
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Robin Coleman (Helga) And Coach, Ric Drasin.
Image used by permission from http://www.ricdrasin.com

    Now, this production isn't like what you see on television. The competitions are real, the Gladiators are real, and you can get hurt. You need to be prepared, as the competitors want to win. However, this production is being shot like a film. On that day, only two or three events were going to be played, with three separate teams of competitors, for three shows.

    Over the course of three days, three episodes will be completed, but in parts. What you see in the final episode occurred over a few days, not just in an hour or two. This is hard work, and the production is a first class one, with special effects, pyrotechnics and much more. I was amazed at it all, and it was a bit overwhelming.

FORUM THREAD
New American Gladiators?
My hubby came home and told me that on satellite radio today he heard that NBC's supposedly picking up a "ten episode run" of a new "American Gladiators" show, and that it's going to be hosted by none other than Terry "Hulk" Hogan. I just love the old "American Gladiators" and hope that they keep that same feel with this new one, if it's really going to happen. - Donica.
[ Click here to learn more. ]


-> Hulk Hogan:

    Hulk Hogan arrived at the same time we did, and was quite a nice guy. Backstage, he was serious, and making sure on what was needed to be done, but up there on the platform, you can tell why the audience loves him. The man has character, charisma, and can get the audience to scream and cheer.

    This is Hulk Hogan, and don't forget it. Laila Ali is also the co-host, and was just beautiful backstage. I can't believe that this stunning lady can't beat the crap out of me.

Hulk
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
This Is Hulk Hogan
And Don't Forget It.


-> The Men:

    The male Gladiators were out of makeup and wardrobe first, and were also the first to go on that day. I got a chance to meet all of them, including Mike O'Hearn, whom I have known for a while. I learned quite a lot about them, but since the official day of the 'Meet and Greet' the Gladiators is December 12th, I didn't want to say too much about them. It was pretty cool to say hello and see who is who.

    During the first day of filming, six gladiators were there, whose nicknames were Titan, Wolf, Justice, Toa, Mayhem, and Militia. There were only six lockers in the dressing room, not seven. Hammer, the apparent 7th Gladiator, and newest nickname out, would come later.

RELATED POLL
Which Season Of American Gladiators Was Most Memorable To You?

Season 1
Season 2
Season 3
Season 4
Season 5
Season 6
Season 7


-> The Women:

    For the women, there was Fury, Helga, Siren, Venom, Stealth, and Blast, as evidenced by the six lockers in the women's dressing room. Crush was the latest name to come out via rumors from the set. It was quite a hot seeing my favorite competitors as Gladiators, as they looked quite stunning.

Zap
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Raye Hollitt (Zap)
Former American Gladiator.

    All I can say was that they were hot, sexy and surreal. But they were still the same old people whom we knew before, and hopefully, stardom won't change them too much!


Conclusion

I would end up staying a little longer, but will be going back, as there will be lots more to come on the American Gladiators. Out of courtesy for our friends who are the official Gladiators, and until everything is worked out, we will refrain from going into a lot more details until the official press day on December 12th. However, here is the current information as we know it:

Dotted Line
-> The Debut:
Dotted Line

    The new American Gladiators will debut on Sunday, January 6th in a two hour episode. After the first two hour premier, the show will continue on Mondays at 8pm Pacific Standard Time.

Dotted Line
-> Current Line Up:
Dotted Line

    Currently, here is the lineup of the American Gladiators:

      The Men:

        Titan - Mike O'Hearn

    Titan
    + Click To Enlarge.
    Titan - Mike O'Hearn.

        Justice - Jesse Smith

    Justice
    + Click To Enlarge.
    Justice - Jesse Smith.

        Mayhem - William Romeo

    Mayhem
    + Click To Enlarge.
    Mayhem - William Romeo.

        Militia - Alex Castro

    Militia
    + Click To Enlarge.
    Militia - Alex Castro.

        Wolf - Don 'Hollywood' Yates

    Wolf
    + Click To Enlarge.
    Wolf - Don 'Hollywood' Yates.

        Toa - Tanoai Reed

    Toa
    + Click To Enlarge.
    Toa - Tanoai Reed.

        Hammer - Michael Briehler

      The Women:

    Venom
    + Click To Enlarge.
    Venom - Beth Horn.

    Siren
    + Click To Enlarge.
    Siren - Valerie Waugaman.

    Stealth
    + Click To Enlarge.
    Stealth - Tanji Johnson.

        Hellga - Robin Coleman

    Hellga
    + Click To Enlarge.
    Hellga - Robin Coleman.

    Fury
    + Click To Enlarge.
    Fury - Jamie Reed.

        Crush - Gina Carano

    Crush
    + Click To Enlarge.
    Crush - Gina Carano.

        Blast - Jenny Berry


NEW: Picture Galleries

Added: 12/14/07


Athlete Pics.

Check out these pictures of the athletes taking part of in the American Gladiators T.V. Show. Photos courtesy of Ron Avidan.


Backstage & Set Pics.

Check out these various backstage pics from around the set at the American Gladiators T.V. Show. Photos courtesy of Ron Avidan.


Miscellaneous Pics.

Check out these miscellaneous pics from around the set of the born again American Gladiators T.V. Show. Photos courtesy of Ron Avidan.

Dotted Line
-> When Does The Show Start?
Dotted Line

    The ultimate David and Goliath Battle will be returning bigger and badder than ever on NBC on Sunday, January 6th @ 8/7C. Don't miss it...

Dotted Line
-> Past American Gladiator Champions:
Dotted Line

Season Men's Champion Women's Champion
1 Brian Hutson Bridget Venturi
2 Craig Branham Dorann Cumberbatch
3 Mark Ortega Kathy Mollica
4 Clifton Miller Cheryl Wilson
5 Wesley Berry Peggy Odita
6 Kyler Storm Adrienne Sullivan
7 Pat Csizmazia Tiziana Sorge

Dotted Line
-> American Gladiators Trailer:
Dotted Line

American Gladiators Trailer.

2008: American Gladiators Is Back!
ron@getbig.com

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