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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.

Each week, hosts Rick Brooks and Mike Cowgill explore the TV of the '70s and '80s through hand-picked episodes.


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Each week, hosts Rick Brooks and Mike Cowgill explore the TV of the '70s and '80s through hand-picked episodes.




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.


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?


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!


Season 8 BATTY Awards

We celebrate the end of another season with "the most exciting 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!


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.


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.


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?


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.


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.


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!


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!


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.


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?!


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.


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?


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!


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.


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?


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.


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.