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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.


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




Season 11 BATTY Awards

Live whenever you’re hearing it from Southfork Ranch, it’s the season 11 BATTY Awards! Join the stars, the youths, the non-humans, and the dopes for the biggest night in retro TV podcasting! We might not have a choir of 500 people or Oprah on a rooftop, but we do have a random number generator and two Dennises the Menace! #podcast #tv #retrotv #seventies #eighties #battyawards #awardsshow


Encore: Holiday Special - The Leprechaun's Christmas Gold and A Family Circus Christmas

This holiday season, gather round the ol' fireplace, roast some chestnuts, sip some hot chocolate and join us we go all the way back to our first ever holiday special, and nothing says the holidays like dopey kids, ghosts, leprechauns, and hags! Rankin and Bass weave one of their most complicated stories yet in The Leprechaun's Christmas Gold, and Jeffy Keane takes a trip into own subconscious to learn the meaning of Christmas...or something. Come to think of it. You might want some eggnog for this one. #podcast #tv #retrotv #seventies #eighties #holidayspecial #familycircus #rankinbass #leprechauns


Episode 11-14: Dallas

In our Season 11 finale, all roads lead to Dallas and Southfork Ranch! That's right. We finally tackle the grandpappy of the nighttime soaps, and we go all the way back to the very first episode. This one has everything you'd expect: oil, scheming, bakstabbing, family feuds, and cowboy hats! It also have a few things you might not expect like grounded sincerity. Join us for all the fun and a few Larry Hagman chuckles. #podcast #tv #retrotv #seventies #eighties #dallas #soaps #larryhagman #patrickduffy #victoriaprincipal #oil #jrewing


Episode 11-13: NBC's Disastrous 1983

For the 1983-1984 TV season, NBC asked audiences to "Be there!" Audiences had somewhere else to be, and by the end of the season, the network had canceled all nine new shows it had introduced in the fall. What could lead to such a catastrophe? Why wouldn't people want to watch shows about talking orangutans, manimals, ghosts, and more? This week, we dig into this season and talk about some of these failed shows to see if we can find some answers. Be there! #podcast #tv #retrotv #1983 #eighties #NBC #Manimal #mrsmith #jenniferslepthere #disaster


TV Guide Card Game

Using a set of trading card-sized reproductions of TV Guide covers, we wing our way through a new game, The TV Guide Card Game. Like baseball cards, each card features stats and trivia on the back, and Rick uses that to see if Mike can guess the cover subjects. Play along and maybe learn some "fun facts" about some of your favorite BOTNS-era shows! #podcast #tv #retrotv #seventies #eighties #games #tvguide #trivia


Episode 11-12: Starsky and Hutch

Buckle your seat belt and cinch your cardigan because this week we're hitting the mean streets of Bay City with Starsky and Hutch! Things get harry for the boys after someone poisons Starksy with a deadly neurotoxin. As they race against a ticking clock to find the culprit and an antidote, they make time for their emotions and a fair amount of proprety damage. All in a day's work for these 1970s stalwarts. #podcast #tv #retrotv #seventies #starskyandhutch #tvcops #bestfriends


Episode 11-11: 227

Season 11 returns with a look at 227, Marla Gibbs' follow-up to The Jeffersons. The sitcom introduced the world to Jackee Harry and a young Regina King, but it also featured the likes of the great Hal Williams and Alaina Reed Hall (Olivia from Sesame Street). In 5 seasons, they covered a lot of ground from kitchen-sink comedy to social commentary to random celebrity encounters to wacky sitcom premises. We'll let you decide which category an episode where Gibbs' Mary and Hall's Rose win a butler for a week falls. Did we mention one of Gibbs' old Jeffersons co-stars plays the butler? #podcast #tv #retrotv #seventies #eighties #227 #marlagibbs #jackeeharry #reginaking #butlers


Encore: Knight Rider

Before we get back into the swing of season 11, we present one more encore episode. This time, we look back at Knight Rider, starring one TV's most charismatic stars and David Hasselhoff! We kid the Hoff! Still, a big shout-out to William Daniels as KITT, the talking, thinking, turbo boosting car. Why of all our episodes did we choose Knight Rider? Well, one, we had to check out a sweet KITT replica at a comics convnetion. Two, we wanted to give the well-known BOTNS boost to Knight Rider guest star and fellow podcaster Jason Bateman. Three, to remind everyone of the devastating affliction of CAR AMNESIA! One day...we'll find a cure. #podcast #tv #retrotv #eighties #knightrider #thehoff #davidhasselhoff #jasonbateman #caramnesia


Encore: In Search Of

In honor of the big Loch Ness Monster search this weekend in Scotland, we offer an encore presentation of one of our favorite early episodes. We once again join Leonard Nimoy on a voyage of mystery and discovery as he searches for answers to Nessie and the disappearance of Amelia Earhart. Will he find answers this time? Will he reveal that Amelia Earhart is the Loch Ness Monster? Does this encore presentation have anything to do with a slight production delay on our part? We might never know the answers. Then again, it's just possible that one day we might...maybe. We'll see. Only time will tell...or not. #podcast #tv #retrotv #seventies #insearchof #leonardnimoy #lochnessmonster #ameliaearhart


List-o-rama: Battle of the Network Networks

For this week's very special oversized bonus episode, Rick and Mike dig deep into their memories and pick their favorite networks for each TV season from the 1980s. ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, and eventually the fledgling Fox Network all get at shot at the title, but wil one come out victorious? #podcast #tv #retrotv #eighties #list #networks #nbc #abc #cbs #pbs #fox


Episode 11-10: Retro-Retro The Rifleman

The Old West comes to BOTNS in this season's Retro-Retro episode. Chuck Connors stars as Lucas "The Rifelman" McCain in this half-hour oater from the late fifties and early sixties. In "Ordeal," Lucas and his son Mark find themselves stranded in the desert after their meat salt mining expedition goes awry. Will they make it to safety or end up buzzard food? Find out on this exciting episode of Battle of the Network Shows! #podcast #tv #retrotv #fifties #sixties #therifelman #chuckconnors #ordeal #westerns #oater #meatsalt


Ep. 11-9: Sonny and Cher

In our second listener poll episode of the season, we look at a seventies variety show forma, and Sonny and Cher beat out Donny and Marie and Captain & Tennille for top honors. We discuss an episode from the post-divorce iteration of the show, featuring guests David Steinberg, Shields and Yarnell, and the great Tina Turner! Witty banter, comedy, mime, and music. The only things missing are puppets and...comedy. We kid! #podcast #tv #retrotv #seventies #varietyshow #sonnyandcher #cher #tinaturner #davidsteinberg #shieldsandyarnell #mime


Ep. 11-8: MASH Redux

Back in season 5 when we originally covered the classic sitcom MASH, we vowed to return to the later B.J., Potter, Winchester years, and so we have! This time out, Hawkeye's conning himself when he gets a sneezing fit but won't address the root cause. Luckily, for him and us, Potter calls in Dr. Sidney. #podcast #tv #retrotv #seventies #eighties #mash #alanalda


TV Guide Game 1982 Edition

This week, we return to a game we've been playing since the beginning of the podcast: The TV Guide Game! Rick digs into his vast collection of old TV Guides and tries to guess what Mike would watch on a particular night in 1982. Pull out your copy of TV Gude from the between the couch cushions and play along! #podcast #tv #retrotv #seventies #eighties #tvguide #tvguidegame #games


Episode 11-7: Exo-Man

A confident, passionate physics professor witnesses a bank robbery, and it turns his life upside down. Jose Ferrer's minions paralyze him, but they can't keep him down, and they certainly don't expect his greatest creation ever...Exo-Man! Unfortunately, this 1977 TV movie/series pilot from many of the people behind "The Six Million Dollar Man" doesn't even live up to its potential as a cheap Iron Man knockoff. Still, we have fun talking about it and maybe even learn a thing or two about physics. Also, stay tuned for a rare musical surprise. #podcast #tv #retrotv #seventies #tvmovie #exoman #superhero #failedpilot


Episode 11-6: Dennis the Menace

What do two Mr. Wilsons, a living mannequin, and Mark Twain have in common? Would you believe Dennis the Menace? We peel back the layers of the various Dennisverses to try to find what makes the tyrannical tyke's dark heart tick. Well, we look at a wild episode of the 1980s animated version and throw in the late '50s, early '60s live action version for good measure, and, yes, that includes a living mannequin, Mark Twain, and a couple Mr. Wilsons. Plus, Mike ranks the menace level of the various Dennises. #podcast #tv #retrotv #seventies #eighties #dennisthemenace #amiation #dic #mrwilson #philhartman #jaynorth


Episode 11-5: ABC's A Star-Spangled Celebration

In 1987, ABC celebrated Independence Day by combining an evening of variety with a rally for literacy. Oprah and Robert Urich host from St. Louis as the likes of Suzanne Somers, Yakov Smirnoff, Barbara Mandell, Atlantic Starr, and a choir of 500 singers entertain from across the country. In between, filmed segments show the different ways America celebrates and provide testimonials from adults who've recently learned to read. If that weren't enough, the wife of the vice president makes an appearance! Rick and Mike break it all down and reveal a little of Rick's carny past. #podcast #tv #retrotv #seventies #eighties #abc #oprah #roberturich #july4 #independenceday #america #literacy


Episode 11-4: Hart to Hart

In a "Rear Windowesque" moment, Jonathan Hart witnesses a possible mur-DAH. Then in his rush to stop it, he collides with a moped and gets...AMNESIA. Sure, he remembers how to hail a cab, how to dress to the nines, how to live a life of luxury, but he doesn't remember his wife Jennifer, his loyal aide-de-camp Max, his dog Freeway, or the mur-DAH. How will this calamity affect the Harts' marriage, Max's access to sporting events, and Freeway's access to the couch? Will they solve the mur-DAH? Will Jonathan have to collide with another moped to cure his AMNESIA? Plus, what do Rick and Mike think of this latest and most famous TV entry in the married couple solving mysteries subgenre? Find out! #podcast #tv #retrotv #seventies #eighties #harttohart #mystery #amnesia #robertwagner #jillstjohn


The All-New Game

Rick has long espoused the theory that adding "new," "all-new," "brand-new," etc. to the title of a show never works creatively or commercially. This week with the help of the BOTNS Games Lab (TM), we put that to the test in more ways than one as he runs Mike through the paces of "The All-New Game"! Ccan he distinguish shows that had "new" versions from those that didn't? #podcast #tv #retrotv #seventies #eighties #games #new


Episode 11-3: The Littlest Hobo

This week, we venture north to Canada, where resourceful, wise, and perhaps supernatural German Shepherd The Littlest Hobo wanders Ontario in search of humans in need of help. This time, the action centers around an arcade, where he finds a deaf guy, a mime, and a grumpy old man and helps stop a couple of nogoodniks bent on robbing the place. #podcast #tv #retrotv #seventies #eighties #littlesthobo #dogs #arcades #videogames #canada