Battle of the Network Stars was the name of nineteen U.S. television specials featuring competitions among teams of popular television performers representing the three major broadcast networks at that time: ABC, CBS, and NBC.

    The first Battle was broadcast on ABC starting in November 1976, with subsequent episodes airing approximately every six months until May 1985. It returned to the air for a final show in December 1988. It consisted of a two-hour sequence of physical challenges, which were real and sometimes even aggressively competitive. Sports broadcasting legend Howard Cosell hosted or co-hosted almost all of the specials, and commented on the action with a semi-serious version of the style for which he was famous. NBC tried to revive the show fifteen years after the final "Battle" in 2003 (without Cosell, who had died in 1995) and with only NBC stars for an intra-network contest.

    Each team had a captain; they and their fellow teammates were interviewed during the contest, engaging in sometimes earnest and campy discussions about the competition.

    November 1976

    Host: Howard Cosell
    ABC team: Gabe Kaplan (captain), Darleen Carr, Lynda Carter, Farrah Fawcett, Richard Hatch, Robert Hegyes, Ron Howard, Hal Linden, Penny Marshall, John Schuck
    CBS team: Telly Savalas (captain), Adrienne Barbeau, Gary Burghoff, Kevin Dobson, Pat Harrington, Jr., Bill Macy, Lee Meriwether, Mackenzie Phillips, Loretta Swit, Jimmie Walker
    NBC team: Robert Conrad (captain), Melissa Sue Anderson, Karen Grassle, Tim Matheson, Ben Murphy, Barbara Parkins, Joanna Pettet, Kevin Tighe, Bobby Troup, Demond Wilson

    February 1977
    Host: Howard Cosell
    ABC team: Gabe Kaplan (captain), LeVar Burton, Darleen Carr, Richard Hatch, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Ron Howard, Hal Linden, Kristy McNichol, Penny Marshall, Jaclyn Smith
    CBS team: Telly Savalas (captain), Sonny Bono, Kevin Dobson, Mike Farrell, David Groh, Linda Lavin, Lee Meriwether, Rob Reiner, Loretta Swit, Marcia Wallace
    NBC team: Robert Conrad (captain), Elizabeth Allen, Lynda Day George, Carl Franklin, Karen Grassle, Dan Haggerty, Art Hindle, Kurt Russell, Jane Seymour, W. K. Stratton

    III: November 1977
    Hosts: Howard Cosell and Telly Savalas
    ABC team: Gabe Kaplan (captain), Fred Berry, Billy Crystal, Chris DeRose, Victor French, Cheryl Ladd, Kristy McNichol, Penny Marshall, Suzanne Somers, Parker Stevenson
    CBS team: Jimmie Walker (captain), Adrienne Barbeau, Valerie Bertinelli, Kevin Dobson, Jamie Farr, Caren Kaye, James MacArthur, James Vincent McNichol, Loretta Swit, Lyle Waggoner
    NBC team: Dan Haggerty (captain), Robert Conrad, Elinor Donahue, Patrick Duffy, Peter Isacksen, Lance Kerwin, Donna Mills, Belinda Montgomery, Michelle Phillips, Larry Wilcox

    IV: May 1978
    Hosts: Howard Cosell, Bruce Jenner, and Suzanne Somers
    ABC team: Gabriel Kaplan (captain), Debby Boone, Daryl Dragon, Kene Holliday, Parker Stevenson, Toni Tennille, Cheryl Tiegs
    CBS team: Tony Randall (captain), Kevin Dobson, Denise Nicholas, Mackenzie Phillips, Victoria Principal, Bo Svenson, Jimmie Walker
    NBC team: Richard Benjamin (captain), Rhonda Bates, Jane Curtin, Dennis Dugan, Melissa Gilbert, Arte Johnson, Lance Kerwin, Steve Landesberg, James MacArthur, Larry Wilcox

    V: November 1978
    Hosts: Howard Cosell and Frank Gifford
    ABC team: Gabriel Kaplan (captain), Debby Boone, Billy Crystal, Joyce DeWitt, Richard Hatch, Maren Jensen, Robert Urich, Robin Williams
    CBS team: McLean Stevenson (captain), Valerie Bertinelli, LeVar Burton, Lou Ferrigno, Pat Klous, David Letterman, Tim Reid, Charlene Tilton
    NBC team: Robert Conrad (captain), Joseph Bottoms, William Devane, Pamela Hensley, Brianne Leary, Wendy Rastattar, William Shatner, Caskey Swaim

    VI: May 1979
    Host: Howard Cosell
    ABC team: Dick Van Patten (captain), Scott Baio, Billy Crystal, Richard Hatch, Donna Pescow, Susan Richardson, Toni Tennille, Robert Urich
    CBS team: Jamie Farr (captain), Catherine Bach, Valerie Bertinelli, Patrick Duffy, Lou Ferrigno, Leif Garrett, Victoria Principal, Gary Sandy
    NBC team: Robert Conrad (captain), Todd Bridges, Mary Crosby, Jane Curtin, William Devane, Greg Evigan, Brianne Leary, Larry Wilcox

    VII: November 1979
    Hosts: Howard Cosell and Billy Crystal
    ABC team: Dick Van Patten (captain), Willie Aames, Diana Canova, Joanna Cassidy, Robert Hays, Max Gail, Kristy McNichol, Shelley Smith
    CBS team: Ed Asner (captain), Valerie Bertinelli, Gregory Harrison, Kathryn Leigh Scott, Judy Norton Taylor,James Fallin Jan Smithers, Allen Williams
    NBC team: Robert Conrad (captain), Greg Evigan, Gil Gerard, Melissa Gilbert, Erin Gray, Randi Oakes, Sarah Purcell, Patrick Wayne

    VIII: May 1980
    Hosts: Howard Cosell and Joyce DeWitt
    ABC team: Cathy Lee Crosby (captain), Scott Baio, Robyn Douglass, Grant Goodeve, Robert Hays, Kent McCord, Caroline McWilliams, Joan Prather
    CBS team: Chad Everett (captain), Jonelle Allen, Catherine Bach, Gregory Harrison, Sherman Hemsley, Gary Sandy, Charlene Tilton, Joan Van Ark
    NBC team: Robert Conrad (captain), William Devane, Gil Gerard, Karen Grassle, Pamela Hensley, Brian Kerwin, Sarah Purcell, Larry Wilcox

    IX: December 1980
    Hosts: Howard Cosell and Cathy Lee Crosby
    ABC team: John Davidson (captain), Willie Aames, Scott Baio, Phyllis Davis, Donna Dixon, Max Gail, Ann Jillian, Susan Richardson
    CBS team: Jamie Farr (captain), Gregory Harrison, Diane Ladd, Donna Mills, Judy Norton-Taylor, Tom Selleck, Joan Van Ark, Robert Walden
    NBC team: Arte Johnson (captain), Byron Allen, John Beck, Greg Evigan, Erin Gray, Judy Landers, Sarah Purcell, Cristina Raines

    X: May 1981
    Hosts: Howard Cosell and Erin Gray
    ABC team: Robert Urich (captain), Scott Baio, Melanie Chartoff, Jeff Conaway, Linda Evans, Jenilee Harrison, Ann Jillian
    CBS team: Tom Selleck (captain), Danielle Brisebois, Gregory Harrison, Michele Lee, Leigh McCloskey, Judy Norton-Taylor, Tim Reid, Charlene Tilton
    NBC team: Barbara Mandrell (captain), Woody Brown, Melissa Gilbert, Brian Kerwin, Louise Mandrell, Randi Oakes, Skip Stephenson, Michael Warren

    XI: December 1981
    Hosts: Howard Cosell and Lee Majors
    ABC team: Scott Baio (captain), Douglas Barr, Cathy Lee Crosby, Donna Dixon, Telma Hopkins, Ann Jillian, Sam J. Jones, Andrew Stevens
    CBS team: Pernell Roberts (captain), Mimi Kennedy, Lorenzo Lamas, Jared Martin, Donna Mills, Tim Reid, Charlene Tilton, Berlinda Tolbert
    NBC team: Gabe Kaplan (captain), Maud Adams, Melissa Gilbert, Mark Harmon, Randi Oakes, Cristina Raines, Fred Willard

    XII: May 1982
    Hosts: Howard Cosell and Randi Oakes
    ABC team: William Shatner (captain), Heather Thomas, Douglas Barr, Joan Collins, Lydia Cornell, Telma Hopkins, John James, John Davidson, Joyce DeWitt
    CBS team: Pernell Roberts (captain), Tom Wopat, Audrey Landers, Robert Walden, Catherine Bach, Joan Van Ark, Danielle Brisebois, Brian Stokes Mitchell
    NBC team: Cristina Raines (captain), Mark Harmon, Debbie Allen, Nancy McKeon, Joe Piscopo, Lynn Redgrave, Bruce Weitz

    XIII: December 1982
    Hosts: Howard Cosell and Debbie Allen
    ABC team: William Shatner (captain), Stephen Collins, Helen Hunt, John James, Heather Locklear, Kathy Maisnik, Heather Thomas, Demond Wilson
    CBS team: Kevin Dobson (captain), Bruce Boxleitner, Delta Burke, Byron Cherry, Christopher Norris, Jameson Parker, Penny Peyser, Joan Van Ark
    NBC team: Daniel J. Travanti (captain), Dean Butler, Tina Gayle, Melissa Gilbert, Ricky Schroder, Leigh Taylor-Young, Betty Thomas, Michael Warren

    XIV: May 1983
    Hosts: Howard Cosell and Morgan Fairchild
    ABC team: John James (captain), Scott Baio, Rachel Dennison, Lisa Eilbacher, Heather Locklear, Randi Oakes, Geoffrey Scott, Adrian Zmed
    CBS team: Tom Wopat (captain), John Beck, Danielle Brisebois, Audrey Landers, Denise Miller, William R. Moses, Tracy Nelson, Ted Shackelford
    NBC team: Bruce Weitz (captain), Peter Barton, David Birney, Meredith Baxter-Birney, Nancy McKeon, Cynthia Sikes, Mr. T, Betty Thomas

    XV: December 1983
    Hosts: Howard Cosell, Robert Conrad, and Donna Mills
    ABC team: William Shatner (captain), Shari Belafonte, Daniel Hugh Kelly, Heather Locklear, Ben Murphy, Geoffrey Scott, Andrew Stevens, Heather Thomas, Jill Whelan
    CBS team: William Devane (captain), Ana Alicia, Rosalind Chao, Charles Frank, William R. Moses, Martha Smith, Joan Van Ark
    NBC team: Mr. T (captain), Edward Albert, Teri Copley, Melinda Culea, Chad Everett, Charles Haid, Vicki Lawrence, Cynthia Sikes

    XVI: May 1984
    Hosts: Howard Cosell, Scott Baio, and Debby Boone
    ABC team: John James (captain), Shari Belafonte, Pamela Bellwood, James Darren, C. Thomas Howell, Ted Lange, Heather Locklear, Shawn Weatherly
    CBS team: William Devane (captain), Richard Dean Anderson, Abby Dalton, Sarah Douglas, William R. Moses, Douglas Sheehan, Charlene Tilton, Celia Weston
    NBC team: Flip Wilson (captain), Ellen Bry, Kim Fields, Michael J. Fox, Charles Haid, Mark Harmon, Vicki Lawrence, Lisa Whelchel

    XVII: December 1984
    Hosts: Howard Cosell and Shari Belafonte
    ABC team: William Shatner (captain), Douglas Barr, Mary Cadorette, Tony Danza, Tony Lo Bianco, Heather Locklear, Tracy Scoggins, Brenda Vaccaro
    CBS team: William Devane (captain), Constance McCashin, Jennifer O'Neill, Tim Reid, Douglas Sheehan, Deborah Shelton, Parker Stevenson, Charlene Tilton
    NBC team: Mark Harmon (captain), Jane Badler, Teri Copley, Kim Fields, Michael J. Fox, Stepfanie Kramer, James Sikking, Marc Singer

    XVIII: May 1985
    Hosts: Joan Van Ark and Dick Van Dyke
    ABC team: Tony Danza (captain), Deborah Adair, Mary Cadorette, Jack Coleman, Patricia Klous, Ted McGinley, Emma Samms, Michael Spound
    CBS team: Lorenzo Lamas (captain), Lucie Arnaz, Mary Frann, Jenilee Harrison, Doug McKeon, William R. Moses, Jennifer O'Neill, Dack Rambo
    NBC team: Bubba Smith (captain), Lisa Bonet, Erin Gray, Nancy McKeon, Patricia McPherson, Ken Olin, Philip Michael Thomas

    XIX: 1988
    Hosts: Howard Cosell and Shari Belafonte
    ABC team: John Davidson (captain), Rebeca Arthur, Allyce Beasley, Olivia d'Abo, Brian Robbins, Rob Stone, JoAnn Willette, Brian Wimmer
    CBS team: Lorenzo Lamas (captain), Kristian Alfonso, Steve Kanaly, Daphne Reid (as Daphne Maxwell Reid), Jack Scalia, Nicollette Sheridan, William Sanderson
    NBC team: Greg Evigan (captain), Teri Copley, Clifton Davis, Deidre Hall, Dawnn Lewis, Blair Underwood, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Tina Yothers

    Competition includes swimming, kayaking, golf, tennis, cycling, the baseball dunk, running, the obstacle course, and finally the top two scoring teams face off in the tug-of-war.