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James Hibberd

‘American Gladiators’ Shows Ratings Muscle

January 7, 2008 12:07 PM

American Gladiators (NBC)NBC’s revamp of the campy competition classic “American Gladiators” scored the highest new series premiere rating of the season.

“Gladiators” earned a 5.9 preliminary rating among adults 18 to 49 and was seen by 12 million viewers. The demo rating gives "Gladiators" the best score for an NBC debut since “Heroes." Previously, the highest premiere tally this season was held by "Bionic Woman" (5.7), NBC's other action-filled primetime remake.

The two-hour premiere came in second during the 9 p.m. hour behind an original episode of “Desperate Housewives” (7.2), but it handily won the 10 p.m. hour. What’s more, “Gladiators’” final half-hour was its highest-rated, with a 6.1, which bodes well for the true test of the show’s strength when the show airs tonight in its regular time period.

MSNBC called the program “an awkward start,” but still “a thrilling television event.” BuddyTV said it’s “cheesy fun.” The Onion wrote, “After two grueling hours, I want my brain cells back.”

A two-hour “Deal or No Deal” (3.0) led into the program.

Despite “Gladiators’” showing, NBC’s 4.4 overall put it in second place in the preliminary ratings, with ABC and CBS tied for first with a 4.5 (CBS also won among total viewers). ABC had “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (2.4), “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (4.7) and “Housewives” (7.2), all roughly on par. At 10 p.m., a preview of “Cashmere Mafia” earned a 3.8, down about 19% from the “Brothers & Sisters” average in the time period.

CBS was boosted by some sports overrun, which bled into “60 Minutes” (4.9). Then the network aired “The Amazing Race” (3.4) and “Cold Case” (2.5).

In third place, Fox aired “The Simpsons” (3.9), “King of the Hill” (3.3), an encore “Family Guy” (2.9) and “American Dad” (2.4). The CW aired repeats.


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Comments (19)


More sweaty, muscular, hunky studs in spandex, please!

Is American Gladiators supposed to last? Just when I think perhaps that networks have seen the light on quality programming, they sink back to this level. One week's good ratings does not make a success (Bionic Woman).

I can't see seriously recommending this to clients.


dude, american gladiators was awesome. its better than watching reruns of the old show, and i love watching those when i can find them. Blaze, Laser, Malibu, they were awesome.

If American Gladiators can keep ratings anywhere near its premiere, clients won't need any recommendations to jump on-board. Television can't thrive on "quality" shows alone.


I LOVED Gladiators! I thought it was awesome (GO WOLF!!!! BOOOO HELLGA!!!) And after all the re runs and crap a welcome change. AND shall I saw how great it was to find something my boyfriend and I BOTH enjoy!!!

Def. on the Gladiator train!!!


I can honestly say that this is the first time in years that the whole family, plus a friend, sat and watched a tv show together. My daughter and her friend are 18 and home from college.
It was good, cheezy fun. It was a blast to see and to talk about the old version of the show.
I was a little annoyed that the woman that cracked her head open on the poorly designed obstacle of fire on the water and who had worked her heart out during the competition didn't even rate a last minute "thanks for playing" from the show. That's not right. But otherwise, we all had fun watching the show! What a surprise!

A sane person:

If anyone thought this remake was good... you weren't a fan of the original and you are part of the problem. Here is an analogy.... 1995 sportscenter is to current sportscenter as original AG is to current AG.

Carlos Mendez:

For sure, presenting hot muscular dudes in bulging spandex all over each other is one way to ensure big ratings.


I am so glad you all enjoyed the show. It was so amazing to shoot. It is good clean fun. We worked our butts off for that.

Kate Maury:

I didn't get to see all of it but what I did catch was lots of campy fun. Some of the ladies were sporting some serious 1980s-style 'toe, which made it even funnier (but at times looked a little painful).


I think the show was great. One of the first times I have sat with the whole family and watched a show. There is so much "reality" tv on that it's hard to find something that's just fun. There is too much gloom and doom on TV. I hope it lasts.

As far as a 18-49 demo, you can find all my thoughts on American Gladiators here, http://a-code-in-this.livejournal.com

I won't lie, I'm biased. That show was fantastic.


with "american gladiators," it's official: nbc has sunk so far it has had to give back every shred of "quality" reputation it's received since "hill street blues." how about a revival of "supertrain" or "pink lady & jeff"?


I really enjoyed the show, and was a big fan of the old show too. If you think it's not like the old show, I think perhaps your rose colored glasses might need to come off!! It's pretty much the same, except gladiators are bigger and more steroidy, and the production values are better.

The contestants obviously coached interview responses crack me up. "This doc is ready to rock"

Hosts stink though. I could do without either of them.


I love this show, I hope it stays for a while.


I remember loving American Gladiators when I was a kid, and personally I can think of worse ways for corporate entertainment outlets to cash in on nostalgia. It's also coming at a great time for itself, when a new television season is choked to near-death by a lack of new pilots from the writer's strike.

I have one major concern for the show, and that is whether or not the competition is truly authentic and not scripted. When Toya stumbled on that ramp three times to allow Venus the win, or when the men's competition was so close despite a 17 second head-start, not to mention a pro wrestler host, I worry that the show may not be as authentic as I had hoped.


maybee the last half hour jumped in ratings because the 90 minute I Love New York reunion show ended, and had people switching over


Any idea what the ratings/audience was for the original vs the new series?
I know a lot has changed in 15 years, but just curious.

The women gladiator minus one was OK to be a gladiator but the rest I think they picked them out of the lonely mothers pile. They were nothing like the women from the old American Gladiators. They were strong and build. Definitely need to make some changes.

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