“American Gladiators” gets new reboot: A look back at the history of the brawny competition series

The new revival of the series will stream on Amazon Prime Video around the world.

Gladiating is so hot right now.

Amazon Prime Video announced its forthcoming revival of the hit competition show American Gladiators. The athletic showdown series is conducting a nationwide search for participants who will face off against a new set of Gladiators in outrageous challenges of strength and speed. Here’s a look back at the history of American Gladiators.

<p>Richard Mackson/Sports Illustrated via Getty</p> American Gladiators

Richard Mackson/Sports Illustrated via Getty

American Gladiators

The original

American Gladiators first launched in 1989 and ran for over 200 episodes across seven seasons. Each episode saw four contestants compete against each other — and a crew of obstructive, imposing Gladiators — to emerge victorious in a series of physically demanding challenges. Competitors would take part in six to eight event segments like Powerball, Gauntlet, Human Cannonball, Hang Tough, Joust, the Wall, Swingshot, and the Eliminator all while the fearsome Gladiators attempted to hinder their progress or competed against them in head-to-head battle. 

Related: Maximus Overdrive: 15 Great Movie/TV Gladiators

Some of the most memorable Gladiators included Nitro, Zap, Laser, Blaze, Gemini, and Turbo. Mike Adamle co-hosted the series for its entire run, with a revolving lineup of cohosts including Joe Theismann, Larry Csonka, and Lisa Malosky.

The revivals/spinoffs

The success of the original American Gladiators led to numerous other iterations of the show. A British version of the series, Gladiators, launched in 1992 and ran for 13 seasons, leading to tons of other international iterations of the series, including Australian, Swedish, Nigerian, and South African versions.

A children’s version of the show, Gladiators 2000, ran from 1994 to 1996, and was hosted by Ryan Seacrest and Maria Sansone.

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Additionally, a revival of the American series ran for two seasons in 2008, and was hosted by Hulk Hogan and Laila Ali. That series featured a new lineup of Gladiators, including Toa, Titan, Justice, Fury, and Crush, the last of whom was portrayed by Mandalorian star Gina Carano.

The original show also spawned a critically maligned 1991 NES video game.

<p>Peter "Hopper" Stone/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty</p> American Gladiators with Hulk Hogan

Peter "Hopper" Stone/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty

American Gladiators with Hulk Hogan

The docs

American Gladiators was the subject of dueling documentaries in 2023. The first was ESPN’s two-part 30 for 30 project titled The American Gladiators Documentary, while the second was Netflix’s Muscles & Mayhem: An Unauthorized Story of American Gladiators. The ESPN series primarily focused on the show’s creators like Johnny Ferraro, while the Netflix series highlighted the perspectives of the Gladiators themselves, who discussed their experiences with performance-enhancing drugs, difficult working conditions, and shaky paychecks.

Related: Get a first look at Anthony Hopkins' Roman Empire series Those About to Die

<p>Richard Mackson/Sports Illustrated via Getty</p> American Gladiators

Richard Mackson/Sports Illustrated via Getty

American Gladiators

The new series

Amazon Prime Video announced that it would revive American Gladiators. No release date is set yet, but the show will premiere on Prime Video in over 240 countries and territories around the world. Amazon noted that fan-favorite events like Hang Tough, Gauntlet, and the Eliminator would all be part of the new series alongside several new events.

Related: Everything we know about Gladiator II so far

The announcement follows a successful BBC One revival of the U.K. Gladiators, which launched in January. Amazon’s revival one of several gladiator-related entertainment projects hitting screens in the near future. Ridley Scott’s Gladiator II starring Paul Mescal and Denzel Washington will continue the story of his 2000 Best Picture winner Gladiator, and hits theaters Nov. 22. Additionally, Independence Day director Roland Emmerich is helming the Roman empire series Those About to Die starring Anthony Hopkins, which hits Peacock on July 18. The series follows the athletes, politicians, and cunning opportunists involved with Rome’s chariot and gladiator competitions during the Flavian dynasty.

Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.