Hulk Hogan Finalizing Deal to Host NBC's 'American Gladiators'

TVWeek's James Hibberd: Rated

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Professional wrestler and VH1 reality show star Hulk Hogan has signed on to host NBC's upcoming remake of "American Gladiators," sources say.

Hogan made the rounds at NBC's Burbank offices last week and has accepted the job. The deal is still being finalized, but sources say both parties are committed.

NBC sees Hogan as "the perfect fit" for the "Gladiators" revival, sources say. In addition to his experience as a physical performer during his years with the World Wrestling Federation, Hogan has proved he can draw viewers with sheer force of personality in his successful VH1 reality series "Hogan Knows Best."

The network plans to showcase "Gladiators" sometime in midseason.

Like the early-1990s original, the new "Gladiators" will have everyday weekend warriors competing against the show's cast of athletes. The remake will add special effects, water skills and high-tech stunts.

Also, the show will chronicle the backstory of each competitor as they train for their match.

Producers are still in talks with professional and retired athletes from various disciplines, particularly ultimate fighting, to play the show's brigade of Gladiators.

The network is partnering with MGM Television and Reveille on the project, and sources say that Reveille managing partner Howard Owens and his team were instrumental in landing Hogan.

NBC had no comment.

NBC announces The Hulk. From the press release:
Craig Plestis, NBC's exec VP-alternative programming, development and specials:
"Hulk Hogan is an American icon. For over twenty years he has been a symbol of strength and toughness in all facets of entertainment. His electrifying personality will no doubt inspire Herculean efforts from our everyday challengers. There is no one more qualified to host this program."

"American Gladiators" executive producer and Reveille Managing Director Howard T. Owens:
"Hulk Hogan is going to rock the American viewing public as the host of 'American Gladiators. This is the ultimate television vehicle for the ultimate action television star, The Hulk!"

"Gladiator-mania is gonna be running wild, brother."
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