What's On: ‘Battle of Network Stars’ Revival, a New ‘Zoo,’ ‘This Is Us’ Cast Plays ‘Hollywood Game Night’
Battle of the Network Stars (9/8c, ABC): ABC is doubling down on this whole “throwback Thursday” notion, adding a revival of this 1970s-80s chestnut to the new Gong Show (10/9c), which premiered last week to promising summer numbers. Over the next 10 weeks, 100 TV celebs from 14 broadcast and cable networks will throw down in classically cheesy competitions from yore, with categories including tug of war, kayak, obstacle course and, naturally, a dunk tank. If the setting looks familiar, it’s because the show is taking place where the original show did from 1976-89: the Malibu campus of Pepperdine University. ESPN’s Mike Greenberg and Joe Tessitore assume the traditional Howard Cosell hosting duties, calling the action as the first teams square off: representing classic TV Sitcoms, Bronson Pinchot, Tom Arnold, Dave Coulier, AJ Michalka and Tracey Gold; on team TV Kids: Joey Lawrence, Corbin Bleu, Nolan Gould, and returning players Lisa Whelchel and Kim Fields from The Facts of Life. Coaching the teams throughout the seasons: MMA champ Ronda Rousey and former NFL/Super Bowl star DeMarcus Ware.
Zoo (10/9c, CBS): The thriller’s third season goes all-out sci-fi with a 10-year time jump to 2027. Shades of The Handmaid’s Tale, the human population has been sterilized, a byproduct of curing the animals running amok. But now genetically modified hybrids are on the loose, including a half woolly mammoth/half rhino. Enter zoologist Jackson Oz (James Wolk), whose blood transfusion last season does a number on his physiology and might make him just the superhero the world needs to save mankind.
Inside Thursday TV: Members of NBC’s This Is Us casting—including breakout stars Chrissy Metz, Sterling K. Brown and Justin Hartley—bask in their new celebrity, playing a round of NBC’s Hollywood Game Night (8/78c). … A different sort of game night is on display in the final night of Turner Classic Movies’ monthlong spotlight on “Gay Hollywood,” which kicks off with Mike Nichols’ Oscar-winning 1966 adaptation of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (8/7c). Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton star as the combative Martha and George, with George Segal and Sandy Dennis as their unsuspecting late-night houseguests. … He may have ditched NBC and America’s Got Talent, but Nick Cannon is back on MTV for a new season of freestyle improv in Nick Cannon Presents: Wild ’n Out (11/10c).