Athlete, author, champion of health and fitness and all-around entertainer Laila Ali will join Hulk Hogan as co-host of NBC’s latest midseason primetime offering, the return of the competition series “American Gladiators.”
The announcement was made today by Craig Plestis, Executive Vice President, Alternative Programming, Development and Specials, NBC Entertainment.
“Laila is a Gladiator in her own right,” said Plestis. “Her fierceness in the ring is matched only by her charisma and authenticity. There is no competitor — male or female — who she can not relate to on a personal and competitive level.”
“It’s an honor to be reintroducing this American classic to a new generation of fans,” said Ali.
Ali made her professional boxing debut on October 8, 1999 and is currently the undefeated Super Middleweight Boxing Champion of the world with a 24-0 record and 21 knock-outs. While Ali has undoubtedly been the major draw in women’s boxing for years, she recently took on a new challenge, strutting her stuff in front of America every week on “Dancing With The Stars.” In addition, she is the author of a motivational book titled “Reach!”
This show marks the first time Ali has co-hosted a televised competition series.
“American Gladiators,” the iconic event/competition show, returns with a fresh modern reinvention for the 21st century. Using splashy twists including special effects, water skills and the latest technology, the classic games will be upgraded with even higher thrills, impact, energy and spectacle.
Celebrating the everyday, true American heroes — weekend warriors who excel and take pride in their physical fitness — contestants will go up against the show’s gladiators — charismatic and eclectic warriors — in the ultimate David & Goliath battle. As in MGM’s traditional “American Gladiators” franchise, everyday amateur athletes compete against action stars and stunt professionals in contests of physical strength and endurance. The series will include such classic events as The Joust, The Wall, Hang Tough and the Eliminator.
The eight new gladiators (four men and four women) are action-adventure stars ready to take down the everyday challengers with hard knocks and explosive attitudes. Each challenger will also have a unique story to tell — and a compelling reason why they need to win. These unsung heroes combine brawn and heart in their effort to be worthy competitors, which the audience can cheer for against the villainous gladiators.