Radio and TV Talk

Rodney Ho covers TV and radio, from Atlanta’s stations to the hottest “American Idol" news.

Local reality update: Kim Fields ('Battle of the Network Stars'), 'Ink Master,' 'Food Network Star'

This was posted on Friday, June 30, 2017 by Rodney Ho/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

"Battle of the Network Stars" is back! Back in the 1970s and 1980s when the original version aired, there were only three networks. This time, ABC opted to create themes, enabling them to tap older stars from past TV glory as well as some actors in the current ABC line up.

First up on the first episode featured TV kids vs. TV sitcoms.

Marietta's Kim Fields joined the TV kids team along with her former "Facts of Life" buddy Lisa Whelchel. (They showed video of the two of them competing in 1984, 33 years earlier.)

Introducing herself, Fields name dropped "Facts of Life," "Living Single" and even "Dancing With the Stars." She skipped "Real Housewives of Atlanta," which she appeared in the eighth season. I get a sense she probably wants to forget that ever happened.

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Fields on camera did get emotional talking about her ties with Whelchel, saying that no matter what they've been through in life, they've been there for each other as friends..

Whelchel, who was a wonderful presence on "Survivor" a few years back, opened in the relay race for her team, followed by Fields, but Joey Lawrence ("Blossom") and then a super fast Corbin Bleu )("High School Musical") helped blow past the other team, which included Bronson Pinchot ("Perfect Strangers"), Dave Coulier ("Full House," "Fuller House") and Tracey Gold (Growing Pains").

In round two, during the swim relay, Fields expressed worry about showing up in a swimsuit. Fortunately, swimsuits in 2017 are far less revealing than they were in the bouncy '70s. (Yes, the videos are available on YouTube if you want to compare.) Fields did respectably in the relay but her team lost by a hair.

During the kayaks, Whelchel just rocked it. A competitive Fields won the soccer round. During the obstacle course, she almost beat an actress from "The Goldbergs" more than 20 years younger than her. After leading most of the way, she fell behind on the rope climbing obstacle. "I'm a little disappointed," Fields said. "Sucks!"

And sadly, her TV kids team lost the tug of war despite a valiant effort by Fields at the front of the rope line. The TV sitcom team, led by Tom Arnold, did surprisingly well on the tug of war considering they were, on average, far older.  won the competition as a whole 19-12.

While the original series featured all the actors in one place at one time, for logistical reasons, this time they merely had two teams of five play separately over 10 episodes. That's why they have 100 contestants total. See the list here.

"Battle of the Network Stars," 9 p.m. Thursdays, ABC


"Danger" Dave Morris and Bang of Tri-Cities Tattoo Company in East Point were eliminated in the fourth week of "Ink Master: Shop Wars" this week. That was no surprise. They were in the bottom three for four consecutive competitions. The judges couldn't possibly keep them around any longer.

Bang's strong-willed opinions contributed to conflicts with her own teammate and some of the other equally strong-willed contestants. (The editors liked the faces she often made during critiques so they cut to her a lot.)

Last week, Bang went after Think Before You Ink, a team including a former contestant who entered the competition later. Bang and Danger Dave had originally made an alliance with them but at the start of this past Tuesday's episode Richard "Made Rich" Parker expressed annoyance at Bang for critiquing his work and the alliance was over.

During the Flash Challenge where they had to do identical tattoos, Danger Dave didn't coordinate well with Bang. "It's almost like we're competing with each other at this point," she said.

The main challenge focused on technical application featured inking two black-and-grey cherubs on the same canvas at the same time in different locations. They had to be consistent.

While Bang and Danger Dave's tattoo styles are different, Bang said she felt they worked much better during this challenge.

The judges, yet again, criticized their technical application, although their tattoos were consistent.

Bang, in a text, said she never felt like the two of them ever got to showcase their best work, noting that "there was a lot of pressure and a lot of critique. I feel like the judges were stuck on 'report cards' which is why we were sent home."

She said she didn't think their tattoos in that challenge were the worst by any stretch, but the judges over four challenges never warmed up to their work and decided it was time for them to go.

Still, Bang said she enjoyed her time on the show and would do it again if asked.

Danger Dave said he felt like a lot of things were out of his control. "I hate that my portrayal wasn't me," he said, " but I understand how TV works so it is what it is." He felt like the editors made him seem like a bad teammate and not a very good artist.

A fresh episode of "Ink Master" is off on July 4. It will return on July 11.


Last year's "Food Network Star" winner Tregaye Fraser was from Atlanta. That could happen yet again.

After four weeks of competition, Atlanta's David "Big Swole" Rose continues to impress, showing both confidence in front of the camera and in his food. In this past Sunday's episode, he was in the top three for the second week in a row thanks to his presentation and his fried chicken. (His teammate for the week, fellow Southerner and aphorism-dropping maniac Jason Smith could win this, too.)

Judge and season 5 winner Melissa d'Arabian said David has "star quality."

Atkins Park and Zac Brown Band chef Rusty Hamlin, on the other hand, has been facing issues in the kitchen. But for the first time, he also had trouble with his presentation. He started getting nervous and self critiquing himself, a definite no no in front of the judges.

This time, he tried to create corn meal slider buns that ultimately fell apart because he didn't let enough water soak in. "Epic fail," said Andrew Zimmern, a judge. Still, the chicken was good.

Rusty was in the bottom three for the first time but Trace Barnett's inability to elevate his food did him in. But Rusty's star is falling. David? He's on track for the finale the way he's going.

"Food Network Star," 8 p.m. Sundays, Food Network

About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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