Truckmakers Unite in Support of ‘American Gladiator’ Revival

A series of off-roading trucks and the American Gladiators logo 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 vs 2019 Nissan Titan

For prospective truck-buyers looking for a means of comparing one particular model against another, there are countless online resources worth looking into. Whether you’re comparing the 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 vs 2019 Nissan Titan, or more mainstream options like the Ford F-150 vs Chevy Silverado, these services tend to be as simple as selecting the models from a drop-down box and perusing a side-by-side display. But where’s the fun in that? Wouldn’t you prefer to see the vehicles battle it out, in some sort of Greco-Roman inspired free for all? If you answered yes, well…we have great news for you.

The original lineup of gladiators from the first season of ‘American Gladiators’
The original lineup of gladiators from the first season of ‘American Gladiators’

For fans of syndicated television between the years of 1989 and 1996, ‘American Gladiators’ ranks among the nostalgic greats of ‘must-watch’ cable programming. Pitting athletic contestants against the series’ own group of ‘gladiators’ in a series of seven physical challenges, the program earned a loyal viewership, eager to see the season-end crowning of a Grand Champion. Following a few stalled attempts to resurrect the legendary series for a new generation, actors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are looking to make the revival a reality for the 2019-20 television season, commemorating the series’ 30th anniversary.

Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, in a photo we can only assume was taken by a James Franco.
Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, in a photo we can only assume was taken by a James Franco.

But it’s the marketing potential of this high-profile reboot that has most major brands throwing their respective hats in the ring, hoping to align themselves with the series. And among the most prominent candidates are leading truck makers, all of whom seem to view the program as one-part neutral territory, and one-part shared ground.

According to entertainment insiders, a committee consisting of representatives from Ford, General Motors, Fiat-Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan and Honda have been meeting with showrunners to form an unprecedented and mutually beneficial relationship.

Rumor has it that each automaker will ‘sponsor’ a Gladiator who will bear the name of a particular truck model (think ‘Raptor’, ‘TRX’, ‘Titan’) serving as supplemental marketing for their respective brands. As per tradition, each of the Gladiators will be a larger-than-life personality (not unlike professional wrestlers) fixated on physical domination, athletically besting a steady stream of contestants.

In addition, each episode would also feature a head-to-head demolition derby featuring the actual trucks – although it’s unknown whether they would face off against one another, other vehicles, or simply maul any unsuspecting athletes who had failed to defeat the Gladiators in their respective attempts.

“It’s a novel idea,” says a party close to the project, “and one that producers are very seriously considering. Not only would it make for good television, but it would be the first time truck makers banded together.”

Which begs the question, why? Why would competing automakers be so intent on uniting, let along sharing the stage?

“I can only assume that it’s a relevance grab,” is the best guess offered by marketing guru, Lisa Marie. “I love a big truck as much as the next girl, but the automotive landscape is changing in favor of crossovers, hybrids and EVs. This most recent surge of hi-po’d offerings has been refreshing, but you can feel that the days of excessive gas-guzzlers are numbered. People do crazy things to stay relevant, and companies are no different. An extreme competition might just be what truck makers need to maintain bolster enthusiasm beyond their loyalist fan base.”

A lineup of different brand trucks in a desert

Time will tell if the series, and the cross-marketing strategy, come to fruition, but it does sound intriguing. That said, we’re just confused about what the Honda Ridgeline plans to do out there…because…well….c’mon….


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