NBC fortifies 'Gladiators'

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NBC has picked up a second season of the breakout reality hit "American Gladiators."

Meanwhile, the show's co- producer, MGM, which owns the rights to the franchise, is expanding "Gladiators" to new platforms. It is launching a broadband Web site paying homage to the original 1990s series as well as a national tour and also is putting into development an animated series based on the franchise.

NBC had been expected to renew the updated version of MGM's syndicated series ever since the athletic competition debuted Jan. 6 as the network's top new series since "Heroes."

" 'American Gladiators' has delivered everything we were hoping for and has come out of the gate as a top contender," NBC reality chief Craig Plestis said.

There is no decision yet on the number of episodes for the second season or when it will premiere. NBC's original order was nine episodes.

MGM will launch American-Gladiators.com on Jan. 28. The broadband site will feature redigitalized clips of the original series. The studio is launching the "American Gladiators" tour with series co-producer Reveille and Flor-Jon Films, the company of the series' executive producer Johnny Ferraro, who created the original series. Separately, MGM and Flor-Jon are developing a "Gladiators" cartoon series.

"American Gladiators" is exec produced by Ferraro, David Hurwitz and Reveille's Mark Koops and Howard T. Owens.
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