ABC mixes sports, comedy and drama on new season of 'The Superstars' |

ABC mixes sports, comedy and drama on new season of ‘The Superstars’

Terrell Owens, Warren Sapp and Lisa Leslie walked into a bar.

No punchline, unless you count the new version of ABC’s “The Superstars.”

The trio joined several other athletes and glitterati at Saddle Ranch in Universal City this week to celebrate the premiere of the show, which is a new twist on “The Superstars” series that aired from 1973 to 1994 and again from 1998 to 2003. The current version pairs professional athletes and celebrities to compete in physical events.

“The Schadenfreude Stars” may have been a more appropriate name for the first episode. Full-speed, MXC-style face plants were followed by supermodels throwing temper tantrums. We can’t link to it due to language, but search for “Joanna Krupa jakewins1″ on YouTube to see what the network censors would never allow.

Krupa’s tirade against Owens, her partner on the show, has been making the rounds. Though Owens merely retorted, “I feel really bad for your boyfriend,” one of Leslie’s WNBA teammates might have taken it further. Sparks forward DeLisha Milton-Jones said she wouldn’t have stopped at telling Krupa to shut up. “I probably would’ve popped her in her mouth.”

Who could have guessed T.O. would be the good teammate?

The premiere had some other funny moments (Milton-Jones was amused watching Leslie get tangled in the obstacle course), but don’t expect too much on the athletic front. A lot of participants struggled with a 1.1-mile run, even with the aid of a bike. Most high school athletes would call that a warm-up.

Also, for guys who watch nothing but sports … Ali Landry is a former Miss USA and the Doritos Girl from their Super Bowl commercials. Yes, that one. Estella Warren has been in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. Confused about the other celebrities? I didn’t know them, either.

If you tune in to any of the next five episodes, which air Tuesday nights at 8 p.m., keep an eye on skiers Bode Miller and Kristi Leskinen. In the last run of “The Superstars,” athletes from the slopes finished either first or second eight times in six years. Skiers also won each each of the last three seasons.

“I think when you get into skiing, an alternative sport, you’re into normal sports first,” explained Leskinen, who used to be a professional wakeboarder and loves to surf. “When I grew up skiing, I could do a spring sport and a fall sport and a summer sport … a lot of other athletes are more specialized.”

Also keep an eye, or ear, on former NFL star Warren Sapp, who hosts the program with John Saunders and Jenn Brown. Sapp has transitioned into a broadcast career that goes well beyond covering football to participating on “Dancing With the Stars” and even a Comedy Central Roast. Asked about his biggest surprise while filming, he didn’t hesitate to call out Landry. “You don’t expect Miss USA to get down and grungy … but she can get in my foxhole. She fights!”

Baseball fans may be more surprised by Landry’s partner, Jeff Kent. More on him later …

— Adam Rose

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Posted on: June 25, 2009
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