Originally developed for CBS Sports Spectacular in 1977, the World's Strongest Man competitions, created by a pair of Scotsmen, now air periodically on ESPN's family of networks.
CBS carried the annual tournament for the first 6 years (1977-82) before turning it over to the BBC, which in turn sold it to Trans World International, a unit of IMG, which brokered a deal not only for the annual event to air on ESPN at last check, but the "Worldwide Leader in Sports" also acquired the original CBS tapes with current ESPN announcer Brent Musburger as host. If you wanted some escapist entertainment on a Saturday afternoon before the 6:00 (ET) news, well, here it is.
Let's take a look at the 1978 edition, a mix of former Olympians, football players, bodybuilders, and then-World Wrestling Federation star Ivan Putski (Ken Patera represented the WWF the previous year).
The fields in recent years have had more of an international flavor than they did back in those days. Declining ratings prompted CBS to sever its ties to the event. By the early 80's, rival ABC had stopped sending camera crews for Wide World of Sports to cover lumberjack competitions and such, so CBS followed suit.