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August 19, 2014, 10:52 pm

Terry Crews can show a softer side

Terry Crews, best known for his role as the lovable but put-upon patriarch, Julius, in “Everybody Hates Chris,” is among the hardcore cast of “Stars Earn Stripes,” premiering at 8 p.m., Monday, August 13 on NBC.

In the new reality series, eight celebrities gather at a remote training facility where they will take on difficult missions inspired by real military exercises. Each will be paired with an “operative” who is a member or former member of the armed forces or a law enforcement agency. The operative will coach and guide their celebrity teammate and compete alongside them. Each week one of the teams will be eliminated. All celebrities play for military-related charities. Retired U.S. Army Gen. Wesley Clark, the former Supreme Allied Commander Europe for NATO and former presidential candidate will co-host the series along with Samantha Harris, former co-host of “Dancing with the Stars.”

Rounding out the cast is four-time undefeated world boxing champion Laila Ali, actor Dean Cain, multi-platinum recording artist, actor, producer and television personality Nick Lachey, Alaska businessman (and Sarah Palin’s husband) Todd Palin, Olumpic Gold medalist Picabo Street, “The Biggest Loser” trainer Dolvett Quince and WWE Diva Eve Torres.    

“We did everything,” Crews told “Access Hollywood.” “We jumped off helicopters, we swam [in] full gear, we shot machine guns, we blew up buildings, we were doing everything and anything, and I have to say, I have an all-new respect for the military. It’s just incredible.”

Despite his fit physique and rough and tumble roles in action films like “Expendables” and the upcoming “Expendables 2,” Crews — a former NFL player, said there were many moments during the reality competition where he contemplated throwing in the towel.

“Look, I’m an actor. I only look badass,” he said with a laugh. “I want my smoothie, you know what I’m saying? Where’s my smoothie?”

Seriously, the actor, 43, said he is now in awe of the members of the armed forces after spending time in their boots.

“You watch the military, you see what they do all the time, you think you know — [but] I had to experience [it],” he said. “And I’m like, I don’t know anything about this!” contributed to this report.

Contact entertainment reporter Kimberly C. Roberts at (215) 893-5753 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .