A new season of BattleBots starts on Discovery January 6, with 14 episodes featuring robots beating each other down to pieces and parts. Chris Rose and Kenny Florian offer play by play and Faruq Tauheed is the ring announcer.
The action has shifted from Long Beach, California to Las Vegas, which Tauheed told B+C is “a match made in combat heaven.”
“I mean, c’mon–Las Vegas is the fight capital of the world,” said Tauheed. “What’s better than bringing the biggest bots to the biggest fight capital?”
Tauheed, who hosted esports events before shifting to BattleBots, of course prefaces each bout with a clever bit of ringside poesy. He said the rhymes start with the show’s writers, and then he sprinkles in a bit of flavor. “I always say, they’re the doctors who put Frankenstein’s body together,” said Tauheed, “and I’m the lightning that brings it to life.”
New Zealand bot End Game is the reigning champ, and holder of the so-called Giant Nut. Those looking to unseat End Game include Blacksmith, Minotaur, Witch Doctor, SawBlaze and Whiplash.
Tauheed said the current batch of bots is constantly evolving–faster speeds, greater power, lighter weights and better protection. “Everybody looks to push the envelope of robotic engineering,” he said. “There are so many more great fights because of the evolution of engineering.”
Asked to name his favorite bot, Tauheed mentioned a machine from the days of yore. “Black and yellow, old-school Stinger,” he said. “I miss Stinger.”
Among the more recent bots, he singled out HiJinx and Switchback.
The show streams on Discovery Plus.
BattleBots founder and CEO Edward Roski said this season’s battles “are beyond amazing.”
“The builders did an incredible job raising the bar to a completely new level of imagination, skill and, frankly, violence,” he added. “There are shocks and upsets, and heartwarming triumphs over technical and personal challenges.”
The previous season, which began in December 2020, did not feature studio audiences. Typically, some 1,000 to 1,500 fans would be in the old Boeing hangar, known as the BattleBox. Amidst the pandemic, producers set up “builder boxes”--the bot builders and teams watching from sectioned-off boxes. That meant a few hundred people in attendance.
Studio audiences are back in Vegas, and Tauheed said it makes all the difference in the world. “For me, it means everything,” he said. “For our Battlebots and builders, it means everything. Fans are one of the best things about BattleBots. I love the fights, the builders, the engineers, but the fans are what it’s all about.”
Tauheed said the builder boxes worked fine last season, “but there’s no energy like a live BattleBots crowd.” ■
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