After a lengthy delay related to the pandemic, robot-fighting show Battlebots is back on Discovery Dec. 3. The season was set to premiere in May, but had to be put on hold.
A typical season has between 90 and 110 bots competing for the 32 spots in the championship. This season, 60 bots are in the running for The Giant Nut.
It’s a two-hour premiere, entitled “Return of the Bots.” The episodes happen without the studio audience that usually turns up to watch at the old Boeing hangar in Long Beach, California where Battlebots is shot. In previous seasons, between 1,000 and 1,500 fans would be in the BattleBox. But the producers did set up what executive producer Chris Cowan called “builder boxes”--bot builders hanging with their teammates in separated opera box-style partitions. That means a few hundred people are in the BattleBox, cheering.
“It has a Thunderdome-type quality,” said Cowan.
The action kicks off when Ray Billings’ Tombstone bot faces End Game, from Jack Barker of New Zealand. Other robots in the running include Whiplash, SawBlaze, Captain Shrederator, Lock-Jaw, Bloodsport and Skorpios.
Who might go home with The Giant Nut? “The truth is, the more you participate, the better you get,” is all Cowan will allow.
Chris Rose and Kenny Florian return to do commentary, while Jenny Taft reports from the builder pits and Faruq Tauheed is the ring announcer. A new expert joins the commentary team as Bot Whisperer: Battlebots veteran Peter Abrahamson, the brains behind the bot Ronin.
Ed Roski and Greg Munson created Battlebots. It ran on Comedy Central, then ABC. Science Channel, part of Discovery, Inc., ran off-network episodes in 2017. Discovery premiered Battlebots in 2018, with episodes on Science days later.
This is season ten. Cowan called Battlebots “fantastic family escapism.”
“It’s a sport that’s incredibly violent,” he added, “but no one gets hurt.”
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.
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