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[DPRG] battlebots

Subject: [DPRG] battlebots
From: Chuck McManis cmcmanis at mcmanis.com
Date: Fri Oct 17 16:51:00 CDT 2003

At 03:05 PM 10/17/03 -0500, David P. Anderson wrote:
>Howdy,
>Chuck, what happened to BattleBots?

Was this addressed to me? (It went to the list so I can't be sure) As one 
of the Chucks on the list this is my take on Battlebots...

Trey Roski and Greg Munson originally hooked up with a television 
production company who then hooked them up with Comedy Central to produce a 
"BattleBots" show. It was very popular and everyone was reasonably happy 
with the outcome. Because it was on television, various sums of money began 
moving around (some large and some small). Various members of the legal 
establishment got involved to insure that the person or persons they 
represented got as many of the money sums as they could hope to get without 
screwing up the arrangement. The created the 'BattleBots - <x> Production 
Company - Comedy Central' troika.

The popularity of the show grew, and the sums moving around got bigger. 
Much bigger.

Comedy Central started changing the show to make it more inline with what 
their key demographic expected from a CC show, the production company 
obliged, and Greg and Trey complained. At the time the contracts the legal 
entities had established came up for re-negotiation, Greg and Trey 
expressed their displeasure in the format/content of the show and CC 
expressed their displeasure at Greg and Trey expressing their displeasure. 
Both parties apparently felt the other would flinch if they threatened to 
walk, which they did, and then they did, And neither party flinched so 
BattleBots the television program was lost in the nether region of 
"contested media properties."

And that is where it gets weird.

According to recent communications from BattleBots Inc, Comedy Central 
actually has the rights to BattleBots and the robots etc. So BattleBots 
Inc. isn't really in a position to re-create the show without CC's 
participation. This however is being worked through and for over a year the 
competitors have heard "we're really close to a new deal and you're going 
to love it!" mantra. (with some other network)

My advice for robot groups is to stay out of the media (see Mendelson's 
message on why he isn't doing the Trinity contest any more), the publicity 
gets in the way of the core value of robotics (the development of 
technology) and it screwed up the original Robotwars, and now Battlebots, 
and presumably it will be a component in the failure of the next big 
version. Who knows? Not me, that's for sure!

--Chuck


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