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[DPRG] re:battlebots

Subject: [DPRG] re:battlebots
From: Gordon McComb gmccomb at gmccomb.com
Date: Sat Oct 18 17:22:01 CDT 2003

In my opinion, the "next generation" of battle robot TV show, if there ever
is one, might be more along the lines of Monster Garage, American Chopper,
or Junkyard Wars. Watching these machines in the arena time after time gets
boring for the average viewer. I know it did for me. The process and the
people might be a lot more interesting than just the carnage.

The structure of programs like Monster House on Discovery Channel is
designed for sponsorship. The next robot show should take heed. Much of the
materials used are donated, and sponsors enjoy the product placement
potential. There wasn't a lot of opportunity for that on BattleBots, except
the occasional STP-style sticker.

While BattleBots may have had its inside intrique, it seems clear the show
was cancelled because it was pulling low ratings. Like many cable-only
networks, CC does not typically reveal ratings for all of its shows except
to advertisers. However, CC did announce the first BattleBots episodes,
when it was still hot, enjoyed a rating of 2.1, which was very good.
Apparently the ratings weren't sustainable, or they would have kept it.
Given that shows like Tough Crowd w/ Colin Quinn have a 0.5 rating and stay
on the air makes you wonder what BattleBots was doing its last half season.

-- Gordon

At 01:34 PM 10/18/2003 -0700, Chuck McManis wrote:
>Our team has spent ~$25,000 over the years on KillerB, as a team we've 
>spent much more than that on various other things (transportation, tooling, 
>time off work, etc.) That doesn't include the $30,000 in sponsorship type 
>"soft money".  We've made it to the "TV rounds" three times but only made 
>it past the editing room and into a show once. And no, we're not 
>incompetent :-)
>You need a very durable mechanism, and a very controllable mechanism to 
>compete. That generally involves materials like Titanium and Carbon Fiber 
>and fairly sophisticated electronics. A good test to see if you're ready 
>for combat robotics is to spend just a few thousand dollars on some concept 
>machine, then drive ita s fast as it can go into a concrete barrier, then 
>drop it from a height of 10'. Finally, take it back and see how long it 
>takes you to repair it into "fighting" shape again.

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