It’s the moment geeks have been waiting for since the early days at Comedy Central: BattleBots is back!
ABC announced today that after having been off television for over a decade, the mechanical fighting phenomena would return to the small screen with a new, reimagined version this summer. The new BattleBots comes from original creators Ed Roski and Greg Munson, and is being produced by former ABC executive Lloyd Braun, aka the man ABC fired for developing the television show Lost. He is also the voice of the infamous “previously on Lost” tags before each episode.
As with the original series, ABC’s BattleBots will feature homemade robots battling each other in an arena tournament. There will be four weight classes that the robots can compete in – Lightweight (60lbs), Middlweight (120lbs), Heavyweight (220lbs) and Superheavyweight (340lbs) – as the series focuses on the “next generation of bots” and, like ABC’s translation of the international hit Dragon’s Den into Shark Tank, will feature more of the overall process, as well as backgrounds on the individuals featured.
In addition to a bit of tweaking of the format, small cameras will now be on each bot, allowing audiences to see the destruction up close. And if you mention destruction and battling robots, you have to mention Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman who, before MythBusters, were wielding a terrifying machine known as Blendo.
If you’re not familiar with Blendo (above), it’s essentially a spinning bringer of death to any bot which is (forced) to fight it. Savage and Hyneime created Blendo in the early 90s, then entered it into competition, RobotWars, in 1995. After being asked to withdraw, and gifted a co-championship title for doing so, the duo moved on to BattleBots which, unfortunately, knew their strategy. The arena was constructed to handle much of Blendo’s power, and other builders copied their design, which made it impossible for the original to stand without an upgrade. Former MythBuster Grant Imahara was also a part of the robot fighting circle with the infamous Deadblow, which had a pneumatic pick-axe of destruction, essentially, while Bill Nye served as the show’s technical expert.
Now, the connection: In 2007, Braun and former Fox executive Gail Berman – known for bring 24, House, Bones to the air (and canceling Firefly) – formed a company called BermanBraun in 2007, which then went on to purchase the beloved tech site Tested.com, which they then paired with two men they thought might be a good fit: Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman. Tested.com is now filled with terrific tech content, written and video, from both Savage and Hyneman, as well as their longtime staff. So it wouldn’t take much for Savage and Hyneman to be allowed back in the ring to fight, perhaps with an upgraded version of Blendo.
Either way, ABC is looking to expand their summer programming, and they have chosen a very specific show to test out in their schedule. Airings of Wipeout are inherently enjoyable, make no mistake – but perhaps there’s a future on broadcast television for shows cable canceled long after. It’s been 10 years since Comedy Central canceled Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn for essentially being too honest, and the idea of that format began with the short-lived Colin Quinn Show on NBC. Anything is possible.
All, in all, it’s a good day to be a fan of the early days of Comedy Central.
BattleBots returns to TV, on ABC, summer 2015.
You can watch Jamie Hyneman talk about robot fighting from the Tested.com video below: