Past Entertainment Articles.
Article for the week of 10/8/05
Battling Bots Ride the Ratings
By, Grey Sports
A recent lowering in viewer ratings for Robot Wars and other mechanically
oriented wrestling style programs have given everyone pause. This was
thought of as the Sport of Geeks, only to find that it was Geeks and Nerds
who were turning away from the shows because they considered it too mechanical,
too physical, to appeal to them.
Efforts to increase viewer numbers by introducing scantily clad women
and a full five minutes of trash talk before each match have had the opposite
effect. Many Geeks and Nerds now consider themselves too sophisticated
to fall for the flash of cleavage and false smiles from beautiful women.
Similarly the trash talk segment ate into the amount of time available
for combat, technical talk and pudding-oriented segments.
Other gimmicks that have so far failed include dice of assorted size and
form. While this initially held viewing numbers level it failed to stimulate
additional viewing numbers.
The problems seem to stem less from the inventiveness of executives and
builders of the robotic gladiators and more from the disinterest of geeks.
Especially as a recent attempt to introduce guns, missiles and flame throwers
resulted in a slight increase in ratings.
This was not as well received as one might expect, owing to the increased
audience coming mostly from the more violent, almost sociopathic sections
of society. In other words the normal TV viewing section.
This was less than satisfactory as most shows about wrestling robots like
to think that they appeal to the more intelligent sections of society.
No wonder their numbers were falling.
Attempts to recapture that fleeting glory, or mad delusion depending on
your point of view, have begun to get desperate, leading to the introduction
of battling supercomputers.
The hitch here s that the only supercomputer of note that would be so
desperate for attention as to throw itself into pointless combat is Deep
Blue, the chess playing computer that can beat the best humans.
As beating a human once was more than enough (no other chess masters care
to see themselves humiliated and are off pouting) Deep Blue has been all
but ignored, relegated to a few low paying cameos on sitcoms and promoting
occasional spelling bees. Consequently the once high and mighty computer
was more than willing to participate.
Without fully thinking things through Deep Blue was dressed in a leopard
skin loincloth and thrown into the arena with the next best thing to a
supercomputer, a slot machine welded to an Xbox and a parking meter.
Now as the two constructs were equally inert it was a long match, this
surprised no one and ratings began to drop. When the battle turned into
a high speed philosophical discussion ratings began to climb, surprisingly
When Deep Blue and it’s opponent reached an amicable agreement to take
over the world ratings soared.
When the two computers realized that they had no way to enact their plans
ratings fell lower than ever before.
Now facing cancellation the only real entertainment left to be had is
what crazy scheme the show’s producers will come up with next.