Past Entertainment Articles.

Article for the week of 10/8/05

Battling Bots Ride the Ratings Coaster
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 enough.
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.



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