Television Business International

Spike, Channel 5 win ‘bidding war’ for BattleBots

Formats-logo-460_2BattleBots 1Viacom networks Spike UK and Channel 5 will broadcast the ABC mech combat format BattleBots in the UK after what its distributor described as a “bidding war”.

The show will go head to head in the UK with BBC Two rebooted Robot Wars, which has a similar format as both series were born out of the same Robot Wars live events of the late 1990s. Robot Wars launches in the UK on July 24.

DTT channel Spike will launch BattleBots this summer, sharing rights with broadcast network sister Channel 5 after Viacom won what Sky Vision claimed was a fierce bidding process for a “substantial multi-season” agreement. The company hadn’t named rival bidders at press time.

Nine Network in Australia, Discovery Networks Germany, CEEMEA (central and eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa) and Latin America, Bell Media network Z in Canada, Sony Pictures Television in Asia and A&E in Asia have all bought the show already.

In the US, season two on ABC last month saw ratings up 30% on the network’s ratings for the same slot last year. The show, from Whalerock Industries and BattleBots Inc, sees 48 teams and their bots competing to eliminate each other from a knock-out tournament in the world’s largest bullet-proof arena in LA.

Battlebots is boisterous, fun and hugely entertaining, and we are thrilled to be delivering more new and exclusive content to our Spike audience,” said Anna-Belen Dunlop, Spike’s acquisitions and Channel 5’s channel manager.

Leona Connell, director of sales at Sky’s distribution arm, Sky Vision, said buyers were “reacting swiftly and decisively with offers, and the Spike UK deal is testament to the mainstream primetime appeal of the show”.