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'Real Steel' Is Real: Syfy to Unleash 'Robot Combat League'

By Matt Patches, Hollywood.com Staff

Last year saw the release of the science fiction blockbuster Real Steel, which took Rock'em Sock'em robots to a whole new level by putting Hugh Jackman at the controls of life-size robot boxers. Brought to life by models and CG special effects, the movie gave us a taste for the kind of metallic mayhem that might be in store for human audiences in the future.

Who knew the future would arrive so quickly.

Without much fanfare, Syfy has just completed shooting the first season of Robot Combat League, a new sports show hosted by former WWE wrestler Chris Jericho that pits actual robot boxers against each other in the ultimate cybernetic cage match. EW reports that Producer Craig Plestis (The Apprentice, The Biggest Loser) teamed up with Mark Setrakian, who has developed robots and animatronics for Men in Black and Hellboy (and also competed on Comedy Central's own robot fighting show, BattleBots), to develop and pitch the show to Syfy. After showing off how destructive today's robots can be, the two got the go ahead from the network.

Robot Combat League is set to premiere on Feb. 26, 2013 and sounds like your run-of-the-mill boxing tournament aside from the competitors being hunks of metal and wire. According to the announcement, the ""League"" will have 12 teams, each consisting of a fighter to man the controls (or "robo-jockey") and a robot expert — er, "robo-tech" — similar to the mechanics of Real Steel. Like a cross between BattleBots and Dancing With the Stars, the robo-jockey's won't equal their technicians scientific prowess. The first season will include a race car driver, an Olympic athlete, a National Guard helicopter pilot, and George Lucas' MMA-fighting daughter Amanda Lucas. If the fighters are going to be stone cold destroyers, Syfy is Plestis will at least mine personality from their human puppetmasters.

Each fight will consist of three rounds with the winner advancing to the next round of the tournament. The team that makes it to the end takes home a cool $100,000 prize. Jericho will announce the matches, dictating the action as the reportedly 1,000-pound robots clobber themselves into submission.

Real Steel ended with a young boy and his father reconnecting over the glory of a robot fighting championship win. Will Robot Combat League have the same emotional impact? Maybe if George Lucas stops by….

Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches

[Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures]

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