(KGET) — The new season of “BattleBots” has launched on the Discovery cable channel and there are some big differences from past seasons. Because of the pandemic, there are no crowds of screaming fans in attendance. The competitors are separated by clear barriers. Even the interviews by the hosts are done through social distancing.
Two things haven’t changed. There continues to be carnage inside the BattleBots arena. And, ring announcer Faruq Tauheed continues to be the most dynamic voice working in TV these days. The Philadelphia native provides booming colorful introductions for the competitors in each round.
New episodes of “BattleBots” are broadcast at 8 p.m. Fridays on the cable channel. This season features more than 80 robots from around the world facing off to prove who the best is. This is accomplished by a series of head-to-head battles where the robots use weaponry such as metal-scorching flamethrowers, hydraulic flippers and spinning blades with speeds reaching more than 200 mph to try to beat, smash, burn or toss each other into submission.
Filming of the current season of “BattleBots” had been slated to start in April but the lockdown due to the pandemic created a delay. Filming was finally done – under strict quarantine guidelines – during the first two weeks of October.
The big difference for the “BattleBots” announcer was that instead of being in the arena with the teams, he does his introductions in a socially distanced space. Tauheed gets some help with those clever introductions.
“If I had to write all the introductions, I would never get any sleep,” Tauheed says. “Last season, I did almost 200 introductions. There’s no way I could do them and write them.
“We have an amazing writing team. I look at it like Frankenstein. They put Frankenstein together and then I am the electricity.”
The introductions often contain numerous puns when talking about the BattleBots that have names like Gravedigger, Tombstone, Bite Force, Yeti and Son of Whyachi. Tauheed’s delivery in the episode comes with a heavy amount of drama and seriousness. He admits that when filming the segments, there has been about a 50-50 chance he will start laughing or breaking into some antic that no one expected.
His efforts with “BattleBots” is the latest on-screen work for Tauheed as he has been working as an actor or host on television, film and radio professionally since 1998. He has appeared on such TV offerings as “Cold Case,” “The Shield,”
New Girl” and “NCIS.” His vice work includes the videogames “BioShock Infinite” and “Mass Effect 3” plus the animated programs of “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle” and “We Bare Bears.”
Tauheed has also served as the host of “Roots Less Traveled” and the children’s game show “The Noise.” His audition for “BattleBots” took less than 30 minutes and he has been with the show since 2015.
Tauheed’s voice started changing into the booming sound it is today when he was in high school. People would often tell him that he should be working in the entertainment industry.
“The first thing they would ask me is if I could sing or do I do radio,” Tauheed says. “I definitely don’t sing. That’s one reason I left New York. I could dance and act but I could not sing to save my life.
“People kept talking to me about voice-over work so I finally decided to check it out. And, I started doing that. As for the hosting job, I am not a host but I am an actor so I can act like I am a host.”
He did a strong acting job in playing a host for “Roots Less Traveled” for NBC. In each episode, two family members – often from different generations – are given the chance to find an understanding and respect for each other as they set out on a quest to learn more about their family history by solving a mystery in their family tree.
Tauheed describes getting to host that series as another blessing in his life.
“This show cane at a time when I had decided I knew what I wanted to do with my life,” Tauheed says. “I wanted to do shows that were for the fans.
“I get so many fans who write to me and say that ‘BattleBots’ is the only time their entire family gets together. So when ‘Roots Less Traveled’ came along, it was all about family and ancestry. It was a great show. I hope we get to do a season two.”
That will depend on whether other production companies can follow the lead of shows like “BattleBots” and find a way to adapt during the time of COVID-19. If the show needs a big voice to explain how that is done, they can always call on the booming vocals of Tauheed.