Discovery Channel has secured the live TV rights for daredevil Nik Wallenda’s latest stunt: walking across the Grand Canyon on a tightrope. Wallenda announced the stunt on NBC’s “Today” this morning. It was probably not a coincidence, as NBC News’ Peacock Productions will produce live coverage of the tightrope walk for Discovery Channel.
According to Brian Stelter in the Times, ABC was the other bidder for Wallenda’s latest stunt, but Discovery simply offered the better deal. A source close to the program tells TVNewser that Discovery’s offer was “dramatically better” than ABC’s, which included the stipulation that Wallenda wear a safety harness. Discovery is not requiring that Wallenda wear a harness.
The market for live stunt programming continues to be strong. Discovery scored big with live coverage of Felix Baumgartner’s space jump last October. ABC aired Wallenda’s last stunt in June 2012, when he walked across Niagara Falls. ABC News produced the coverage, which drew the best Friday night ratings in years for the network.
TIGHTROPE LEGEND NIK WALLENDA TO CROSS OVER GRAND CANYON, HIS HIGHEST WALK EVER
Event to air Live on Sunday, June 23, on Discovery Channel
(Los Angeles, Calif.) – It will be one of the most daring and captivating live events in history — Nik Wallenda, known as “The King of the High Wire,” will traverse the majestic Grand Canyon, without using a harness. Discovery Channel will capture the nail-biting, play-by-play live event on Sunday, June 23.
“Discovery Channel continues to bring some of television’s most talked about and historic live events of the year,” said Eileen O’Neill, Group President Discovery and TLC Networks. “From Felix Baumgartner setting the world record for highest skydive in SPACE JUMP LIVE to this latest feat showcasing Nik Wallenda’s greatest challenge yet.”
Wallenda will tightrope walk higher than he’s ever attempted before at 1,500 feet above the Little Colorado River, a height greater than the Empire State Building. In 2012, Wallenda became the first person to tightrope walk directly over Niagara Falls from the U.S. to Canada at a height of 200 feet.
“The stakes don’t get much higher than this,” said Wallenda. “The only thing that stands between me and the bottom of the canyon is a two-inch thick wire. I’m looking forward to showing the audience a view of the canyon they’ve never seen before.”
Wallenda, 34, said that this latest event will be the fulfillment of a lifelong dream to walk at such a great height as well as a chance to honor his great-grandfather, the legendary Karl Wallenda, who died after falling from a tightrope in Puerto Rico in 1978.
The Grand Canyon, one of America’s most visited tourist destinations, provides a spectacular backdrop to the event. The tightrope crossing will take place in a remote section of the canyon operated by the Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation.
“We are honored to be a part of this historic event and showcase the beauty that exists on Navajo country,” said Geri Hongeva-Camarillo, Media Representative of the Navajo Parks and Recreation. “The Navajo Nation is home to more than a dozen national monuments, tribal parks and ancestral sites. Many visitors make Navajo Nation one of the top destinations for their travel plans.”
“Navajo Parks and Recreation strives to preserve and protect tribal park land for the enjoyment of all visitors. We use our land and all elements of life as teaching tools for our youth and visitors from afar, we welcome this special event and the community is excited to be a part of it,” said Helen Webster, Park Manager of Navajo Parks and Recreation.
The live event is produced by Peacock Productions for Discovery with Gretchen Eisele, Knute Walker and Benjamin Ringe serving as executive producers. Howard Swartz serves as executive producer for Discovery. To learn more, go to www.discovery.com, on Facebook at Facebook.com/discovery and on Twitter @Discovery.
About Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel is dedicated to creating the highest quality non-fiction content that informs and entertains its consumers about the world in all its wonder, diversity and amazement. The network, which is distributed to 100.8 million U.S. homes, can be seen in 210 countries and territories, offering a signature mix of compelling, high-end production values and vivid cinematography across genres including, science and technology, exploration, adventure, history and in-depth, behind-the-scenes glimpses at the people, places and organizations that shape and share our world. For more information, please visit www.discovery.com.
About Discovery Communications
Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is the world’s #1 nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.8 billion cumulative subscribers in 209 countries and territories. Discovery is dedicated to satisfying curiosity through 149 worldwide television networks, led by Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Science and Investigation Discovery, as well as U.S. joint venture networks OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, The Hub and 3net, the first 24-hour 3D network. Discovery also is a leading provider of educational products and services to schools and owns and operates a diversified portfolio of digital media services, including Revision3. For more information, please visitwww.discoverycommunications.com.