Willie Geist, Natalie Morales Will Host Nik Wallenda Walk Across Grand Canyon

By Alex Weprin 

In June, daredevil Nik Wallenda will attempt to walk across the Grand Canyon on a tightrope, live on Discovery Channel. NBC News’ Peacock Productions will be producing the jump, and so NBC “Today” co-hosts Willie Geist and Natalie Morales will be serving as the hosts of the event.

Wallenda announced the addition of Geist and Morales while walking on a tightrope above the audience at Discovery’s upfront presentation in New York yesterday (see the photo to the left). For insurance purposes, he was wearing a harness, “don’t worry though,” he said yesterday. “I won’t be wearing one when I walk across the Canyon.”

Last year ABC aired Wallenda’s walk across Niagara Falls, with “Good Morning America'”s Josh Elliott and “SportsCenter'”s Hannah Storm hosting. The event drew record ratings for ABC. ABC and Discovery were in a bidding war for the Grand Canyon stunt, with Discovery simply making the better offer. NBC, as the producer of the show, will also benefit.


We are in the middle of cable upfronts, but Wallenda’s high-wire walk was easily the most memorable stunt so far at the presentations, which convince advertisers and media buyers to spend ad dollars with the various channels.

NBC News was well-represented at Discovery’s presentation. In addition to Geist and Morales, MSNBC’s Tamron Hall was there to unveil her new show on Investigation Discovery “Deadline:Crime.” Tom Brokaw also hosts a show for Discovery’s Military Channel, “The Brokaw Files.” Other attendees included Oprah Winfrey, Gayle King, Morgan Freeman, Tyler Perry and Kal Penn, who is hosting a new show on Discovery Channel.

As the evening went on, Wallenda helped guests cross a wire much lower to the ground in front of a Grand Canyon backdrop, though Geist and Morales decided to spend some QT with another VIP guest: